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MCDB/CIRES COPLEY LAB Experimental Evolution Technician (PRA)

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The Copley lab in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences is seeking a technician to study the evolution of new enzymes and metabolic pathways.

Work in the Copley lab focuses on the evolutionary potential of promiscuous enzyme activities, the ubiquitous side activities of enzymes that normally serve other functions. Promiscuous activities can be recruited to serve new functions when a new enzyme enhances fitness. Further, multiple promiscuous enzymes can be patched together to form novel metabolic pathways. The evolution of new metabolic pathways by this mechanism has fueled metabolic innovation throughout the history of life on earth and continues in the present day in response to the introduction of anthropogenic chemicals into the environment. However, our understanding of the process by which new metabolic pathways evolve is limited. We generally don’t know the genome of the organism in which a new pathway evolved and the details of the environment in which it lived. We can’t know the promiscuous activities that were available in its proteome, and we have only a few hints about the mutations that enabled the assembly of an inefficient new pathway and subsequently improved its function.

The Copley lab uses experimental evolution to address these issues. We evolve microbes whose genome sequences are known under controlled environmental conditions. We identify mutations and determine how they improve fitness. We use biochemical, genetic, and ‘omics techniques to address the impact of mutations from the molecular level to the system level.

This is a 1-year position with the possibility of extension based on performance and the availability of funding.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

At CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, more than 800 environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at the Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, and solid Earth sciences. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Experimental evolution of bacteria.
  • Genomic editing of bacteria.
  • Maintaining an electronic notebook describing experimental protocols and results.
  • Participating in weekly meetings with the PI and other personnel working on the same project to share data and results.
  • Preparation of data for publication.
  • Presentation of experimental results in group meetings.

What You Should Know

  • This is a 1-year position with the possibility of extension based on performance and the availability of funding. 

What We Can Offer

  • We can offer a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package.
  • The hiring annual salary range for this position is $36,000 - $50,000. 


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be Statements

Be Empowered. Be Resourceful. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • B.A. or B.S. in biochemistry, molecular biology, or microbiology
  • At least two years of previous laboratory experience either during or after receipt of the undergraduate degree.

What You Will Need

  • The successful applicant will have a strong work ethic, excellent communication and organization skills, and an ability to learn new methodologies.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Experience with high-throughput sequencing, microbial genetics, and/or enzymology is desirable.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume or CV
  2. Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.
  3. List of contact information for 3 references who will be willing to write a confidential Letter of Recommendation for you. You don’t need to include letters of recommendation with your initial application. The search committee will request letters of recommendation at a later time If you are identified as a finalist for this role.
If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.

The position will be open until filled. Applications will be screened as they are received.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Shelley Copley

Posting Contact Email: