Staff Scientist in Bacterial Anaerobic Cell Wall Metabolism

Updated: about 2 months ago

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest higher education institutions with over 37,000 students and about 4,700 employees. The University offers a diversity of high-quality education and world-leading research in several fields. Notably, the groundbreaking discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was made here. At Umeå University, everything is close. Our cohesive campuses make it easy to meet, work together and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture.

The ongoing societal transformation and large green investments in northern Sweden create enormous opportunities and complex challenges. For Umeå University, conducting research about – and in the middle of – a society in transition is key. We also take pride in delivering education to enable regions to expand quickly and sustainably. In fact, the future is made here.

The Department of Molecular biology at Umeå University is currently seeking a staff scientist for a full-time position to work with the project Bacterial cell wall homeostasis and plasticity: From fundamentals to antimicrobial targeting.Start date 1 May or as agreed. Probationary employment may occur.

The Cava lab at the Department of Molecular Biology (Umeå University) studies cell wall biology and genetics in bacteria. The enzymes involved in the production and turnover of the cell wall are preferred targets for many of our most successful antibiotics. Understanding the principles of bacterial cell wall homeostasis and plasticity is therefore essential to combat emerging resistant infections. Thus, our main goal is to improve the inventory of players in cell wall biogenesis, remodeling and regulation, characterize the function and interplay of known components, and evolve our work into quantitative studies and computational modeling. Gathered data will have an extraordinary potential as novel targets for the development of antimicrobials.

You will focus on the following specific topics: 1) to develop new technologies of high through put ultra-sensitive analysis of bacterial cell wall under anaerobiosis; 2) to characterize the genetic determinants governing bacterial anaerobic cell wall homeostasis at genome scale by analyzing the cell wall of arrayed mutant libraries; and 3) to identify the environmental factors modulating peptidoglycan plasticity and uncover its regulatory networks under anaerobiosis.

Work tasks

The recruited staff scientist will be involved in large scale, high-throughput analysis of bacterial cell wall samples using LC-MS. The person will also be responsible for the optimization and development of new analytical methods, sample preparation and analysis, and day-to-day maintenance and troubleshooting of the instruments. The applicant will also apply next generation sequencing methods to investigate bacterial cell wall dynamics and to discover novel cell wall regulatory partners.


Needed qualifications: Candidates must hold a PhD degree in microbiology or in agricultural biology and aquaculture or biochemistry. You should be highly motivated, have very good communication skills with senior colleagues and peers and the ability to interact in a team. 

You must to have previous experience in analytical chemistry, particularly in the development of chromatographic methods and sample preparation and analysis. A good knowledge of chromatography, mass spectrometry and associated software (e.g. Empower, UNIFI, Masslynx) is essential. It will be particularly qualifying for the successful candidate to have demonstrated expertise (at least 5 years) in comparative analysis of cell wall chromatographic and MS data, and generation and management of a cell wall database. 

Demonstrating proficiency in the isolation of cell wall-related lipids, including polyphenols such as C55, would be highly advantageous for this role.

You must have documented knowledge on regulation of bacterial anaerobic pathways (nitrate respiration and fermentation), especially in rhizobia bacteria (e.g., Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens and Ensifer meliloti) and human enteric pathogens (e.g., Vibrio cholerae and Salmonella Typhimurium).  

You must have a good working knowledge of standard molecular biology and biochemistry techniques (including DNA cloning, protein production and purification) and show proficiency in microbiology and basic microscopy methods. Experience in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies is also a must, especially Tn-seq for high throughput screening of mutant libraries.

You must have evidence of a strong relevant research output, as evidenced by first authorship on publications presenting ground-breaking new research findings in bacterial cell wall biology and anoxic metabolism.

Desirable qualifications: It will be very positively valued the experience in studying regulation of anaerobic metabolism in rhizobia bacteria such as nitrate respiration and/or fermentation in vitro and during infection. Knowledge of molecular bacteriology and gastrointestinal pathogens is an advantage as is evidence of productive work in an interdisciplinary environment. Awareness of methods to manipulate bacteria under anoxic or hypoxic conditions is highly desirable.                      


The application should include:

·  A personal cover letter explaining why you are interested in the position, how you can contribute to the project and in which direction you may want to develop it (no more than one A4 page).

·  A curriculum vitae that documents academic education and past and previous employments.

·  Your publication list, including a brief description of your contribution to your most important papers.

·  Copy of PhD certificate.

·  Names and contact details with e-mail addresses of two to three academic references.

·  Other relevant documentation you wish to include in support of your application.

More about us

For further information, contact Felipe Cava, [email protected] .  For more information about the Department of Molecular Biology, please visit our website Department of Molecular Biology (

We are looking forward to receiving your application!

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