Postdoctoral Research Fellow (A) – Bio Energy

Job no: 514353
Work type: Fixed term - Full-time
Campus: Adelaide
Categories: Technical, Laboratory and Research Support, Level A, Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Apply now

Level A ($78,544 to $105,611) per annum plus an employer contribution of up to 17% superannuation applies.

Fixed-term position available for 36 months.

Be part of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and contribute to world-leading research projects at the University of Adelaide.

The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Centre dedicated to developing advanced biofuels and biomaterials. JBEI is a research partnership led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in the USA and combining the scientific expertise, resources and support of five national laboratories, eight academic institutions, and one industry partner. The University of Adelaide is the only international partner.

The role will identify and characterise genes responsible for plant cell wall biosynthesis, and implement this knowledge to redesign the wall for improved function and application. Working within the University of Adelaide JBEI team, but also in close collaboration with the Emeryville-based JBEI team, as well as other partners, the successful candidate will use in-house methods to develop null mutants in candidate genes via tissue culture and gene editing in Arabidopsis. The position will focus on pectin, and particularly on rhamnogalacturonan-II (RG-II).

The tasks of the Postdoctoral Researcher will include using methods which include HPAEC-PAD, PACE and MALDI to characterise the resulting cell wall composition and structure. Heterologous expression of proteins, combined with methods such as microscale thermophoresis will also be used to characterise enzyme activity. The postdoc will also co-supervise PhD students and Honours students.

Outputs will include characterisation of novel genes, improved methods for RG-II analysis, and a better understanding of cell wall assembly and function.

To be successful you will need:

  • A completed or nearly completed PhD in Plant Sciences, Plant Molecular Biology, Plant Synthetic Biology, Plant Biochemistry or related subject.
  • Demonstrated skills in plant molecular biology and biochemistry technique, including plant transformation and tissue culture.
  • Demonstrated understanding of cell wall biology.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English, with an ability to communicate scientific ideas to an expert audience.
  • A strong work ethic, and the ability to work well independently, and as a member of a broader team, including with industrial partners.
  • Ability to travel overseas and to attend out of hours meetings with US-based team members
  • Commitment to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion.

Desirable characteristics:

  • Understanding of bioinformatics.
  • Experience with HPAEC-PAD and HPLC systems.

Enjoy an outstanding career environment

The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, is a research institute funded by the United States Department of Energy. JBEI is led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and includes participation from the Sandia National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as well as UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Iowa State University, and the University of Adelaide. The goal of The Joint BioEnergy Institute is to develop biofuels, bio-synthesized from lignin derived from corn stover, sorghum and other plant feedstocks (see second generation biofuels) as an alternative to fossil fuels. Additionally, there are efforts to produce bio-based chemicals derived from the deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass to create bio-based polymers and other commodities such as perfumes, dietary supplements as well as other high-end products. The goal is to use these bio-based chemicals to help finance the change in infrastructure from petroleum fuels to biofuels. JBEI functions as an incubator for scientific discovery bringing together the best and brightest researchers from around the country and the globe.

The University of Adelaide is a uniquely rewarding workplace. The size, breadth and quality of our education and research programs - including significant industry, government and community collaborations - offers you vast scope and opportunity for a long, fulfilling career.

It also enables us to attract high-calibre people in all facets of our operations, ensuring you will be surrounded by talented colleagues, many world-leading. Our work's cutting-edge nature - not just in your own area, but across virtually the full spectrum of human endeavour - provides a constant source of inspiration.

Our culture is one that welcomes all and embraces diversity consistent with our Staff Values and Behaviour Framework and our Values of integrity, respect, collegiality, excellence and discovery. We firmly believe that our people are our most valuable asset, so we work to grow and diversify the skills, knowledge and capability of all our staff.

We embrace flexibility as a key principle to allow our people to manage the changing demands of work, personal and family life. Flexible working arrangements are on offer for all roles at the University.

In addition, we offer a wide range of attractive staff benefits. These include: salary packaging; flexible work arrangements; high-quality professional development programs and activities; and an on-campus health clinic, gym and other fitness facilities.

Learn more at:

Your faculty’s broader role

The Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology is a multidisciplinary hub of cutting-edge teaching and research. Many of its academic staff are world leaders in their fields and graduates are highly regarded by employers. The Faculty actively partners with innovative industries to solve problems of global significance.

As a member of Australia’s G08, the University of Adelaide is recognised as one of the nation’s most respected research-intensive universities, challenging and inspiring graduates to make a real difference. The Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) holds an outstanding reputation for teaching, research, and quality graduates. Comprised of eight schools, 21 centres and five institutes, the Faculty of SET is responsible for teaching over 8,500 students across our three campuses, North Terrace, Waite and Roseworthy, and has an annual budget of $300 million. The faculty is a significant contributor to the University’s research reputation, earning annual research revenue above $120 million. Many of our research areas have achieved a world-class research rating of 5 in the 2018 ERA rankings. The faculty is responsible for teaching and research across wide range of disciplines including Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, Architecture, Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Agriculture, Food and Wine and Animal and Veterinary Science. The Faculty of SET is an innovative and agile working environment that champions excellence, diversity and inclusion in our teaching, research, and global engagement leadership.

Learn more at:

If you have the talent, we'll give you the opportunity. Together, let's make history.

Click on the ‘Apply Now’ button to be taken through to the online application form. Please ensure you submit a cover letter, resume, and upload a document that includes your responses to all of the selection criteria for the position as contained in the position description or selection criteria document.


Applications close 11:55pm (South Australia time), Thursday 18 July, 2024.


For further information

For a confidential discussion regarding this position, contact:

Associate Professor Jenny Mortimer 

The University reserves the right to close this advertisement before the closing date if a suitable candidate is identified.

The University of Adelaide is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer committed to providing a working environment that embraces and values diversity and inclusion. Female applicants, people with a disability and/or and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who meet the requirements of this position are strongly encouraged to apply. If you have any support or access requirements, we encourage you to advise us at time of application. 


Download the Position Description Apply now

Applications close:

Refer a friend

Back to search results

Job search

Filter results

Work type