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Opportunity at U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC)

Synthetic Biology and Paper-based Gene Switches for Detection in Austere Environments


Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, & Behavioral Sciences

RO# Location
11.01.04.B4587 Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 210105423


Name E-mail Phone
Emanuel, Peter A. 410.436.5562


This NRC opportunity is to work as part of a team working on the optimization of gene circuits in a cell-free environment.  This enables faster and easier refinement of sense and response modules for DoD relevant compounds (e.g. fuel contaminants, chemical weapons, explosives). Cell-free systems will serve as a stepping stone to insertion into a living cell or as a standalone application outside of a cell. An additional advantage is that this approach more easily harnesses the power of high-throughput screening platforms. Using this "biology-in-the-loop" approach provides an environmentally safe technology demonstration due to the absence of live, functional microbial organisms.  Cell-free systems provide faster reaction times and easier controls which will allow for the integration with abiotic systems (e.g. transistors, photonic devices) vital to producing easily readable outputs. For example, embedding responsive biological input/output controllers into materials that can be integrated with optical, electronic, or mechanical systems will allow biotic/abiotic hybrid solutions for a variety of sense and respond applications. In this NRC effort we seek to develop host independent transcription/translation machinery that can function in cell-free or cell-based systems. Creating chassis organisms stably expressing host independent machinery should allow the same circuit prototyped in one context to be transplanted into another cell-type. You will examine various material strategies (e.g. emulsions, paper, sol-gel) to enable the stabilization and integration of cell-free genetic networks on flexible substrates and readout of genetic circuits in response to metabolites, chemical agents, or other DoD-relevant signatures. Furthermore, you will develop processing methods to harness the emerging capabilities of additive manufacturing.


Genomics; Proteomics; Biodetection; Genetics; Molecular biology; Bioinformatic;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants
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