Postdoctoral Researcher in Molecular Biology

Dublin, Ireland
€37,223 - €48,205
14 Mar 2019
End of advertisement period
28 Mar 2019
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Fraunhofer Project Centre for Embedded Bioanalytical Systems at Dublin City University (FPC@DCU) – a joint initiative of Science Foundation Ireland and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Fixed term 15 months

Background & Role

An opportunity has arisen to join an exciting research project where the stated ambition is to spin-out the technology into a start-up company on the successful conclusion of the project. The position is located in the innovative, Fraunhofer Project Centre for Embedded Bioanalytical Systems at Dublin City University – Ireland’s University of Enterprise (FPC@DCU). This technology-led centre develops next-generation life-science technologies for the benefit of people and society.

The role involves involvement in development of systems to high technology readiness levels (TRLs) within the FPC@DCU which operates at the challenging crossroads of microsystems engineering and life sciences. Common fields of application are Point-of-Care in-vitro diagnostics, pharma, life-science research, agrifood and environmental monitoring. Furthermore, you will support the business development and project management teams of the FPC@DCU in their interactions with industry, academia and funding agencies.

Project Summary: Nucleic acid handling towards Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).

Nucleic acid library preparation/clean-up is a critical part of sample preparation for next-generation sequencing (NGS), as well as for many other applications and FPC@DCU is developing a Lab-on-a-Disc (LoaD) solution in this area. Based on its extensive expertise and background IP in microfluidics, the FPC@DCU will develop an affordable, automated, microfluidic system, which delivers reproducible, high-quality outputs while minimising reagent use. FPC@DCU’s patented, event-triggered dissolvable-film (DF) valve technology provides an unparalleled level of robust, multiplexed flow control which enables development of highly integrated, single-use LoaD cartridges for handling samples and reagents. Pursuing a design-for-manufacture and scale-up strategy compatible with industry standard mass manufacturing practices, FPC@DCU will deliver early prototypes that can be rapidly replicated for evaluation by early adopter customers.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

Reporting to the NGS PREP project PI.

Technical duties will include but will not be limited to:

  • Conduct a specified programme of research within the NGS PREP Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund Project under the supervision and direction of the project PI.
  • Leading all activities relating to next generation sequencing sample prep methods particularly around enzymatic and SPRI clean-up steps and handling of DNA samples.
  • Optimization of the appropriate sample preparation protocols required to facilitate lab on a disc NGS PREP assay implementation including exploiting standard prep chemistry.
  • Experimental characterisation and optimisation of the performance of NGS PREP methods to be implemented on the microfluidic platforms.
  • Identification and implementation of appropriate benchmark methods (nucleic acid quantification, size distribution) against which to assess prep methods implemented on the developed microfluidic lab on a disc platform.
  • Assisting development and testing of microfluidic disc solutions for the sequencing prep chemistry and attaining required KPIs.
  • Test and demonstrate reliability of the microfluidic device in conjunction with the team for the target application.
  • Support, quality control and testing of developed microfluidic products

Additional duties will include:

  • Support of project management, reporting and interactions with key project members.
  • Carry out administrative work to support the programme of research where required, including regular funding agency reports and internal reports etc.
  • Support engagement with industry and other external parties in areas relevant to the project.
  • Authoring of scientific publications, technical reports and marketing activities as may be required to support the commercialisation activities of the project as directed by, with the support of and under the supervision of the Principal Investigator
  • Gain experience and contribute to grant writing with the support of and under the supervision of the Principal Investigator
  • Engage in appropriate training and professional development opportunities as required by the Director, FPC@DCU or University in order to develop research skills and competencies.
  • Take leadership and contribute to generation of papers, reports and funding proposals as agreed with the Principal Investigator.

The role may involve domestic and international travel.

Minimum Criteria

Applicants must have a solid subject matter expertise in next generation sequencing sample preparation methods, associated chemistries, know-how of the sequencing industry standards, methods & validation protocols and have a track record of successful research and development projects. A background in a subset of the following areas is required:

A Ph.D., along with an MSc or Bachelor Degree in Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Biochemistry or related science degree.

  • 2+ Years’ demonstrated experience with handling next-generation sequencing library prep protocols and thorough understanding of the underlying chemistries, buffers types and variations, enzymatic steps, bead based clean-up etc.
  • Solid knowledge of molecular biology equipment and related protocols (including SPRI bead-based clean-up solutions, nucleic acid library preparation kits, nucleic acid quantification by qPCR, Qubit and Agilent Bioanalyzer, gel electrophoresis etc.).
  • Some background and understanding of microfluidic principles and handling of bio-analytical procedures in such device s.

Research Career Framework

As part of this role you will be required to participate in the DCU Research Career Framework http://dcu.ie/hr/ResearchersFramework/index.shtml. This framework is designed to provide significant professional development opportunities to researchers and offer the best opportunities in terms of a wider career path.

In this role you will have access to competent technical, infrastructural and administrative support and the opportunity to evolve a multi-facetted skillset in an environment where you closely collaborate with world-class Irish and international companies and research organisations. Further career opportunities will arise with the success of the FPC@DCU.

DCU has a strong track record in attracting both Irish and European Union research funding under Horizon 2020, previous Framework Programmes, Marie Curie Actions and Erasmus. We offer a dynamic and internationally-focused environment in which to advance your academic and/or research career.

Salary: *€37,223 - €48,205

*Appointment will be commensurate with qualifications and experience will be made on the appropriate point of the salary scale, in line with current Government pay policy.

Closing date: 28th March 2019

Candidates will be assessed on the following competencies:

Discipline specific knowledge and Research Skills (demonstrates knowledge of a research discipline and the ability to conduct a specific programme of research within that discipline)

Communicating Research (Demonstrates the ability to communicate their research with their peers and the wider research community (for example presenting at conferences and publishing research in relevant journals) and the potential to teach and tutor students)

Managing & Leadership skills (demonstrates the potential to manage a research project including the supervision of undergraduate students)

Understanding the Research Environment (demonstrates an awareness of the research environment (e.g. funding bodies) and takes responsibility for how their research is conducted

Informal enquiries to: Dr. Rohit Mishra (rohit.mishra@dcu.ie)

Application Procedure:

Application forms are available from the DCU Current Vacancies (Open Competitions) website at http://www4.dcu.ie/hr/vacancies/current.shtml and also from the Human Resources Department, Dublin City University, Dublin 9. Tel: +353 (0)1 700 5149; Fax: +353 (0)1 700 5500 Email: hr.applications@dcu.ie

Applications should be submitted by e-mail to hr.applications@dcu.ie or by Fax: +353 (0)1 700 5500 or by post to the Human Resources Department, Dublin City University, Dublin 9.

Please clearly state the role that you are applying for in your application and email subject line: Job Ref #1135A Postdoctoral Researcher, Level according to experience

Dublin City University is an equal opportunities employer