MCDB and CIRES/ Copley Lab Post-Doctoral Associate

The Copley lab in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences is seeking a Post-Doctoral Associate to study the evolution of new enzymes and metabolic pathways.

 

Date posted

May 19, 2021 12:00 am

Application deadline

June 19, 2021 12:00 am

Organization

The Copley lab in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Location

  • United States

Job description

MCDB and CIRES/ Copley Lab Post-Doctoral Associate

Requisition Number: 30470
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Employment Type: Research Faculty 
Schedule: Full-Time
Date Posted: 18-May-2021

 

Job Summary

The Copley lab in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences is seeking a Post-Doctoral Associate to study the evolution of new enzymes and metabolic pathways. 

Work in the Copley lab focuses on the evolutionary potential of promiscuous enzyme activities, the ubiquitous side activities of enzymes that normally serve other functions. Promiscuous activities can be recruited to serve new functions when a new enzyme enhances fitness. Further, multiple promiscuous enzymes can be patched together to form novel metabolic pathways. The evolution of new metabolic pathways by this mechanism has fueled metabolic innovation throughout the history of life on earth and continues in the present day in response to the introduction of anthropogenic chemicals into the environment. However, our understanding of the process by which new metabolic pathways evolve is limited. We generally don’t know the genome of the organism in which a new pathway evolved and the details of the environment in which it lived. We can’t know the promiscuous activities that were available in its proteome, and we have only a few hints about the mutations that enabled the assembly of an inefficient new pathway and subsequently improved its function.

The Copley lab uses experimental evolution to address these issues. We evolve microbes whose genome sequences are known under controlled environmental conditions. We identify mutations and determine how they improve fitness. We use biochemical, genetic, and ‘omics techniques to address the impact of mutations from the molecular level to the system level.

Current projects in the lab address how the availability of different promiscuous activities in different microbes affects the evolution of new enzymes and pathways, the role of synonymous mutations in evolution, and the dynamics of gene duplication and divergence. The post-doctoral researcher will launch a new project aimed at understanding how the frequent “expedient” mutations that improve fitness under strong selective conditions at a cost to previously well-evolved functions can be avoided, compensated for, or repaired.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Responsibilities

  • Genomic editing of bacteria.
  • Purifying and characterizing wild-type and mutant proteins.
  • Maintaining an electronic notebook describing experimental protocols and results.
  • Participating in weekly meetings with the PI and other personnel working on the same project to share data and results.
  • Preparation of manuscripts for publication.
  • Mentoring of graduate students and undergraduate students in the laboratory.
  • Presentation of experimental results in group meetings and at scientific meetings.

Required

  • A recent Ph.D. in biochemistry, molecular biology, or microbiology is required.