Postdoc Position working on pyrenoid structure and CO2 fixation in Chlamydomonas

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The Mackinder Lab is looking to recruit a highly motivated, creative and talented postdoc to perform a pivotal role on a BBSRC/NSF funded project in the Department of Biology, University of York. The project titled: “Engineering an algal pyrenoid into higher plants to enhance yields” is an international collaboration involving the University of York, University of Edinburgh, University of Cambridge and Princeton University. The work builds upon 9 years of collaboration between the lead PIs with a primary focus of engineering the algal pyrenoid into Arabidopsis to improve photosynthetic performance. The post will initially be up to 18 months, depending on appointment in the salary range.

Photosynthesis drives life on Earth. However, the passive diffusion of CO2 from the surrounding environment to Rubisco’s active site can be limiting for photosynthesis. To overcome this algae have evolved CO2-concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) to concentrate CO2 in the proximity of Rubisco resulting in increased photosynthetic rates. Critical to CCM function is the biomolecular condensation of Rubisco into a liquid-liquid phase separated organelle called the pyrenoid. The Mackinder lab focuses on the discovery and characterization of components of the CCM and pyrenoids in a diverse range of algae. Recent discoveries in the model green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Mackinder et al. 2016, PNAS 113:5958–5963; Mackinder et al. 2017, Cell 171:133-147; Freeman Rosenzweig et al. 2017, Cell 171:148-162; Meyer et al. 2020, Science Advances 6:eabd2408;) are paving the way for the engineering of algal based CCMs in plants (Atkinson et al. 2020, Nature Comms 11:6303), with an ultimate goal to improve photosynthetic performance and yields in crops. Within the project, you will be part of an international team conducting research to understand pyrenoid structure and function in Chlamydomonas. You will interact closely with plant engineers (Edinburgh) and have opportunities to visit Princeton University to develop new skills. You will have a lead role, with guidance and supervision from senior colleagues. In addition, you will assist in the identification and development of potential areas of research, the development of proposals for independent or collaborative research projects, and the writing of research papers for publication.

You will have an interest in the subject matter of the project and possess a relevant PhD in the field of molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry or a related subject. You will have experience in a range of molecular, biochemical and data analysis techniques including; cloning, protein biochemistry, confocal microscopy and complex data handling. You will have attention to detail, a commitment to performing high quality research and a collaborative ethos with a willingness to work positively and proactively with colleagues in other departments and institutions. You will have the ability to efficiently meet deadlines and have the initiative to plan research programmes. Excellent communication skills are essential and you should be keen to develop project/team leadership skills.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Luke Mackinder ( Further information about the Mackinder Lab is available at: For an alternative contact, please email