Join Us

We are recruiting scientists at all levels.

Graduate Students: UO graduate students should apply for admission through the Biology department, Chemistry department, or the Institute of Molecular Biology. Send Calin an email to discuss rotation projects and other research opportunities. OHSU students should apply through the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Postdocs: See the ad below. Please email Calin describing your research interests and provide a copy of your CV.

Undergraduates: Please email Calin a statement of interest. You should also have a look at the Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholars program.

Research Assistants: See the ad below. Please email Calin describing your research interests and provide a copy of your CV.

Advertised Openings

Research Assistant / Lab Manager - Jan. 2020

We seek an individual who is self-motivated and has excellent organizational, managerial, and communication skills to oversee technical and business aspects of the Plesa lab on a daily basis and to participate in a variety of new and ongoing research in the lab as directed. This position will focus on the development and optimization of gene synthesis technology as well as repurposing biological systems for bioengineering applications. The candidate will run both in-vitro and in-vivo protocols to build and characterize gene libraries, analyze data, prepare reports, and present the findings. Duties will also include assisting with laboratory management and helping to train other lab members.

For more information and to apply, plese see this link:

Postdoc in Multiplexed Protein Technologies - Oct. 2019

Position Summary
Calin Plesa’s research group is seeking up to two postdoctoral scholars to join the lab. The lab focuses on accelerating the pace at which we understand and engineer biological systems, particularly proteins. We are interested in uncovering the rules for the engineering of novel protein function, particularly in the areas of sensing and interfacing with engineering. Towards this end, we develop new technologies for gene synthesis, multiplex functional assays, in-vivo mutagenesis, and genotype-phenotype linkages. These allow us to both access the huge sequence diversity present in natural systems as well as carry out testing of rationally designed hypotheses encoded onto DNA at much larger scales than previously possible. Using these approaches, we aim to quickly characterize and engineer entire protein families, rather than focusing on individual proteins. Our work is highly-interdisciplinary and touches on aspects from many fields including bioengineering, protein engineering, biochemistry, synthetic biology, molecular biology, microbiology, structural biology, genetics, bioinformatics, and quantitative biology. These positions will focus on the development of novel methods for large-scale protein engineering and characterization. Potential projects may include:

  • protein engineering of receptor histidine kinases for biosensing applications
  • development of novel gene synthesis methods for building large gene libraries
  • development of new multiplex functional assays
  • repurposing phage proteins for bioengineering applications
  • building predictive models of sequence-function relationships
  • large scale characterization of antibiotic target proteins

The specific project will be tailored to the interests and skills of selected candidates. Essential responsibilities will include designing and conducting experiments, interpreting data, writing manuscripts, writing research proposals, assembling and delivering research presentations locally and nationally, assisting and training other researchers in the laboratory and maintaining laboratory equipment. This position will work closely with other lab researchers (students, postdocs, and technicians) and with Dr. Plesa. The position will be given a level of independence depending on the level of experience, with the goal of becoming a fully independent researcher by the end of their term as guided by a formal mentoring plan.

Special Instructions to Applicants
Please submit a cover letter, CV and contact information for three professional references. Please apply at this link:
Feel free to contact Calin to discuss potential projects prior to applying.

Minimum Requirements
Applicants must have a PhD in bioengineering, biochemistry, biology, biophysics, physics, chemistry, chemical engineering or related disciplines. The ideal candidate would have strong quantitative skills and a strong interest in developing new technologies to advance protein science.

Professional Competencies
Candidates should have strong skills in the following areas:

  • molecular biology techniques (cloning, PCR, DNA extraction, gel electrophoresis);
  • cell culture (E. coli, yeast);
  • excellent organizational, written and verbal communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications
Experience in some of the following areas:

  • multiplexed assays probing sequence-function relationships (deep mutational scanning, MPRAs,…)
  • sequence based analysis of proteins (phylogenetic tree generation, multiple sequence alignment, BLAST, pfam, evolutionary couplings analysis, etc…)
  • bioinformatic analysis of next-gen sequencing data (python, R, tidyverse, awk, BBTools, etc…)
  • data visualization (ggplot, plotnine,…)
  • structure based protein analysis (ROSETTA, UCSF Chimera, pymol,…)
  • genome engineering
  • protein biochemistry
  • protein engineering
  • protein biophysics
  • protein expression
  • machine learning
  • directed evolution
  • structural biology techniques