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CSIRO Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship in Yeast Synthetic Biology

Date: 08-Nov-2021

Location: Canberra, ACT, AU

Company: CSIRO

The Opportunity

Acknowledgement of Country
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  • Do you have a PhD in synthetic biology, precision fermentation or metabolic engineering?
  • Utilise your skills to develop novel Synbio-based platform technologies
  • Apply for this unique opportunity to work on a joint strategic project that spans two CSIRO Business Units


CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years of relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of future leaders of the innovation system.


CSIRO Agriculture & Food has an exciting opportunity for a new CERC Postdoctoral Fellowship position to develop novel Synbio-based platform technologies that improve secretion of high-value recombinant proteins in the commonly used yeast strain Pichia pastoris (Komagaetella phaffii). To maximize impact and commercial outcomes, the Postdoctoral Fellow will explore several strategies including comparative omics, development of high throughput assays, library screening for novel genetic components that regulate protein secretion and cutting-edge Synthetic Biology engineering to increase recombinant protein yields.

The project is jointly supervised by Thomas Vanhercke (CSIRO Agriculture & Food) and Carol Hartley (CSIRO Land & Water). Not only will the Postdoctoral Fellow have the unique opportunity to work on a joint strategic project that spans two CSIRO Business Units, but they will also be closely mentored by a highly multi-disciplinary team consisting of Senior CSIRO Scientists with world-leading expertise in Synthetic Biology, Precision Fermentation, Food Science, and Proteomics. During the course of their career, the Postdoctoral Fellow will have access to CSIRO’s new BioFoundry facilities and be able to tap into the extensive (international) collaborative networks offered by the CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform and CSIRO Future Protein Mission, two strategic multi-disciplinary CSIRO initiatives that are directly aligned with the advertised Postdoctoral research project.    


We are thrilled to be able to deliver on the commitment we made in our strategy to invest in frontier science with the new CSIRO Agriculture & Food Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme. The word Winanga-y (pronounced win-na-gnay) is a cultural asset gifted by the Gomeroi Nation in Myall Vale to CSIRO's Agriculture and Food Business Unit to name the new Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme. Winanga-y means to understand, know, remember, and think.

Your duties will include:

  • Undertaking fundamental research including comparative omics to uncover novel mechanisms that regulate protein secretion in yeast Synbio chassis organisms such as Pichia pastoris.
  • Applying Synthetic Biology engineering principles as well as adaptive evolution strategies to increase the secretion efficiency of heterologous proteins in Pichia pastoris as an improved production platform strain.
  • Working closely with the CSIRO Future Protein Mission, CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform and CSIRO Company Creation teams to develop a proof of concept based on improved secretion of a high value protein target of immediate commercial interest to the food ingredient market.
  • Carrying out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO that will, where possible, lead to novel and important scientific outcomes, novel Intellectual Property, and engagement with commercial partners as part of the broader impact delivery pathway.
  • Utilising design thinking approaches to plan and prepare research proposals, and applying non-academic impact methodology to research projects.


Location:  Black Mountain, Canberra, ACT

Salary: AU$89k - AU$98k plus up to 15.4% superannuation

Tenure: Specified term of 3 years

Reference: 74621

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as synthetic biology, precision fermentation or metabolic engineering. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (full-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Expertise in Yeast Synthetic Biology in common chassis strains such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and/or Pichia pastoris.
  • Ability to thrive in a cross-cutting, multidisciplinary research environment.
  • High level written and oral communication skills with the ability to represent the research team effectively internally and externally, including the presentation of research outcomes at national and international conferences.
  • A sound history of publication in peer reviewed journals and/or authorship of scientific papers, reports, grant applications or patents.


For full details about this role please view the Position Description


The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent.


Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. 

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit people representing the diversity across our society, and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. 


At CSIRO Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 

Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

How to Apply

Please apply on-line and provide a cover letter and CV that best demonstrate your motivation and ability to meet the requirements of this role.

Applications Close

8 December 2021, 11:00pm AEDT


We reserve the right to withdraw this advertisement prior to the closing date.