The Smerlak group at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (Leipzig, Germany) seeks a talented postdoc to join an international collaboration working on the origin of life.
The RNA world hypothesis posits that an early stage of life involved RNA acting as both information carrier and catalyst. Extant self-splicing introns (such as the Azoarcus ribozyme, which can catalyze its own self-assembly from ~50nt-long fragments) may provide a window into this ancient world.
The project aims to combine computational and experimental techniques to design RNA self-replicators from group I introns and test whether they can evolve in vitro.
The collaboration partners are Philippe Nghe (ESPCI, Paris), Eric Hayden (Boise State University, USA) and Arati Ramesh (National Center for Biological Sciences, India) and their groups.
The ideal candidate will have some expertise in either bioinformatics, biophysics or machine learning and an ability to work creatively across disciplinary boundaries.
The position is for one year (renewable for up to three years). Start date preferably in the spring of 2020.
Funding is through HSFP Young Investigator Award RGY0077/2019.