Laboratory Research Scientist - Biodesign Laboratory

In the Crick's Debenedictis E |Research Group.

Applies specific technical or practical skills and has a well-developed working knowledge of technical or scientific practices and procedures acquired through on-the-job, vocational or academic training. Work will involve the application of skills and knowledge to provide a range of technical support activities.
Deadline for applications has passed.

Key information

Job reference
From £30,465 with benefits, subject to skills and experience.
Applications closed
10 April 2023, 23:59 BST
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 29 March 2023

Job title: Laboratory Research Scientist – Biodesign Lab

Reporting to: Erika DeBenedictis, Group Leader

Contact term: This is a full-time, fixed term position until 31 January 2026 on Crick terms and conditions of employment. 

The Research Group 

The Biodesign Laboratory works at the interface between high-throughput experimental biology and big-data computation. Our goal is to make bioengineering as robust, quantitative, and predictable as physical engineering. By using modern techniques in automation, machine learning, and molecular approaches, we can surface and interpret large datasets about biological systems to improve engineering outcomes. 

The Project

The lab will launch with projects focused on allosteric protein engineering and chassis organism engineering.

Allosteric protein engineering: Our computational protein engineering capabilities today are largely limited to designing rigid proteins. We will use modern structure prediction methods (Alphafold II, Rosetta) and robotics-accelerated evolution (PRANCE) to design and evolve allosteric proteins that adopt multiple conformations, such as a CRISPR-for-the-epigenome.

Chassis organism engineering: The organisms we see on Earth occupy a tiny fraction of possible chemical space, and can inhabit only a small fraction of possible environments. We aim to engineer organisms with novel genetic codes that can be safely used in extreme environments, i.e. biocontained microbes that are adapted for use on Mars.

The postholder will be responsible for:

  • Conducting evolution experiments, including equipment setup, maintenance for bioreactors, and management of laboratory automation

  • Working with laboratory automation to characterise evolved proteins and organisms at scale

  • Assisting in writing grants and research papers, and in preparing presentations


Specific objectives of the post holder will include, but not be limited to:

  • Conducting evolution experiments, including equipment setup, maintenance for bioreactors, and management of laboratory automation

  • Working with laboratory automation to characterise evolved proteins and organisms at scale

  • Provide technical support to group staff when required

  • Regularly attending and participating in scientific meetings in the Biodesign Lab. 

  • Contributing to the preparation of scientific manuscripts, reports and presentations

  • Establish, maintain and improve research protocols and records

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial, in addition to the following:


Qualifications, experience and competencies:

  • BSc in bioengineering, molecular biology or similar 

  • Experience in molecular biology (cloning, recombinant protein production)

  • Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications or submitted manuscripts in referred journals

  • Evidence of data presentation at scientific meetings

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a willingness to learn new skills and teach these to others


Qualifications, experience and competencies:

  • Experience with microbiology

  • Experience with directed evolution and protein engineering

  • Experience with protein production and purification

The post involves undertaking specific research projects, under the guidance of the Group Leader. Applicants should have demonstrated their ability to carry out independent basic research projects. 

About Us

At the Crick, we conduct research at the forefront of biomedical research. We combine rigour with an open and collaborative culture, and are outward-looking, reflecting our status as a partnership of six organisations aiming to pool knowledge, ideas and resources.

We have a wide research portfolio with no divisions or departments, bringing biomedical researchers together with clinicians, physical scientists and applied scientists from our pharmaceutical partners.

We aim to attract the most talented researchers and support them to tackle innovative research questions. Our science technology platforms provide our researchers with access to state-of-the-art technology and expertise.

We provide an excellent learning environment with dedicated education programmes in public engagement with science, education and personal development, and a postdoc training programme that prepares scientists for leadership roles in science.