Postdoctoral Scholar in Chemical Engineering
University of California Davis Department of Chemical Engineering
United States

Postdoctoral Scholar (McDonald/Nandi Lab)

Job #JPF04891

Application Window

Open date: April 21st, 2022

Next review date: Monday, May 23, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Friday, Jul 22, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

A research position for a Post-Doctoral Researcher is immediately available at the McDonald-Nandi laboratory (, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Davis to work on the project entitled “Scalable Plant-Based Production of Affordable Protein Drugs”. This goal of this project is to transiently express, measure, and characterize recombinant Alpha 1 Antitrypsin (AAT) protein made in Nicotiana benthamiana. The successful candidate should have appropriate research experience and should provide evidence of effective and innovative research in the areas listed below and be interested in innovation, entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. The duration of this position is initially for one year and extendable depending on performance and availability of funding.

Specific tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Grow and maintain healthy Nicotiana benthamiana plants in controlled environmental chambers.
  • Perform genetic infiltration of target gene(s) to produce transient expression in leaves.
  • Draft amendments to lab Biological Use Authorizations as needed.
  • Design of experiments to optimize speed of production, quantitative analyses, reproducibility, and quality of recombinant proteins made in plants.
  • Perform appropriate assays (ELISA, Western blots, anti-elastase activity, and proteinprotein binding assays using biolayer interferometry (BLI) to measure the specific productivity of the target recombinant protein).
  • Generate a sufficient amount of infiltrated leaves for purification and further characterization of the target recombinant protein in crude extract or after purification (e.g. SDS-PAGE, Western, ELISA, amino acid sequencing, activity assay, mass spectrometry, BLI, CD analysis, etc.).
  • Optimization of extraction and purification (>95%) of target molecules using centrifugation, TFF and AKTA systems and standardization of the protocols for scalability.
  • This project and position require collaboration and to work closely with a nearby commercial lab. A portion of the work may be performed at the commercial lab.
  • Supervise undergraduate and graduate students working on related projects in the laboratory.
  • Interface with collaborators within the university and outside of the university to further research objectives.
  • Prepare monthly research update presentations, prepare drafts of journal publications, maintain laboratory notebooks and data, identify related research and fellowship funding opportunities, contribute to proposals, present research findings at conferences and internal meetings, draft annual and final NSF reports.
  • The participation in I-Corps (NSF) program is mandatory for this candidate. Participate in I-Crops (NSF) program involves interviewing technology stakeholders and entrepreneurs. Generate data from those interviews and report biweekly to I-Crops team of mentors. The final report and participation in a two day final workshop with presentation is necessary.

The selected researcher is also expected to participate in seminars, weekly lab meetings, journal clubs, preparation of presentations, posters, reports, and publications. UC Davis hold all rights for patenting or publishing any research data or outcomes and the researcher must adhere to all confidentiality, maintenance and archiving of lab data and records, lab safety, biological use authorization, and laboratory-specific requirements.


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

Candidates must have a Ph.D. degree in Biochemical/Chemical Engineering, Molecular Biotechnology, Plant Biotechnology, Natural Sciences or other related disciplines with skills in plant growth, protein purification, and characterization for the above-mentioned tasks.

Preferred qualifications

Capable of designing and conducting experiments independently, novel hypothesis
testing, troubleshooting, data analyses, presentation and interpretation with excellent oral and written communication skills as well as teamwork, lab safety and biosafety skills. The selected individual should also have a strong interest in entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology commercialization.

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

  • Statement of Research

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a statement and why one is requested.

Reference requirements
  • 3-5 required (contact information only)
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Campus Information

UC Davis is a smoke and tobacco-free campus (

We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals’ with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UC Davis positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available at:

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is committed to inclusive excellence by advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do. UC Davis celebrates the multi-cultural diversity of its community by creating a welcoming and inclusive environment demonstrated through a variety of resources and programs available to academics, staff, and students. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are core values of UC Davis that are embedded within our Principles of Community and are tied with how to best serve our student population. Our excellence in research, teaching, and service can best be fully realized by members of our academic community who share our commitment to these values, which are included in our Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Vision, our strategic plan: “To Boldly Go,” our Principles of Community, the Office of Academic Affairs’ Mission Statement, and the UC Board of Regents Policy 4400: Policy on University of California Diversity Statement. UC Davis is making important progress towards our goal of achieving federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offers a plethora of resources on their website, and the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (HEDI) has outlined similar goals in their Anti-Racism and DEI Action Plan.” There are a plethora of links available on the About Us webpage where you can learn more about our Administration, Diversity and Inclusion, Rankings, Locations, Native American Land Acknowledgement, Sustainability, Visiting UC Davis, UC Davis Health, and Campus Safety.

The university is consistently ranked among the top institutions in the world for campus sustainability practices by the UI Green Metric World University Rankings. UC Davis is focused on achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and repeatedly shown its commitment to preserving a healthy and sustainable environment for generations to come.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy. All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees should refer to Appendix F, Section II.C. of the policy for applicable deadlines. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

Job location

Davis, California

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