Santa Fe Institute Collaboration Platform

Thermodynamics of Computation

Postdoc in stochastic thermodynamics of molecular machines

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Start date: September 1, 2020

Active: Yes

Position: Physicist Postdoctoral Fellow

Organization: Simon Fraser University

Description: I seek to hire a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow to work on theoretical and computational biophysics as part of my research group in the Physics Department at Simon Fraser University. My interdisciplinary research group combines approaches from statistical physics, molecular biophysics, and information theory to elucidate the physical limits placed on biological systems by their operational imperatives: performing productive functions rapidly while driven by strong gradients, using fluctuation-dominated microscopic objects of low copy number in a cell at ambient temperature. From these constraints we identify fundamental design principles for effective biological function, with special emphasis on transduction of energy and information. Our theoretical flights of fancy are tethered to reality through close collaborations with experimentalists at SFU, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, Caltech, and Tohoku. Further information about my research group is available at: The postdoctoral position will focus on developing theory and numerical simulation for the design, analysis, and interpretation of experiments probing the fundamentals of effective molecular-scale energy transduction, both within model biophysical systems and molecular machines. Within this broad research thrust there is ample freedom to pursue particular areas of personal scientific interest. Postdoctoral fellows in my diverse and welcoming group mentor grad students and undergrads, play important (often leadership) roles in other trainees’ research projects, and are embedded in the intellectually stimulating and interactive biophysics community within SFU Physics, with close ties to the Chemistry, Molecular Biology/Biochemistry, Computer Science, and Mathematics departments. The endless all-season outdoors opportunities, mind-blowingly diverse and delicious food, and mild weather make Vancouver an enviable place to call home; slightly more objectively, it makes virtually every top-10 list of the most livable cities in the world. The ideal candidate would have experience with statistical mechanics and computer programming, and a PhD in a relevant field (broadly construed: physics, biophysics, or relevant areas of chemistry, engineering, applied math, statistics, computer science, etc). But most important is intellectual curiosity, enthusiasm for research in this area, and an excellent track record in previous projects. Initial appointment is for 1 year; extension to 2 years or longer is possible, based on mutual agreement. Interested candidates should send to dsivak AT a cover letter, detailed CV (including publication list and contact information for 3 references), and undergraduate and graduate transcripts (unofficial are fine). Start date is flexible, but the sooner the better. I am committed to ensuring that no individual is denied access to employment opportunities for reasons unrelated to ability or qualifications. Consistent with this principle, I will advance the interests of underrepresented members of the work force, specifically Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, and women; embrace gender and sexual diversity; ensure that equal opportunity is afforded to all who seek to join my group; and strive to ensure fair and equitable practices. Thus, candidates who belong to underrepresented groups in Physics are particularly welcome to apply.

Job categories: Post-doc

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