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Research Associate in DNA Nanotechnology and Artificial Cell Science

Imperial College London - Department of Chemistry

Location: London
Salary: £41,593 to £45,234 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 22nd September 2021
Closes: 24th October 2021
Job Ref: NAT00996

Salary: £41,593 - £45,234 per annum

Location: White City Campus

We are seeking to recruit a Research Associate to work at the exciting interface between DNA nanotechnology and bottom-up synthetic biology. You will be supported by the ERC starting grant “NANOCELL”, which utilises DNA nanotechnology to construct cell-like micro-robots, or “artificial cells”. You will join the NANOCELL team consisting of another post-doctoral researcher and two PhD students, and collaborate closely with the group of Dr Lorenzo Di Michele including several other PhD students and postdocs working on closely related topics.

Artificial cells are fully synthetic entities, constructed de novo starting from non-living molecular components in order to replicate responses typically associated with biological cellular life, including adaptation, energy consumption, communication, motion, division etc.

Artificial cells can be constructed out of anything, from biological proteins and enzymes to polymers, lipids and nanoparticles. In our group, and, with the NANOCELL project, we exploit the design versatility of functional DNA nanotechnology to afford artificial cells with otherwise unattainable abilities. You will develop DNA nano systems based on DNA origami or relying on the self-assembly of smaller DNA nanostructures that will constitute both structural and functional components of artificial cells. The DNA nanostructures will be combined with lipid bilayer systems, in the form of Giant Vesicles, which will form the chassis of our artificial cells.

You will be given accesso to state-of-the art experimental facilities at the newly built Molecular Sciences Research Hub at Imperial College London, including all that is needed to design and characterise DNA nano-systems and artificial cells. Furthermore, you will be embedded in a thriving collaborative ecosystem, embodied in the newly formed Imperial College Network of Excellence in Artificial Cell Science – fabriCELL.

We seek a candidate with experience in DNA nanotechnology and, preferably, also in working with membrane systems. A “physical” background (physics, biophysics, physical chemistry) is required. Most important, we value work ethics, independence, initiative, leadership, and enthusiasm.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Independently organise and carry out experimental work and data analysis.
  • Report periodically to the supervisory team.
  • Prepare and submit manuscript for publication.
  • Present at international conferences.
  • Day-to-day supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students.
  • Support the work of others in the group.

Essential requirements

  • A PhD in experimental DNA nanotechnology, soft matter physics, physical chemistry, or biophysics.

*Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant.

  • A strong “physical” background.
  • Experience with working on nucleic acid and lipid bilayer systems.
  • Experience with relevant experimental techniques (spectrophotometry, quantitative microscopy, DLS, AFM, TEM, nucleic acid handling, liposome fabrication)
  • Ability to program in Matlab and/or Python.
  • LaTeX
  • Ability to conduct research independently.
  • Ability to supervise master and PhD students.
  • Ability to interface with research from diverse disciplines (physics, chemistry, biology).

Further Information

This is a full-time, fixed term role until 31 December 2024. You will be based at White City Campus. Expected start date is 4 January 2022.

Please apply using the online application form.

For more information on the NANOCELL project, the position or the group, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Lorenzo Di Michele (

Closing date: 24/10/2021

To apply, visit and search job reference NAT00996.

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