Laboratory of Synthetic Genome Biology
Developing biological engineering approaches to understand epigenetics and genome organization in C. elegans

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October 8, 2017 

Postdoctoral Position in Synthetic Genome Biology


KAUST is an international graduate-level, merit-based research university dedicated to advancing scientific and technological education and research, acting as a catalyst for innovation, economic development and social prosperity in the region and the world. Our research strives to enhance the welfare of society with a special focus on four areas of global significance – food, water, energy and the environment. Based near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, KAUST has attracted top-notch faculty and staff from all over the world, with more than 80 nations represented on campus.


We invite qualified candidates to apply for a postdoctoral position in the laboratory for Synthetic Genome Biology, in the Biological & Environmental Science & Engineering Division. The laboratory's long-term goal is to derive generalizable "design principles" for gene regulation in multicellular organisms. This includes understanding the role of patterns in non-coding DNA, gene structure, and chromosome organization. We are particularly excited about two specific questions: how do cells distinguish "self" from "foreign" and what fraction of a genome's genes and DNA can be assigned defined functions? To understand gene regulation, we use genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics in the nematode C. elegans. We place a strong emphasis on developing genetic engineering technologies, with inspiration from the nascent field of synthetic biology.


Specific Projects

Genome defense. We plan to characterize a novel genomic defense system where germ cells allow expression of genes by embedding a non-coding DNA "watermark" into endogenous genes.

See Froekjaer Jensen et al. (2016 ) Cell.

Chromatin regulation. We will develop high-throughput techniques to insert natural and synthetic DNA fragments into the genome to understand how chromatin environments shape features, e.g. promoters, of genes.

Genome editing. Using transposons and Cas9/CRISPR, we plan to develop high-throughput genome editing tools. The long-term goal is to enable genome-scale manipulation for arbitrarily complex re-organization and re-coding of the C. elegans genome.

See Froekjaer Jensen et al. (2010 , 2012 , 2014 ) Nature Methods

See Froekjaer Jensen et al. (2008 ) Nature Genetics



We are looking for an adventurous, accomplished, and independent young scientist with a recent PhD in genetics, molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics or equivalent. Applicants should have experience with a genetic model organism, an excellent grasp of standard molecular biology, and experience with fluorescence imaging or next-generation sequencing. Critical thinking and the ability to work independently is a must. Experience in C. elegans research is preferable. More importantly, candidates should show commitment to building an exciting research group that is dynamic and ambitious while also being collegial and supportive.



We offer an ambitious and supportive scientific environment in a recently established research group. The laboratory is part of KAUST's Epigenetics and Environment Program (KEEP), with frequent scientific interactions and participation in KEEPs seminar series. The candidate will have access to state of the art equipment within the lab and through the core labs. The salary is highly competitive, with free housing and medical insurance. For more information about living and working at KAUST, please refer to the University’s website:



For questions about the position and projects, please contact Dr. Froekjaer Jensen (, Please submit your application, with a full CV, research interests, and three references as a single pdf by email with "synthetic genome biology postdoc" in the subject line. We encourage a diversity of applicants and do not discriminate based on race, religion, or gender. Applications are accepted from October 2017 until the position has been filled.


King Abdullah University of Science & Technology

At KAUST, we attract people from all around the world who want to create impact beyond their own achievements. Irrespective of their national origins, the people of KAUST are “people of the world” who uphold our values of achievement, passion, inspiration, citizenship, diversity, integrity, and openness. Located on the beautiful Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, KAUST sets exceptional standards in residences, recreational facilities and boasts a truly multicultural community environment which can be enjoyed by all, along with ample opportunities and time to keep work and life in harmony. Expats are very well looked after, with packages including tax-free salary, relocation assistance, and accommodation on campus.