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Creating new synthetic biology tools for genome engineering in bacteria


The new discipline of synthetic biology (SynBio) promises to transform every aspect of our lives, from medicines to agriculture to industry. The vision of SynBio is that organisms can be created in a predictable way from genetic building blocks, just like Lego. The reality does not always live up to this vision, due to the complexities of living systems. How can we better employ these powerful tools to provide the maximum benefits to society?


Associate Professor Nicholas Coleman.

Research location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program type



With the constantly decreasing costs of de novo DNA synthesis, new possibilities are constantly opening up for synthetic biology. It is becoming easier and easier to design genes, gene clusters, and even whole organisms from scratch. To accelerate this research, we see a need for new plasmid-based cloning tools that are compatible with modern methods (e.g. Golden Gate assembly) and take advantage of new discoveries in promoter systems, marker genes etc. We aim to develop versatile cloning plasmids which will enable gene expression and knockouts to be made in several key bacterial genera which are important as 'workhorse' organisms, and/or relevant to agriculture, industry or medicine, such as E.coli, Pseudomonas and Mycobacterium spp.

Additional information

This project will require a background in microbiology and molecular biology.

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

  • Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
  • Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
  • Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
  • Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
  • Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
  • Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
  • Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
  • Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
  • Hold a current scuba diving license;
  • Hold a current Working with Children Check;
  • Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2836

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