Current Openings

The Division of Science also offers postdoctoral opportunities.

Posted 9/14/2022

We seek four postdocs to join a multidisciplinary, tightly integrated team of five investigators (Ben Rogers, Seth Fraden, Mike Hagan, Greg Grason, and Bing Xu) within the Brandeis Bioinspired Soft Materials Research Center (MRSEC) to design and synthesize new DNA-origami building blocks, elucidate the mechanisms of their assembly into self-limiting architectures, and model the assembly pathways using theory and computer simulation. Our team of students, postdocs and faculty will work together across groups and disciplines to achieve our goals. This position offers ample opportunities for professional development, including participating in exciting cutting-edge science, gaining mentoring experience, and initiating your own research directions.

The team will build upon recent successes in developing a versatile class of DNA-origami building blocks to elucidate the fundamental physical principles for engineering components that self-assemble into large, but finite-size, superstructures. The self-assembly of size-controlled architectures is prevalent in living systems. The adaptive functions of biological materials, including viral shells, cytoskeletal filaments, and photonic nanostructures of bird feathers arise from the regulated finite size of self-assembled architectures. In this project, we will advance two complementary paradigms for bottom-up assembly of size-controlled  architectures: one uses curved building blocks that assemble into self-closing structures; the other uses ill fitting blocks that accumulate distortions upon assembly to form structures with open boundaries. 

This research addresses many fundamental questions in self-assembly: How do shapes, interactions, and  flexibilities of building blocks control the assembly size? How can self-limiting assembly be adapted to  distinct morphologies, like ropes, fibers, sheets or shells? Are there fundamental or practical limits to the  sizes of controllably assembled structures? By answering these questions and more, we aim to develop  engineering principles to create size-controlled architectures with high yield. 

(1, 2) Design and self-assembly of DNA-origami building blocks.
Qualifications: Experience in experimental soft-matter physics or DNA nanotechnology.
Tasks: Design and characterize DNA-origami  building blocks and their subsequent higher-order assemblies. Individual building blocks will be  characterized with electron microscopy (EM), including single-particle cryoEM. Assemblies will be  characterized using EM, optical microscopy, and light scattering. The goal is to understand mechanisms  by which components self-assemble into large, but finite-size, superstructures.
Supervisors: Profs. Rogers  and Fraden (Brandeis). 

(3) Joint experimental & computational studies of DNA-origami assembly pathways.
Qualifications:  Experience in computational physics and experimental soft matter. Applicants are sought with interests in  fields such as soft matter, thermodynamics, and materials science.
Tasks: Work jointly with Profs. Rogers  and Hagan to perform experiments and computer simulations to elucidate the dynamical pathways of DNA-origami assembly. Develop theoretical predictions of target assemblies and design rules, and test  those predictions in experiment.
Supervisors: Profs. Rogers and Hagan. 

(4) Computational modeling of protein-filament assembly.

Qualifications: Experience in atomistic  simulations and enhanced sampling methods. Additional desirable skills include data-driven approaches,  and/or implementation of large-scale parallelized/GPU-enabled simulations.
Tasks: Simulate assembly of  finite-sized filaments assembled from protein subunits in the lab of Bing Xu. Experience in collaborating  with experimentalists and working with protein structures (e.g. electron microscopy data) are strongly  encouraged.
Supervisors: Profs. Hagan, Grason, Rogers, and Xu (Brandeis). 

Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply. Brandeis University is an Affirmative  Action/Equal Opportunity employer M/W/D/V. 

Start Date: October 2022.
Location: Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA 

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