First listed on: 21 February 2023

CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Insect Molecular Biology and Biochemistry


Acknowledgement of Country

CSIRO acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land, sea and waters, of the area that we live and work on across Australia. We acknowledge their continuing connection to their culture and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. View our vision towards reconciliation

The Opportunity

  • Do you have a PhD in enzymology, biochemistry, protein chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology or analytical chemistry?
  • Access state-of-the-art high throughput technologies and bioinformatics techniques in the field of systems biology and environmental omics
  • Great opportunity to work across multiple CSIRO laboratories in this exciting 3-year postdoctoral role

CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years of relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of future leaders of the innovation system.

Wax moth larvae are known to eat polyethylene, the most heavily used but most recalcitrant type of plastic. This project aims to elucidate the catabolic pathway of polyethylene degradation in wax moth, clone and biochemically characterize the cognate gene-enzyme systems and transfer them to black soldier fly-based bioremediation/composting systems.

Within the team, there is expertise in insect biology, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics so candidates with skills across the spectrum wet laboratory-based enzymology, biochemistry, protein chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology and analytical chemistry, will be considered. Of particular interest are candidates with experience in novel gene-enzyme discovery from insects and their genetic modification.

The project on offer is transdisciplinary in nature and requires the application of knowledge and skills from several specialist scientific areas (enzymology, biochemistry, protein chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology and analytical chemistry). The CERC Fellow will have the opportunity to work across multiple CSIRO laboratories, in addition to working at collaborator institutions (national and international). This will ensure the CERC Fellow has access to state-of-the-art high throughput technologies and bioinformatics techniques in the field of systems biology and environmental omics. This will help broaden the CERC Fellow’s experiences and develop deeper professional networks. The collaborative nature of the project provides a unique opportunity for the CERC Fellow to become engaged with various scientific, cultural and organizational structures, enabling them to become a truly cross-disciplinary leader. 

Your duties will include:

  • Designing and carrying out wet laboratory-based experiments on wax moth larvae to elucidate the metabolic pathways of polyethylene degradation and cognate gene-enzyme systems.
  • Cloning and heterologously expressing the polyethylene degradation genes from wax moth larvae into suitable expression systems.
  • Biochemical and enzymatic characterisation of heterologously expressed polyethylene degrading genes.
  • Transferring polyethylene degrading genes into black soldier fly and test their efficacy for (micro)-plastic degradation.
  • Working in close collaboration with emerging Australian black soldier fly industries as and when required.

Location: Black Mountain, Canberra, ACT
Salary: AU$92k - AU$101k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure: Specified term of 3 years
Reference: 90784

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as enzymology, biochemistry, protein chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology or analytical chemistry. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or full-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Demonstrated experience in gene-enzyme discovery, heterologous gene expression, enzyme purification and their biochemical characterization. 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and an ability to interact socially and scientifically with other postdoctoral scientists and researchers in the laboratory and with collaborators in various networks. 
  • The ability to represent the research team effectively internally and externally, including the presentation of research outcomes at national and international conferences.
  • The ability to work effectively as part of a multi-disciplinary, regionally dispersed research team, plus the motivation and discipline to carry out autonomous research.

For full details about this role please view the Position Description


Applications for this position are open to all candidates – Australian/New Zealand Citizens, Australian Permanent Residents, or you must either hold, or be able to obtain, a valid working visa (visa sponsorship may be offered to the successful candidate if required).

Appointment to this role is subject to provision of a national police check and may be subject to other security/medical/character requirements.

Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. 

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit people representing the diversity across our society, and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. 


At CSIRO Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 

CSIRO is committed to values-based leadership to inspire performance and unlock the potential of our people.

Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

How to Apply

Please apply on-line and provide a cover letter and CV that best demonstrate your motivation and ability to meet the requirements of this role.

Applications Close

22 March 2023, 11:00pm AEDT

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