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Postdoc position "cancer/electrical interface" project at Warwick, UK

Soyer group (University of Warwick, Warwick, UK) 

Application details on group webpage: 

Closing date: 20 Nov 2018 (!) 

This project aims to influence cancer cells’ metabolism through electrodes poised at specific potentials. Cancer cells display significantly altered metabolism, in particular regarding their respiration and fermentation pathways [1,2]. Our hypothesis is that these changes in metabolism are caused by redox imbalances of the cells, and can therefore be understood or controlled through electrode-based perturbations of cellular redox systems. 

This type of interfacing of metabolism via electrodes has been shown possible in case of microbes [3] and is utilized both to influence metabolism (electrosynthesis) and for electricity generation (e.g. microbial fuel cells). In particular, it has been shown that electrodes can act as an extension of cellular redox reactions, providing/drawing electrons into/from metabolism [4,5]. In this project, we will attempt to develop this approach for cancer cells by utilizing both direct and indirect electron transfer between cells and electrodes. 

To deliver this project, we are looking to recruit motivated individuals, with combined theoretical and experimental backgrounds, who can work as a team. We will be modelling the impact of perturbing redox-based control points in cancer metabolism and experimentally implement such perturbations by developing cell-electrode interfacing systems. After an initial stage of method development with yeast cells, we will focus on cancer cell lines. 

Candidates are expected to have a theoretical/experimental education in biology, chemistry, physics, or engineering, and a relevant PhD experience. Skills in any, or all, of the following topics would be preferential: computational/biophysical modelling, bioelectrochemical system design and measurements, mammalian cell biology, and metabolic measurements. 

1. Hsu, P. P., & Sabatini, D. M. (2008). Cancer cell metabolism: Warburg and beyond. Cell, 134(5), 703–707. 
2. Diaz-ruiz, R., Uribe-carvajal, S., Devin, A., & Rigoulet, M. (2009). Biochimica et Biophysica Acta Tumor cell energy metabolism and its common features with yeast metabolism, 1796(2), 
3. Zerfaß, C., Chen, J., & Soyer, O. S. (2018). Engineering microbial communities using thermodynamic principles and electrical interfaces. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 50, 121–127. 
4. Kato, S. (2015). Biotechnological Aspects of Microbial Extracellular Electron Transfer. Microbes Environ, 30(2), 133–139. 5. Rawson, F. J., Downard, A. J., & Baronian, K. H. (2014). Electrochemical detection of intracellular and cell membrane redox systems in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Scientific Reports, 4, 1–9. 

Additional relevant info on University of Warwick: