Research Associate in Bioengineering / Materials Science


Bacterial cellulose (BC) has found applications in the biomedical, food, and cosmetics industries. Gluconacetobacter xylinus has been the model organism for BC biosynthesis. The cellulose produced is of high purity and crystallinity compared to those isolated from wood pulp due to the absence of lignin and hemicellulose. Despite the natural production capacity and the biogenesis knowledge, BC is produced in relatively low quantity and there has been no reported systematic engineering of cellulose production by G. xylinus. We hypothesize that through rational engineering of G. xylinus, the properties of the cellulose by reverse and forward engineering of the underlying regulatory network as well as controlling the secretion and self-assembly of the cellulose. In this project, our goal is to systematically rewire the natural production cascade to enhance BC production capacity and the self-assembly of microfibrils/nanofibers for the synthesis of tailor-made and customizable cellulose.

The approach will involve a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional team of bioengineer, geneticist, material scientist, and biochemist. The genetic toolkits, knowledge on the secretion system and microfibril/nanofiber assembly, as well as the analytical and physicochemical characterization tools will provide groundwork for future developments of a synthetic host that is capable of customizable cellulose production.

Job Responsibilities:

  • The Research Associate (RA) will be responsible for development of enzyme library and characterization of bacterial cellulose (BC). BC will be produced by simple fermentation processes.
  • The RA will perform cloning, genetic engineering of the bacteria, and characterize the morphology and mechanical properties of the BC produced in the project.
  • The RA will work with a Research Fellow (RF) in obtaining data and contribute to the manuscripts.
  • The first paper is expected to be submitted within 1 year of joining.
  • He/She will guide 3-4 undergraduate students.

Job Requirements:

  • Master of Science degree in Bioengineering / Materials science
  • 2-3 years of working experience in molecular biology and some materials characterizations either as a student or a full-time researcher.
  • Molecular biology technique is a must
  • Working experience in basic materials characterizations (microscopy, TEM, SEM, FTIR).
  • Experience in operating micro Instron instrument is preferred.
  • Basic knowledge in carbohydrate (cellulose) chemistry is preferred.
  • Highly motivated and dedicated to the development of the project.
  • Track record of publications is an advantage.
  • Excellent laboratory, planning, and leadership skills.
  • Ability to integrate well into a team of researchers with different backgrounds, and the ability to learn new techniques.

Application  Procedure:

Interested applicants please send your resume to Assoc Prof Sierin Lim via

Please attach your full CV, with the names and contacts (including email addresses) of 2 character referees, and all relevant academic certificates.

We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be notified.