University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Research Associate-In discovery and engineering of novel plastic degrading enzymes -Hollfelder Group (Fixed Term)

A postdoctoral position is available for 24 months (in the first instance, extension possible) from 1 September 2024 to work with Florian Hollfelder at the Biochemistry Department of Cambridge University (

Our project objective is to identify new plastic-degrading enzymes bioinformatically in metagenomic databases or experimental ultrahigh-throughput functional metagenomic screening. These enzymes will be engineered and improved by directed evolution in microfluidic droplets. Sequence datasets emerging from ultrahigh-throughput screening will be analysed by artificial intelligence/machine learning approaches

The UKRI-funded Mission Hub 'Preventing Plastic Pollution through Engineering Biology (P3EB)' is aimed at transforming end-of-life plastic waste using engineering biology approaches ranging from chemical biology to process engineering. Working in partnership with industry, we will impart value into plastic waste, incentivising its recovery and retention, and so reducing the amount destined for landfill, for incineration, or being discarded into the environment. The P3EB Mission Hub is a consortium of researchers and innovators assembled from the University of Portsmouth (lead), Bangor University, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, University of Manchester, and University College London. The initiative will receive £11.2 million from the "UKRI Technology Missions Fund" over the next 5 years. As a P3EB Mission Hub member, you will have access to training in cross-disciplinary topics such as intellectual property, AI, and responsible research and innovation. You will also have opportunities to visit collaborators' laboratories, engage in interdisciplinary research and innovation, participate in regular online Researcher Forums, and attend Annual General Meetings of the Mission Hub at locations across the UK.

Applicants should have a first (or upper second) class degree in chemistry, biochemistry or a related, relevant subject, followed by a PhD. Familiarity with molecular and chemical biology techniques (e.g. cloning, protein engineering) and specific skills in assay development, enzyme kinetics, DNA library generation, organic synthesis, high-throughput screening, mechanistic enzymology and microfluidics are advantages. An interest in interdisciplinary collaboration is crucial.

Applications should contain a description of research interests (e.g. as part of the cover letter), a detailed CV (with exam marks and all relevant practical experience) and a list of publications. Please also include the names and email addresses of at least two referees, who are familiar with your research work.

The University of Cambridge is a signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research (Assessment DORA), and in recruitment or promotion evaluations will assess research on the basis of its merits rather than the journal or venue in which it is published. For more information:

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 24 months in the first instance.

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Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Professor Hollfelder:

For any questions about this vacancy or the application process please contact:

Please quote reference PH42261 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online