• Postdoc position on engineering immune tolerance by combining mRNA technologies, nanoparticles and epigenetic editing

    The laboratory of Dr. Samira Kiani has at the University of Pittsburgh has an immediate opening for an outstanding, highly motivated, and self-driven postdoc candidate to join a collaborative research program on engineering immune tolerance by combining mRNA technologies, nanoparticles and epigenetic editing.
    Kiani’s lab is interested in using the designer DNA binding proteins such as Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat (CRISPR) and Zinc Finger proteins to develop novel editing tools to address safety of gene therapies and develop strategies to engineer immune response. This project aims to specifically engineer immune tolerance against any desired antigen. The ideal candidate has strong background either in immunology, in vivo mouse models, nanoparticles or gene editing tools.
    Minimum/Basic Qualifications: MD or Ph.D. degree in a related field of study (genetics, immunology, biology, bioengineering, molecular biology, and/or cell biology). A good track record of publications is required.
    Appointment: This position reports to Dr. Samira Kiani and is situated at the Pittsburgh Liver Research Center and the main campus of Pittsburgh University School of Medicine. It is a full-time, benefits-eligible, fiscal appointment with immediate start date. Initially intended to be for one year but there is the possibility of renewal, dependent on available funding, performance, and the needs of the University. The salary follows the NIH Pay line scales for postdocs. Applications will be reviewed weekly until the search is closed. A background check is required for employment. The University of Pittsburgh is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to excellence through diversity. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
    Interested candidates should contact Dr. Samira Kiani ( with their CV, cover letter, and contact information of at least two referees included in the email.

  • Project Manager – Task Force on Global Metrics and Technical Standards for the Bioeconomy

    Job Summary

    This post offers a truly exciting opportunity to be the Project Manager of a global task force focused on determining the engineering biology metrics and technical standards needed to accelerate the global bioeconomy.

    The project has key partners in the US (EBRC, NIST) as well as in Singapore at NUS and will involve extensive external stakeholder engagement with the international synthetic biology/engineering biology industry including start-ups and SMEs, policymakers, regulators, national measurement labs and bioindustry trade bodies and associations. These external engagements will feed into the organisation and coordination of three physical workshops in the US, EU and Asia with a fourth workshop bringing together all stakeholders to map a way forward.

    The post would suit an ambitious, enthusiastic person with strong program/project management skills, who is passionate about engineering biology and the future bioeconomy and the transition to a more sustainable future and is keen to play an international role.

    Duties and responsibilities

    You will oversee and coordinate the management of the project through regular meetings with partners and associated stakeholders and direct international stakeholder engagement. You will contribute to the organization of workshops and lead on the delivery of workshop reports. You will ensure good communication to the project funders and project partners and direct and lead the production, revision, and dissemination of a strategic roadmap including identifying technical contributors and reviewers and overseeing the work of the science writer.

    Essential requirements

    The task force project manager will have:

    • Degree or equivalent qualification/experience and knowledge of synthetic biology/engineering biology
    • Demonstrated success in a similar project
    • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
    • Experience in appropriate events management, including organising large and small project meetings and events, drafting agendas and taking minutes
    • Communications experience including producing marketing, social media and website material
    • Experience of coordinating complex funding bids and/or reports that involve multiple stakeholders
    • Proven ability to prioritise, plan ahead and manage a high volume of work to meet deadlines, to and ensure that the operation runs in an efficient and timely manner
    • Ability to work collaboratively and productively with colleagues and multiple stakeholders in different geographical locations

    Further Information

    This is a full time, fixed term position for up to 15 months. You will be based at South Kensington Campus.

    Should you require any further details on the role please contact: India Hook-Barnard (EBRC; or Paul Freemont (Imperial College; )

  • Postdoctoral designer of biological animal robots

    We are seeking experienced and highly motivated postdoctoral researchers to take part in the exciting new BABot (Biological Animal roBot) project, funded by the European Innovation Council, beginning October 1st, 2023.

    BABots are small animals whose nervous system is genetically reconfigured to produce novel behaviors. These creatures are intended to ultimately execute diverse tasks, such as protecting crops from pathogen invasion, clearing contaminants from soil or water, or entering the body to perform delicate clinical procedures. The BABot project will focus at this stage on the 1mm-long nematode worm, C. elegans as a pioneering BABot.

    Our lab at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will be in charge of the design and construction of new genetic and neural circuits within the C. elegans nervous system, in order to produce artificially swarming worms that perform a sequence of coordinated tasks under a strict genetic biocontainment mechanism. This work will be performed in close collaboration with our BABot consortium partners, including experts in neurobiology, synthetic biology, collective behavior, robotics, and ethics, as well as a state-of-the-art agrotech company.

    Candidates should demonstrate a strong background and track record in some or all of the following areas:
    Synthetic biology
    C. elegans molecular biology and/or genetics

    In certain cases, Ph.D. applicants may also be considered.

  • Curriculum Module: Introduction to Engineering Biology

    Focused around concepts in the 2019 EBRC roadmap, Engineering Biology, this module consists of presentation slides that can be used (in sequence, or mixed-and-matched) to give students a basic understanding of the tools, technologies, and opportunities in engineering/synthetic biology.

  • EBRC Statement of Ethics in Engineering Biology Research

    Engineering biology draws on advances in biology, chemistry, computer science, and engineering to understand, design, and construct biological systems and organisms. As with other science and engineering disciplines, engineering biology can impact society in powerful ways; therefore, the ethical, environmental, social, political, security, and safety-related issues arising from associated technologies require thoughtful and ongoing consideration. The Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) asserts that understanding such issues is a necessary part of research and must be considered from the outset of any project design, continuing through deployment and management of new technologies and/or products.

    The EBRC further asserts that practitioners of engineering biology shall

    i) seek to create products or processes that benefit people, society, or the environment;

    ii) consider and weigh the benefits of research against potential harms;

    iii) incorporate equity and justice in the selection and implementation
    of engineering biology education, research, development, policy, and commercialization;

    iv) seek to openly distribute the results of early-stage research and development;

    v) protect the rights of individuals associated with engineering biology, including the freedom of
    inquiry of researchers and the free and informed consent of research participants; and

    vi) support open communication between engineering biology researchers and the stakeholders who might be
    affected by research, development, and the deployment of new technologies.

    Scientists and engineers in the engineering biology community must conduct research in a manner that is consistent with these principles in order to remain in good-standing in the community. They must also be cognizant of and communicate possible negative consequences and misuses of engineering biology research. Appropriate safeguards, informed by safety and security best practices, shall be implemented to prevent undesirable outcomes such as the development of biological or chemical weapons, environmental damage resulting from the inadvertent release of certain engineered organisms into the environment, and the use of engineering biology to perpetuate social inequalities.

    The EBRC resolves to bring these principles and issues to the awareness of our community along with governmental and non-governmental organizations in the United States and around the world. We support bioethics education and training for researchers and encourage collaboration among scientists, humanists, and engineers to proactively address equity, justice, and environmental risks and benefits. We will advance the principles described here through transparent, democratic self-governance, support for appropriate public and State oversight and review, and the development, publication, and adoption of research best practices.

  • Principles of Synthetic Biology edX Course

    A free, online course on the basics of synthetic biology with a focus on programming genetic circuits.

  • Travel Reimbursement Policy

    Vaccination against COVID-19 is required for in-person event participation. EBRC will instill masking and social distancing requirements per CDC and state and local guidelines to ensure the safety, health, and comfort of our participants. 

    The Engineering Biology Research Consortium is pleased to be able to provide financial support for travel to some events and activities.

    Travelers may fall into one of three categories:
    1. Flight & Hotel Only
    2. Full Reimbursement
    3. No support available

    Any individual event may have travelers falling into more than one category. EBRC endeavours to provide clear guidance as to which category is in place for a particular traveler and event.

    It is the policy of Engineering Biology Research Consortium to support the (invited) traveler for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred during EBRC-related travel. Funded Travelers should incur the lowest reasonable travel expenses and exercise care to avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety. Support is allowed only when support or reimbursement has not been, and will not be, received from other sources. The majority of EBRC travel support is provided though federal awards managed at the University of California, Berkeley. As such, the guidelines in this document are to supplement UC Berkeley travel policy. In the event of conflict, the most stringent policy applies.

    • Flight & Hotel Only: The EBRC will provide instructions to book flights and hotel for an event. Both will be paid directly by EBRC and the traveler should not require reimbursement after the event. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis in advance of the event.
    • Full Reimbursement: The EBRC will generally provide instructions to book flight and hotel and be paid directly. Following the event, documentation for reimbursements must be submitted within 30 days of the last day of travel. Only actual expenses with receipt documentation can be reimbursed. EBRC does not provide a flat per diem.

    Transportation expenses will generally be supported based on the most economical and commonly used mode of conveyance taking the most direct route during the authorized travel dates (the days of the meeting and one day before and after the meeting). If you need to make an additional stop or stops en route to the meeting or after the meeting or travel outside the travel dates, please contact us at in advance of booking.

    Airfare Guidelines
    EBRC will provide an approved travel agency with flight limits for the traveler to contact. Payment will be made directly by the EBRC to the travel agency. We cannot guarantee full reimbursement for air travel made outside of our agency. If you are not able to book through our travel agency, please contact EBRC at

    • Only coach/economy class tickets at the lowest reasonable fare and non-refundable tickets are reimbursable. First class, business class, full-fare economy class, and unrestricted/refundable tickets are not reimbursable without advance written approval. All travel should be planned and booked as far in advance as possible to take advantage of the least-expensive fares available. Ancillary fees charged by airlines (i.e., seat assignment, excess baggage) are not reimbursable.
    • If the approved travel agency is not used and EBRC has not directly paid the airfare, comparative costs upon which airfare reimbursement can be based must be obtained. This means you will be reimbursed for the cost of a direct round-trip between your place of work and the EBRC event meeting place or the face value of the ticket, whichever is less. If the constructive cost is not determined in advance, our travel office will reference the lowest reasonable fare after the fact, and this may lower your reimbursement. If you expect to be reimbursed by a third party for any part of your travel, costs should be allocated appropriately.
    • The EBRC cannot pay airline change fees after reservations have been ticketed. Except for emergencies, the traveler will be responsible for change fees should changes arise after flights have been confirmed by the traveler and booked by the EBRC-approved Travel Agency.
    • If you are unable to honor a flight reservation, you are responsible for cancelling your reservation and notifying EBRC at before the departure. You must cancel your ticket directly with the airline or with the EBRC-approved Travel Agency. Do not rely on email to cancel your ticket. Please call the emergency number of the Travel Agency can cancel over the phone. EBRC will be provided a partial credit can be applied to the unused ticket. Cancellations arising from non-emergency situations may require reimbursement of EBRC’s costs or restrictions on future travel with EBRC.

    Ground Transportation

    • If driving your personal vehicle, you may be reimbursed the standard UC Berkeley per-mile rate based on the most direct route. To determine the number of miles, use an online mapping tool (MapQuest or Google Maps). The standard mileage rate includes fuel, as well as wear-and-tear on the vehicle. You will be reimbursed the lesser of mileage based on the most direct route or an amount equal to the cost of flying coach/economy with advance booking.
    • Rental cars generally not necessary for EBRC events and will only be supported with explicit notice in advance of an event. If a rental car is allowed, you can rent up to an intermediate size car. When traveling by train or Amtrak, you must use coach-class accommodations.

    Travelers will be invited and encouraged to stay in hotel blocks booked and paid for directly by EBRC. Room incidentals are not reimbursable and are the responsibility of the traveler.

    Meals & Incidental Expenses
    If a trip is less than 24 hours, meals are not reimbursable, unless there was a need for an overnight stay. Most EBRC meetings include catered meals during the meeting. No reimbursement will be allowed when catered meals are provided. The meeting agenda will indicate when meals are provided. If there is an overnight stay where dinner is not provided for, EBRC will reimburse up to $31.00 per day actual expenses with receipt submission. Meals will only be reimbursed for events with full reimbursement travelers. For EBRC annual retreats and annual meetings, meals are not reimbursable.

    Reporting Travel Expenses for Reimbursement
    Save your receipts. Business-related expenses can be claimed for actual amount spent, with submission of itemized receipts for all transportation and meals. A valid receipt contains payee’s name, amount, date, place, identification of what was purchased and proof of payment. If you lost a business receipt and have exhausted all efforts to obtain a copy from the merchant, provide an explanation with your reimbursement request including the details of the purchase and your declaration that the amount claimed is the amount actually paid by you and that you have not and will not seek reimbursement from any other source.

    Request for exceptions to this policy should be made as soon as possible. To request an exception, please contact us at This includes questions or deviations for complex travel situations.

  • Synthetic Biology In Space

    This video describes how synthetic biology might enable humans to live on another planet for generations, and highlights some of the capabilities we already have and how they could be used to engineer plants – and perhaps even people – to survive and thrive in a new environment. The presenter, Lisa Nip, also touches on the ethical and moral decisions that accompany the required biological engineering feats. While the aerospace engineers are working on getting us to Mars, everyone should take part in the conversation about what we can do when we get there, and this is a great video to start that conversation.

    Video from TEDx Talks.

  • What is a Gene Drive?

    “Gene drives” are a hot topic in biotechnology, with many potential applications and ramifications. Gene drives could be used to control disease transmission, perhaps even eradicating certain diseases. There are a host of ethical issues to consider regarding gene drives too, from ecological impacts to nefarious uses by parties with bad intentions. But in order to understand all of this, it is important to have at least an initial, basic understanding of what a “gene drive” is. This video provides a quick, visually-illustrated, easy-to-understand explanation of a gene drive that will let you understand the ongoing conversations about gene drives and also think critically about their future impacts.

  • EauD’coli

    The 2006 MIT iGEM team makes normally stinky smelling bacteria smell like bananas and mint, and openly discuss their design process in a charming presentation of really special work. The control of scent by growth phase increased the tools and the imagination for cellular inputs and outputs.

  • Programming Living Bacteria

    A 30 minute overview of synbio, its applications and a brief description of the techniques used in biotechnology. A very accessible video designed for the general public, it has engaging and clear animations.

    Produced by, this video features EBRC member Dr. Christopher Voight.

  • iGEM Style

    Arguably the video that popularized the tradition of iGEM song parodies, and still a great way to get a feel for what it’s like to work in a lab as part of a team. A group that is not engaged and passionate about what they’re doing could not have produced something like this.

    Video by iGEM Calgary (featuring “Gangnam Style” by PSY)

  • Biodesign in the Era of Automation

    Zach Serber, CSO and one of the founders of Zymergen, gives an hour-long webinar with the hundreds of students and mentors for 2019’s Biodesign Challenge. He spoke on the need for bio-based materials in the face of dwindling petroleum supplies and climate change; the potential of bio-processes for creating new and superior products with increased molecular diversity; and the new methods being used to design microbes to make these products at useful scales.

  • Complete lesson or course (package): Biochemical Engineering: Molecular engineering course materials

  • Science Policy Postdocs

    The Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) and UC Berkeley are seeking postdoctoral scholars interested in science policy. Postdocs will leverage their previous training to work with EBRC programs and to conduct an individual research project.

    EBRC is a non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to bringing together an inclusive community committed to advancing engineering biology to address national and global needs. We showcase cutting-edge research in engineering biology, identify pressing challenges and opportunities in research and application, and articulate compelling research roadmaps and programs to address these challenges and opportunities.

    Applications are being accepted for those with interest in the bioeconomy and related technical and policy influences and impacts, and those interested in any of our four focus areas: Technical Research Roadmapping, Security, Education & Workforce Development, and Policy & International Engagement. Applicants with particular knowledge, experience, and/or expertise in one of the five Application and Impact Sectors (i.e., Environment Biotechnology & Climate, Food & Agriculture, Energy, Health & Medicine, Industrial Biotechnology) and/or the four Technical Themes (i.e., Data Science, Engineering DNA, Host Engineering, Biomolecular Engineering) described in EBRC’s Engineering Biology: A Research Roadmap for the Next-Generation Bioeconomy (2019), are encouraged.  Roughly 75% of the postdoc’s time will be dedicated to EBRC projects related to bioeconomy and/or in the focus areas.

    Special Opportunity – Bioeconomy Assessment, Influence, and Impact:

    The EBRC postdoctoral scholar(s) will contribute to an analysis of the bioeconomy landscape in the US and opportunities and strategies to strengthen and grow the engineering biology sector of the economy. The postdoc will conduct interviews and reviews of literature and data to assess the capacity, participation, and potential impact of engineering biology tools, technologies, products, and people to influence production and consumption of a variety of resources. The postdoc can expect to gain significant experience in science policy analysis, writing, and communication.

    EBRC Focus Areas:

    Technical Research Roadmapping: Working with EBRC’s Roadmapping Director, postdocs in this focus area will develop and curate technical content EBRC’s research roadmaps. A national-scale effort, postdocs will engage with the EBRC membership and other subject matter experts by facilitating interactions with the working group, executing workshops and working meetings, and performing independent literature research to ensure the best expertise is brought to bear in material development. Postdocs will gain experience in effective engagement and project management with the research community and focus on advancing research programs and opportunities across engineering biology.

    Security & Synthetic Biology: The postdoc will develop and deliver papers, briefings, and course materials on security and engineering biology. EBRC approaches this topic bidirectionally asking both how advances in engineering biology affect the security landscape and how changes in security policy can influence engineering biology research and development practices. The postdoc will engage with stakeholders ranging from undergraduates to senior government policy makers, so a strong ability to tailor communications to a specific audience is necessary for success. The postdoc will have the opportunity to interact with the national security and policy communities on issues relevant to synthetic biology.

    Synthetic Biology Education: The postdoc will work closely with the Education working group and through independent research to understand and advance the synthetic/engineering biology education landscape and workforce pipeline in the US, with a focus on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Currently, EBRC is focused on developing projects, programs, and resources for students and educators to strengthen engineering biology curricula, interest, and engagement. The postdoc will also engage in a landscaping effort to understand the needs and challenges for the engineering biology workforce pipeline towards the development of a roadmap for engineering biology education and integration with the EBRC technical roadmaps for engineering biology.

    Policy & International Engagement: The postdoc will work with the Policy & International Engagement working group on a wide range of topics not covered in the other three working groups. Efforts typically focus on US developments in the bioeconomy and how EBRC can effectively inform governmental decision making. This focus area is generally the focal point for preparing responses to formal RFIs. Internationally, EBRC is focused on understanding and engaging with the global bioeconomy, synthetic biology strategies in different countries, and multinational governance like the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    All EBRC postdocs will spend roughly 25% of their time working with Doug Friedman (EBRC President) on an agreed-upon individual science policy research project. Postdocs will develop their project based on a topic of interest and be consistent with EBRC’s overall mission and strategic goals. Strong projects will leverage the postdoc’s technical background, their policy area of interest, and EBRC’s network and relationships in the synthetic biology research community and throughout the US government.

    The EBRC Science Policy Postdoc is intended as a full time, one year appointment, made through UC Berkeley. Postdocs will be an integral part of the EBRC Team and will have the opportunity to learn and make significant contributions during their appointment. In addition to the independent and focus area projects outlined above, postdocs will participate in EBRC core activities (annual meetings and retreats); contribute to EBRC cross-cutting efforts regarding responsible innovation and diversity, equity, and inclusion; have opportunities for relevant training in science policy; and meet government officials and policymakers through EBRC events and, when possible, periodic trips to Washington, DC.

    Those interested are encouraged to send their CV and a Cover Letter as a single PDF to EBRC’s Executive Director India Hook-Barnard ( and copy In your cover letter, please indicate the focus area(s) of interest as well as initial ideas for your independent project.


    Diversity statement: EBRC is interested in candidates who will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity in higher education and the engineering biology field through their work.

    Family friendly statement: UC Berkeley has an excellent benefits package as well as a number of policies and programs to support employees as they balance work and family.

    The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. It is the policy of the University not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person employed or seeking employment with the University of California on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services.

    For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

  • Skype A Scientist

    Skype a Scientist matches scientists with classrooms around the world!

  • Syllabus: Protein Engineering Syllabus (Northwestern CBE 395)

  • Homework or recitation worksheets: Protein Engineering Design Challenges

  • Synthetic and Systems Biology Summer School

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