The Mackinder Lab is looking to recruit a highly motivated, creative and talented postdoc to perform a pivotal role on a BBSRC/NSF funded project in the Department of Biology, University of York, UK.

The project titled: “A synthetic pyrenoid to guide the engineering of enhanced crops” is an international collaboration involving the University of York, University of Edinburgh and Princeton University that aims to build a synthetic in vitro CO2 uptake mechanism to help guide ongoing engineering efforts to improve photosynthetic performance in crops.

Photosynthesis drives life on Earth. However, the passive diffusion of CO2 from the surrounding environment to Rubisco’s active site can limit photosynthesis. To overcome this, algae evolved CO2-concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) to concentrate CO2 in the proximity of Rubisco resulting in increased photosynthetic rates. Critical to CCM function is biomolecular condensation of Rubisco into a liquid-liquid phase separated organelle called the pyrenoid.

The Mackinder lab focuses on the discovery, characterization and synthetic assembly of CCM components in diverse algae. Recent discoveries (Mackinder et al. 2016, PNAS 113:5958–5963; Mackinder et al. 2017, Cell 171:133-147; Freeman Rosenzweig et al. 2017, Cell 171:148-162; Meyer et al. 2020, Science Advances 6:eabd2408; Lau et al. 2023, Plant Cell 35:3260–3279) are guiding pyrenoid-based  CCMs in plants (Atkinson et al. 2020, Nature Comms 11:6303), with the ultimate goal to improve crop yields. 


Within the project, you will be the lead on assembling a synthetic CCM in vitro. You will design, build and test synthetic pyrenoid components. You will attach phase separated Rubisco droplets to liposomes and test assemblies, you will use established assays to monitor bicarbonate transport across membranes and determine Rubisco activity.

You will interact closely with algal cell biologists (York and Princeton), cellular modellers (Princeton) and plant engineers (Edinburgh) and have opportunities to visit the University of Edinburgh and Princeton University to develop new skills.

You will have a lead role, with guidance and supervision from senior colleagues. In addition, you will assist in the identification and development of potential areas of research, the development of proposals for independent or collaborative research projects, and the writing of research papers for publication.

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

You will have an interest in the subject matter of the project and possess a relevant PhD in the field of molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, membrane biology, biophysics or a related subject. You will have experience in a range of molecular, biochemical and data analysis techniques including; cloning, protein biochemistry, confocal microscopy and complex data handling.

Prior experience working on membrane transport processes and with proteo-liposomes is desirable. You will have attention to detail, a commitment to performing high quality research and a collaborative ethos with a willingness to work positively and proactively with colleagues in other departments and institutions.

You will have the ability to efficiently meet deadlines and have the initiative to plan research programmes. Excellent communication skills are essential and you should be keen to develop project/team leadership skills.

Interview date: TBD

For informal enquiries: Please contact Luke Mackinder ( For an alternative contact, please email

The University strives to be diverse and inclusive  – a place where we can ALL be ourselves.

We particularly encourage applications from people who identify as Black, Asian or from a Minority Ethnic background, who are underrepresented at the University. 

We offer family friendly, flexible working arrangements, with forums and inclusive facilities to support our staff. Equality at York

Job Description (12655).pdf

Apply now

Salary: £36,024 – £44,263 per year

Apply by: 16/11/2023

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