PhD position in Oligomeric nucleic acid coacervate system (H/F) CBI - ESPCI Paris PSL LBC Team - Prof. Andrew Griffiths — Offre pourvue

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Offre pourvue

ESPCI Paris PSL is a major institution of higher education (a French "Grande École d’Ingénieurs"), an internationally renowned research center and a fertile ground of innovation for industry, and founding member of the University Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL).
The Laboratory of Biochemistry (LBC), directed by Prof. A. Griffiths, is a multidisciplinary laboratory spanning physics, chemistry, and biology. The unifying theme of their research is the use of microfluidic systems, and in particular droplet microfluidic systems, to answer questions in the field of biology and for the development of biotechnology applications. Three main areas of fundamental research can be distinguished : i) the emergence of Darwinian chemical systems (origin of life), ii) Darwinian system dynamics and directed evolution, and iii) single-cell analysis and screening. There is great synergy between fundamental research and applied projects, and this has resulted in the creation of several start-ups.
Darwinian evolution is unrivalled in its ability to invent, which Humankind has already exploited for various purposes such as plant and animal breeding and directed evolution of proteins. In these examples, evolution acts on living species or material derived from them, but so far it has not been possible to apply Darwinian evolution outside the realm of biological and some computational systems. The aim of the DarChemDN research programme is to develop Darwinian Chemistry by creating, for the first time, synthetic chemical systems that can reproduce and undergo open-ended Darwinian evolution.

What DarChemDN will offer
• A thorough scientific education in the frame of a doctoral training program.
• The possibility to participate in specific international courses, workshops and conferences.
• A strong involvement in a European research project with high international visibility.
• The possibility to perform research visits to internationally renowned research labs in Europe.
• A prestigious three-year MSCA Fellowship.
• A competitive salary including mobility and family allowances.

Eligibility criteria
Specific Eligibility Criteria on the Horizon Europe : Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) programme apply, including the mobility rule and PhD rules. Applicants of any nationality are welcome.
• Supported researchers : Applicants must be doctoral candidates, i.e. not already in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment. Researchers who have successfully defended their PhD thesis but not yet received their degree are not considered eligible.
• Mobility Rule : researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their recruitment date.
• Local requirements : Applicants must fulfil the local requirements of the recruiting institutions listed in the project descriptions below.

Project description (DC7 : Oligomeric nucleic acid coacervate system)
The aim is to develop autocatalytic systems based on coupling nucleic acid growth by non-enzymatic ligation to growth and division of coacervate droplets, and determine whether the system can display rudimentary evolution by natural selection. Specifically, DC7 will : (1) Create coacervate droplets with different initial compositions, alter the strength of the base-pairing interactions through changing the environment (salt concentration or temperature), and subject these systems to multiple cycles of coacervate droplet growth and division using the microfluidic system developed by DC3. (2) Aided by theoretical modelling, explore induction of heritable variation in droplet growth rates, aiming to induce local switching between attractors by locally changing temperature or salt concentration, or oligonucleotide composition. (3) Explore experimentally how evolution might be rendered more efficient by improving heredity and evolvability. As states are controlled by base-pairing interactions this may constitute a steppingstone towards heredity based on replication of nucleic acid sequences with a very high level of evolvability.

The candidate should have expertise in nucleic acid chemistry. They should have a strong command of written and spoken English.

Recruitment terms
Starting date : December 2023
Duration : 3 years

To complete your online application, visit the DarChemDN recruitment web page

Closing date for applications : 31 October 2023

10 Rue Vauquelin, 75005 Paris