XFEL Biophysics Postdoctoral Researcher

Job #11577

The Department of Physics at Arizona State University (ASU) seeks applicants for 2 postdoctoral researcher positions for the development of algorithms for biological X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) data, both in crystallography and solution scattering. The successful applicants will become part of an interdisciplinary team at ASU working on solving important biological questions using XFELs. This is a two-year Postdoctoral appointment with the possibility of extension to a maximum of three years. 



Major advances in structural biology have often resulted from novel approaches to data collection and analysis. Historically, increasingly powerful X-ray sources led to great leaps in the ability to obtain information about structures of biomolecules, which is critically related to the molecules' biological function. Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX), a novel extension of crystallography making use of the extreme flux and ultra-short duration of XFEL pulses, has produced new insights into important biological questions over the last 5+ years. XFEL experiments with biological targets typically require very large volumes of data and thus a correspondingly large volume of scarce, precious protein, to obtain high-resolution molecular structures. Furthermore, XFEL facilities typically host only one or two experiments simultaneously, and only two XFELs presently serve the global user community, with a few more will be coming online in 2017. The number of biological targets that can be studied and the rate of discoveries can be dramatically increased through the development of innovative, advanced algorithms that reduce the number of necessary measurements and extract more information from the samples by fully exploiting the information content that is unique to XFEL diffraction, and by extending XFEL use to uncrystallized targets.

The objective of these postdoctoral researcher positions is to develop algorithms for improving data accuracy in SFX through modeling and optimization, develop novel phasing methods which exploit the full spatial coherence of the XFEL for 2D and 3D nanocrystals, and/or develop structure-determination methods that can be applied to samples that cannot be crystallized, through XFEL fast solution scattering.

Essential Functions of the position:

-        Develop improved algorithms and software for analyzing biological XFEL data (static and time-resolved crystallographic or solution scattering data).

-        Analyze and present results at conferences, workshops, seminars and technical meetings.

-        Document and publish research results in peer-reviewed scientific or technical journals.

-        Contribute to XFEL data analysis workshops organized by the Group

The successful candidates are expected to support the analysis of serial femtosecond crystallography experiments at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), SPring-8 Angstrom Compact free electron Laser (SACLA), the European X-Ray Laser (XFEL), or other applicable x-ray sources (XFELs or 3rd generation synchrotrons). This work is complementary to XFEL data analysis work in the NSF BioXFEL Science and Technology center (STC), and so the candidates will interact and collaborate with students and postdoctoral researchers working in the BioXFEL STC. They will report to the PI for the project.

Required Qualifications:

-        PhD in related field such as physics, biophysics, bioinformatics, structural biology, by time of appointment.

-        Experience in analysis of X-ray diffraction imaging or crystallographic data.

-        Demonstrated algorithm and/or code development.

-        Demonstrated publication record in peer-reviewed literature; and experience in presenting research results to large audiences.

-        Demonstrated ability to perform independent research and in a diverse team environment to achieve program goals in a timely fashion.

-        Demonstrated fundamental verbal and written communication skills (in English) necessary to work in a multidisciplinary team environment, author technical and scientific reports and publications, and deliver scientific presentations.

Desired Qualifications:

-        Experience with X-ray experiments at synchrotrons or XFELs related to high-resolution imaging or crystallography.

-        Experience and familiarity with coherent x-ray imaging experiments.

-        Experience with analyzing and solving protein structures.

-        Demonstrated programming experience in C and Python; experience with , web-interface development

-        Experience with parallel programming and large data sets.

To apply, please submit as a single PDF document: (1) a cover letter which includes the names and email addresses of three references, (2) a curriculum vitae with a list of publications.  PDF application materials should be submitted via the employment application portal found at https://physics.asu.edu/about/employment-opportunities

Applications will be reviewed beginning June 15, 2016; if not filled, every week thereafter until the search is closed.  A background check is required for employment. 

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Arizona State University is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.