Job Opening: Assistant Project Scientist in the McDonald-Nandi Laboratory

uc davis chemcial engineering project scientist oppoprtunity

A research position for a Project Scientist is immediately available at the McDonald-Nandi laboratory, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Davis to work on the projects that need to transgenically/transiently express, measure, and characterize pharmaceutical proteins in lettuce and Nicotiana benthamiana. The successful candidates should have outstanding and appropriate research experience and should provide evidence of effective and innovative research in the areas listed below. The duration of this position is initially for one year and extendable depending on performance and availability of funding.

Specific tasks include but are not limited to:
  • Grow (preferably hydroponically) and maintain healthy lettuce and Nicotiana benthamiana plants.
  • Perform genetic infiltration and bombardment of target genes to produce both transgenic plants and transient expression in plants/leaves. Design of experiments to optimize speed of production, quantitative analyses and quality of recombinant proteins made in plants.
  • Grow selected transgenic lettuce lines expressing target proteins both in greenhouse and controlled environmental facilities.
  • Perform appropriate assays (ELISA, Western blots, and activity) to measure specific productivity of target recombinant proteins.
  • Generate a sufficient amount of viable seeds and leaves for purification and further characterization of the target recombinant proteins in crude extract or after purification (e.g. SDS-PAGE, Western, ELISA, amino acid sequence, activity assay, CD analysis, etc.).
  • Optimization of extraction and purification (>95%) of target molecules using centrifugation, TFF and AKTA systems and standardization of the protocols for scalability.
  • Supervise undergraduate and graduate students working on related projects in the laboratory.
  • Interface with collaborators within the university and outside of the university to further research objectives.
  • Prepare monthly research update presentations, drafts of journal publications, maintain laboratory notebooks and data, identify related research and fellowship funding opportunities, contribute to proposals, present research findings at conferences and internal meetings.
Required qualification and skill:

Candidates must have a Ph.D. degree in Biochemical/Chemical engineering, Molecular Biotechnology, Plant Biotechnology, or other related disciplines with skills in lettuce plant growth, protein purification, and characterization for the above-mentioned tasks. Capable of designing and conducting experiments independently, novel hypothesis testing, troubleshooting, data analyses, presentation and interpretation with excellent oral and written communication skills as well as teamwork and lab safety and biosafety skills. The selected researcher also expected to participate in seminars, weekly lab meetings, preparation of presentations, posters, reports, and publications.  UC Davis hold all rights for patenting or publishing any research data or outcomes and the researcher must adhere to all confidentiality, maintenance and archiving of lab data and records, lab safety, biological use authorization, and laboratory-specific requirements.

It is expected that the researcher will be working closely with Professors Somen Nandi and Karen McDonald as well as all members of McDonald-Nandi lab group.

About UC Davis

UC Davis recognizes the necessity of supporting faculty with efforts to integrate work, family and other work-life considerations. To recruit and retain the best faculty, the campus sponsors a Work Life Program that provides programs and services that support faculty as they strive to honor their commitments to work, home and community. Please visit

Visit for our on-line application procedure and requirements. The position is open until filled; but to assure full consideration, applications should be submitted no later than 30 days of publication of this advertisement, for a start date as soon as possible/situation permits.

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community dedicated to the advancement, application, and transmission of knowledge and creative endeavors through academic excellence, where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in a safe and secure environment, free of violence, harassment, discrimination, exploitation, or intimidation. With this commitment, UC Davis requires all candidates to complete, sign, and upload the form entitled “Authorization to Release Information” into RECRUIT as part of their application. If the candidate does not include the signed authorization with the application materials, the application will be considered incomplete, and as with any incomplete application, will not receive further consideration.

We strongly recommend that all candidates visit our website dedicated to this search for additional information about how their application materials, including their Statement of Contributions to Diversity, will be used by the Search Committee in our screening and review process. Visit

UC Davis is an affirmative action / equal opportunity employer, and is dedicated to recruiting a diverse faculty community. We welcome all qualified applicants to apply, including women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.