3-year postdoctoral research associate position in Ultrafast Dynamics of Photoactive Proteins
A postdoctoral research associate position in experimental studies of ultrafast photobiology is available in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol, supported by the BBSRC Grant BB/W003449/1, Creating and comprehending the circuitry of life: precise biomolecular design of multi-centre redox enzymes for a synthetic metabolism.  The project is a collaboration between Dr Tom Oliver, Prof Ross Anderson, Prof Adrian Mulholland, Dr Paul Curnow (University of Bristol), Prof Julea Butt (UEA), Dr Bruce Lichtenstein (Portsmouth) and Dr Amandine Marechal (UCL).

The multidisciplinary project aims to design, synthesise and characterise (using novel ultrafast spectroscopies) modular de novo proteins capable of broadband solar energy capture to drive redox catalysis. [1-3] This approach will provide an unprecedented framework to better understand and exploit the exceptional properties of natural energy and electron conducting proteins.

The research associate will work on the following objectives: (i) contribute to the assembly and characterisation of spectrometers using a new commercial ultrafast laser system to probe photoinduced dynamics spanning 100 femtoseconds to 1 millisecond; (ii) determine the rates of photoinduced electron transfer in designer proteins; (iii) elucidate the ultrafast electronic energy transfer pathways in specially tailored photoactive proteins using 2D electronic spectroscopy. [4]

You will undertake ultrafast laser laboratory-based studies in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol- one of the top ranked Chemistry departments in the UK (1st in REF2021). You will collaborate closely with the multidisciplinary consortium of chemists, biochemists and computational chemists. You will contribute to the construction of transient absorption and transient infrared experiments using a commercial dual-amplified ultrafast laser system and optical parametric amplifiers to probe dynamics between 100 fs and 1 ms.  You will also use an established 2D electronic spectroscopy experiment to monitor ultrafast energy transfer. The rate constants determined from ultrafast studies for energy and electron transfer will be used to identify bottlenecks or potential deficiencies in the synthetic proteins and provide critical feedback in the iterative protein design process. Other techniques will include: 2D electronic-vibrational spectroscopy [5] and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy. [6]

The position would suit a talented and motivated early career researcher with a PhD in Physical Chemistry or Physics and experience with ultrafast laser spectroscopy. The following skills and experience are advantageous for the role: use of ultrafast laser amplifiers and optical parametric amplifiers; knowledge of non-linear optics; development of Labview control software; experience with analysis of time-resolved spectra; handling of liquid samples; ability to communicate complex information clearly and accurately in English, both in written and oral forms; ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Further details of the BBSRC grant can be found here:, more information about the wider laser group at Bristol can be found at

The School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion and we strongly encourage applications from all backgrounds, especially those historically underrepresented in scientific research. The School holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and it provides mentorship and a collegial and inclusive working environment for all staff.

All informal enquiries should be directed to Tom. Formal applications, and a detailed job description can be found here.

[1] H.A. Bunzel, J.A. Smith, T.A.A. Oliver, M.R. Jones, A.J. Mulholland and J.L.R. Anderson, bioRxivdoi: 10.1101/2022.12.20.521207 (2022).
[2] G.H. Hutchins, C.E.M. Noble, H. Blackburn, B.J. Hardy, C. Landau, A.E. Parnell, S. Yadav, C. Williams, P.R. Race, A.S.F. Oliveira, M.P. Crump, C. Berger-Schaffitzel, A.J. Mulholland, J.L.R. Anderson, bioRxiv: 10.1101/2020.09.24.311514 (2020).
[3] B.J. Hardy, A. Martin Hermosilla, D.K. Chinthapalli, C.V. Robinson, J.L.R. Anderson, P. Curnow, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 120 (16) e2300137120 (2023). doi: 10.1073/pnas.2300137120
[4] T.A.A. Oliver, R. Soc. Open Sci. Invited Review, 5, 171425 (2018). doi: 10.1098/rsos.171425
[5] T.A.A. Oliver, N.H.C. Lewis and G.R. Fleming, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA111 10061 (2014). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1409207111
[6] G. Amoruso, J. Liu, D.W. Polak, K. Tiwari, M.R. Jones and T.A.A. Oliver, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 12, 5448−5455 (2021) doi: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c01407

PhD Studentships
We are always seeking highly motivated PhD students to join our research group. There are various projects and funding sources that can be found for the right candidate. To discuss this further, contact Tom via email. Formal applications can be made here.