CSIRO Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship in Precision Fermentation of Functional Food Proteins

Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Melbourne, Australia

Job posting number: #7085064 (Ref:cj_74631)

Posted: September 10, 2021

Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Job Description

The Opportunity


  • Do you have a PhD in Synthetic Biology, Metabolic Engineering, Precision Fermentation or a related area?
  • Be part of a project utilising cutting age synthetic biology techniques for metabolic engineering of yeast
  • An exciting postdoctoral opportunity to be part of a multi-disciplinary team of world-class experts


CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years of relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of future leaders of the innovation system.


We are thrilled to be able to deliver on the commitment we made in our strategy to invest in frontier science with the new CSIRO Agriculture & Food Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme. The word Winanga-y (pronounced win-na-gnay) is a cultural asset gifted by the Gomeroi Nation in Myall Vale to CSIRO's Agriculture and Food Business Unit to name the new Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme. Winanga-y means to understand, know, remember, and think.


This role provides an exciting opportunity for a new CERC Postdoctoral Fellow to develop a precision fermentation platform for sustainable and cost effective manufacture of high value functional proteins for plant-based meat and seafood analogues inspired by natural ingredients and guided by functionality and processing outcomes. The project involves gene discovery and posttranslational modification strategies for target proteins, use cutting age synthetic biology techniques for metabolic engineering of yeast for heterologous expression of target proteins at high yield guided by high throughput multi-omics and functional characterisation of the recombinant proteins in a ‘Design-Build-Test-Learn’ Synbio approach.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will be jointly supervised by Netsanet Shiferaw Terefe (Ag&Food, Food program) and Thomas Vanhercke (CSIRO Agriculture & Food, Traits). The Fellow will also be mentored by a multi-disciplinary supervisory team consisting of world-class experts in synthetic biology, food science, fermentation technology and downstream processing from two CSIRO business units. In addition to the supervisors, the Fellow will have the opportunity to interact with other researchers in CSIRO (Synthetic biology Future Science Platform, Bioanalytic and proteomics experts, Future Protein Mission) and outside CSIRO (Universities and Research institutes) to broaden his/her scientific skills and networks.


Your duties will include:

  • Designing and conducting metabolic engineering experiments to develop engineered host organism for the extracellular production of target proteins and evaluation of the performance of recombinant strains through gene expression and LCMS proteomics analyses.
  • Conducting laboratory fermentation experiments with selected recombinant strains to evaluate yield, structure and functionality of target heterologous proteins to guide the refinement of the metabolic engineering strategy.
  • Evaluating the scalability of the fermentation process with the engineered host organism by conducting pilot-scale fermentation process to produce prototype proteins and formulated products for industry engagement.
  • Writing scientific papers for publication in peer reviewed journals, preparing documentation for IP capture, delivering presentations at industry workshops and scientific conferences, and participating in industry engagements and commercialisation activities.

Location: Werribee, Victoria

Salary: AU$88k - AU$96k plus up to 15.4% superannuation

Tenure: Specified term of 3 years

Reference:  74631

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline, such as Synthetic Biology, Metabolic Engineering or Precision Fermentation. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or part-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Experience in heterologous expression of proteins in yeast.
  • Experience in posttranslational modification of proteins
  • High level written and oral communication skills with the ability to represent the research team effectively internally and externally, including the presentation of research outcomes at national and international conferences.
  • A sound history of publication in peer reviewed journals and/or authorship of scientific papers, reports, grant applications or patents.



For full details about this role please view the Position Description


To be eligible to for role, you must be an Australian/New Zealand Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or Australian temporary resident currently residing in Australia and be able to commence in the role by December 2021/January 2022.

The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent.


Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. 

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit people representing the diversity across our society, and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. 


At CSIRO Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 

Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

How to Apply

Please apply on-line and provide a cover letter and CV that best demonstrate your motivation and ability to meet the requirements of this role.

Applications Close

10 October 2021, 11:00pm AEDT

We’re working hard to build a safe and welcoming culture where people can bring their whole selves to work. Valuing and enabling difference empowers our people, unlocking their potential to innovate and shape the future for our customers, all Australians and the world. We do the extraordinary every day. We innovate for tomorrow and help improve today. We're the people that stay awake solving the world’s big questions. This is true of our science and of our people. Our mission is to create benefit for Australia through impactful science and innovation but we know that that's not possible without an inclusive and diverse culture. We're working hard to recruit diverse people and ensure all our people feel supported to do their best work and empowered to let their ideas flourish.

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