Post-doctoral Associate - Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering for Biomass Oil

Apply now Job no: 531357
Work type: Post Doc Associate
Location: Main Campus (Gainesville, FL)
Categories: Biology/Life Science, Agricultural Sciences
Department:60080000 - AG-AGRONOMY

Classification Title:

Postdoc Aso

Job Description:

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is creating an environment that affirms community across all dimensions. We particularly welcome applicants who can contribute to such an environment through their scholarship, teaching, mentoring, and professional service. If an accommodation due to a disability is needed to apply for this position, please call 352-392-2477 or the Florida Relay System at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or visit Accessibility at UF .

The Crop Biotechnology Research Program at University of Florida, headed by Fredy Altpeter, is seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral research associate with experience in modular assembly of recombinant DNA constructs, plant genetic engineering, molecular biology and project management to join our team. The research program focuses on designing high biomass crops for enhanced productivity and production of biomass oil using the “plants as factories” concept.

The successful candidate will apply established transformation protocols and accelerated DBTL cycles to validate regulatory elements and target genes for crop improvement and develop transgenic strategies for metabolic engineering to enhance the quality and quantity of biomass lipids using molecular, biochemical and phenotypic characterization of genetically modified events under controlled environment conditions. This will allow to select best performing events for field evaluation similar in scope to our earlier publications:   

Hooghvorst I, Altpeter F. 2023. dCas9-3xSRDX-mediated transcriptional repression in sugarcane. Plant Cell Rep. 42:1837-1840.

Cao, V.D., Kannan, B., Luo, G., Liu, H., Shanklin, J. and Altpeter, F. 2023. Triacylglycerol, total fatty acid and biomass accumulation of metabolically engineered energycane grown under field conditions confirms its potential as feedstock for drop-in fuel production. GCB-Bioenergy 15:1450-1464.

Cao, V.D., Luo, G., Korynta, S., Liu, H., Liang, Y., Shanklin, J. and Altpeter, F. 2023. Intron-mediated enhancement of DIACYLGLYCEROL ACYLTRANSFERASE1 expression in energycane promotes a step change for lipid accumulation in vegetative tissues. Biotechnology for Biofuels and Bioproducts 16:153.

Liang, Y., Yu, X., Anaokar, S., Shi, H., Dahl, W., Cai, Y., Luo, G. , Chai, J., Molla-Morales, A., Altpeter, F. 2023. Ernst, E., Schwender, J., Martienssen, R. and Shanklin, J. Engineering triacylglycerol accumulation in Duckweed (Lemna japonica). Plant Biotechnology J. 21:313-330.

Baskaran K. , Liu H., Shanklin J., Altpeter F. 2022. Towards oilcane: Field evaluation of metabolically engineered sugarcane with hyper-accumulation of triacylglycerol in vegetative tissues. Molecular Breeding 42:64.

Luo G. , Viet D.C. , Kannan B. ,Liu H., Shanklin J., Altpeter F. 2022. Metabolic engineering of energycane to hyperaccumulate lipids in vegetative biomass. BMC Biotechnol 22: 24.

Maitra, S., Viswanathan, M., Park, K., Kannan, B. , Cano-Alfanar, S. , McCoy, S., Cahoon, E., Altpeter, F., Leakey, A. and Singh, V. 2022. Bioprocessing, recovery, and mass balance of vegetative lipids from metabolically engineered “oilcane” demonstrates its potential as an alternative feedstock for drop-in fuel production. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. 10:16833–16844.

Parajuli S., Kannan B., Karan R., Sanahuja G., Liu H., Garcia-Ruiz E., Kumar D., Singh V., Zhao H., Long S., et al. Towards oilcane: Engineering hyperaccumulation of triacylglycerol into sugarcane stems. GCB Bioenergy. 2020;12:476–490.


The University of Florida is a Land-Grant, Sea-Grant, and Space-Grant institution, encompassing virtually all academic and professional disciplines, with an enrollment of more than 56,000 students.  UF is a member of The Association of American Universities.  The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences includes the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Florida Sea Grant program, and encompasses 16 on-campus academic departments and schools, 12 Research and Educational Centers (REC) located throughout the state, 6 Research sites/demonstration units administered by RECs or academic departments, and Florida Cooperative Extension Service offices in all 67 counties (counties operate and maintain). The School of Natural Resources and Environment is an interdisciplinary unit housed in IFAS and managed by several colleges on campus.  UF/IFAS employs nearly 4,500 people, which includes approximately 990 salaried faculty and 1,400 permanent support personnel located in Gainesville and throughout the state. IFAS, one of the nation’s largest agricultural and natural resources research and education organizations, is administered by a Vice President and four deans: the Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Dean for Extension and Director of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, the Dean for Research and Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Dean for the College of Veterinary Medicine.  UF/IFAS also engages in cooperative work with Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

Annual Salary: Salary will be commensurate with experience and includes benefits.

Expected Salary:

Commensurate with education and experience

Minimum Requirements:

A PhD in plant molecular biology or related field is required. Recent graduates are encouraged to apply. This work requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills in English as well as excellent writing skills as demonstrated by a strong publication record in peer reviewed journals. The recruited candidate is expected to publish at least one peer reviewed publication per year. Extensive background in molecular genetics is essential, including design and construction of multi-gene  vectors using modular cloning platforms like Golden Gate assembly, analysis of RNAseq data, plant tissue culture, biolistic gene transfer, molecular, biochemical and phenotypic characterization of transgenic plants under greenhouse and field environments and statistical analysis of data. Candidates must also have a commitment to UF core values

Preferred Qualifications:

Knowledge in synthetic biology, plant metabolism, physiology and genomic regulation is desirable.

Special Instructions to Applicants:

Application Information

Application must be submitted by 11:55 p.m. (ET) of the posting end date.

  • Individuals wishing to apply should go online to Careers at UF and submit:
    • Cover letter that states applicant’s interest in the position and qualifications relative to the credentials listed above
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Contact information (including email addresses) for 3 individuals willing to write letters of recommendation

Selected candidate will be required to provide an official transcript to the hiring department upon hire. A transcript will not be considered “official” if a designation of “Issued to Student” is visible.  Degrees earned from an education institution outside of the United States are required to be evaluated by a professional credentialing service provider approved by National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).

Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the US. The University of Florida is a public institution and subject to all requirements under Florida Sunshine and Public Record laws.

The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Institution. The University and greater Gainesville community enjoy a variety of cultural events, restaurants, year-round outdoor recreational activities, and social opportunities.

Health Assessment Required: No


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