Genomics and Cell Biology: May 2011

Applications are invited for an experienced research scientist to join NASA Ames in
defining the field of Space Synthetic Biology. Applications are being accepted through Friday, May 27, 2011.

Building on decades of cutting edge scientific achievements, NASA Ames Research Center is creating a new, interdisciplinary, research effort to use synthetic biology as an enabling technology to explore our solar system.

As a recognized expert and leader, you will establish a Center for Space Synthetic Biology and play a key role in defining the field. You will direct start-up funds (subject to appropriation) intended to fund your salary, lab equipment, graduate students, and post-doctoral students, and grow research capabilities to build this center into a world-renowned establishment. You will recruit and lead research teams, compete for grants, and collaborate with others within and outside of NASA. You will provide strategic consulting to NASA management in defining the research directions and priorities for applying Synthetic Biology to achieve the goals and objectives of the Agency. Your research strategy and partnerships will leverage investments in research and technology by industry, foundations, universities, and other agencies. You will serve as a key agency interface to the Synthetic Biology community to further NASA's programmatic goals and objectives.

The Center for Space Synthetic Biology at NASA Ames Research center is being created to harness biology in reliable, robust, engineered systems to support NASA's exploration and science missions, to improve life on Earth, and to help shape NASA's future. With the promise of engineered biology on Earth within reach, NASA's Center for Space Synthetic Biology aims to develop advanced concepts for Synthetic Biology applications in space.

Your research will create advances in one or more of the following areas: advanced materials; biological life support and in situ resource utilization; radiation and gravitational biology countermeasures; human health; advanced sensing; food production; fuel production; thermal management; understanding the origins and evolution of life and possible alternative biochemistries, physical limits and evolution of organic life. Useful skills include molecular dynamics simulations of biological systems, multi-scale modeling and coarse-graining techniques, modeling of metabolism and methods of bioinformatics. Willingness to broaden scientific interests to the analysis of genomic and metabolic data from future biologically oriented missions and ground based studies is desired.

At NASA, your research could change the world and enable exploration of new ones.

US Citizenship is required.

Interested applicants should apply directly to USAJobs to vacancy number AR11B0066 at

A two-day workshop using NAI remote communications tools will be held on May 12th and 13th, 2011. Real-time participation requires only an internet connection and is available to interested scientists from around the world. More details, including connection and registration information, is available at the meeting website given below.


Over the past 4 billion years, the Earth and its biosphere have undergone a series of linked transitions in redox state, biochemical plasticity, and biological diversity. In order to study this evolution, diverse scientific disciplines (including inorganic and organic geochemistry, microbiology, and genomics) must overcome traditional disciplinary barriers and integrate their tools and perspectives. In recent years, numerous technological advances have resulted in rapid advances in each of these fields. One of the most striking has been the development of cheaper and more efficient sequencing technologies, along with attendant advances in genetics and the computational techniques to leverage the resulting data. To facilitate interactions between paleobiologists and scientists using the latest techniques in molecular biology and genomics, a symposium will be held at the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego, California. The primary objective is the exchange of knowledge and the development of a dialog that might yield cutting-edge ideas for future work.

Confirmed Speakers

* Tim Lyons, University of California, Riverside
* Gordon Love, University of California, Riverside
* James Lake, University of California, Los Angeles
* Gustavo Caetano-Anolles, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
* Lawrence David, Harvard University
* Trinity Hamilton, Montana State University
* Ziming Zhao, Georgia Tech
* Clyde Hutchison, J. Craig Venter Institute
* Kate Freeman, Pennsylvania State University
* Dave Doughty, California Institute of Technology
* Jason Raymond, Arizona State University
* Andrew Allen, J. Craig Venter Institute
* Jack Bailey, University of Minnesota
* Frank Stewart, Georgia Tech

The workshop will consist of talks and discussion. Each presentation will allow ample time for questions and answers afterwards. We encourage researchers to attend in real time to engage in what we expect will be a lively exchange of ideas during the workshop.

Workshop Organizing Committee

* Chris Dupont, J. Craig Venter Institute
* Ariel Anbar, Arizona State University
* John Peters, Montana State University

For more information and participation instructions, visit: