A postdoctoral fellow position is available to conduct microbiological studies proposed for two funded projects: (1) new polymer-drug conjugates to treat drug-resistant bacteria and (2) new polymeric materials to eliminate bacterial biofilms.
Project 1 - The goal of the project funded by the National Science Foundation is to develop new polymer-antibiotic conjugates that enable targeted delivery of antibiotic molecules to the binding sites in bacteria to overcome drug resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. This study involves the design and synthesis of the conjugates (polymer synthesis and characterization), evaluation of antibiotic efficacy (bacteria growth inhibition assay, time-killing assay, cytotoxicity assessment using human cells), and identification of the antimicrobial and delivery mechanisms (cell wall synthesis inhibition assay, cell membrane permeation assay, cell wall/membrane binding assay by microscopy using bacterial cells and spheroplasts).
Project 2 – The goal of the project supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research is to develop a new polymer-based strategy to control oral biofilms. We will develop pH-responsive synthetic polymers that can target acidic cariogenic biofilms and remove them by altering the mechanical properties of the biofilm matrix. This study involves the design and synthesis of polymers (polymer synthesis and characterization), evaluation of bactericidal efficacy and therapeutic index (bactericidal assay, in vitro cytotoxicity assay using human oral tissue cells), and in vitro investigations on eradication of acidogenic oral biofilms and changes in bacterial flora (biofilm viability assays, biofilm imaging by fluorescence microscopy, microbiome analysis).
Duties: The successful candidate will work with other lab members and collaborators to conduct microbiological studies proposed for these two projects. The candidate must be highly motivated with strong research capabilities and the ability to design and carry out experiments with a high level of independence. This individual will also assist the PI in training new lab members, manage lab equipment and inventories, and write research manuscripts and documents.
Qualifications: The candidate must have a PhD or equivalent degree in microbiology or molecular biology with experience relevant to these two projects. Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English are required. A strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals is desired.
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