CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship Discovering 'Next Generation Lipids' for mRNA Vaccines

Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Melbourne, Australia

Job posting number: #7090455 (Ref:cj_80204)

Posted: December 10, 2021

Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Job Description

Acknowledgment 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


  • Are you interested in a CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship in the discovery of ‘Next Generation lipids’ for future mRNA vaccines?
  • Would you like to focus your research on the development of new cationic lipids for mRNA based vaccine formulations?
  • Take part in an exciting postdoctoral opportunity with access to state of the art biological testing facilities and be part of a diverse multidisciplinary team


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.


The CERC Fellow will focus on the development of new cationic lipids for mRNA based vaccine formulations that can be produced at scale with precursors that are readily available. The lipids will be developed using machine learning and modelling methods and screened for performance in vitro and in vivo. The CERC Fellow will have access to robotic automation and flow chemistry methodologies, and state of the art biological testing facilities. The CERC Fellow will work closely with industrial partners to develop scalable techniques for the production of mRNA vaccine components. This will be done within national and international settings, and as part of a diverse multidisciplinary team.

Your duties will include:

  • Developing and implementing methods to model and discover potential lipids and chemical routes and integrate machine learning software into lipid design as part of a data driven science initiative to accelerate material optimisation workflows.
  • Implementing these methods efficiently on CSIRO-specific high throughput testing systems including robotic synthesis and analysis platforms, and in the domain of flow chemistry.
  • Exploring different organic and recombinant synthesis methods using the newly developed modelling software for the production of novel cationic lipids.
  • Screening the optimised cationic lipids produced for mRNA delivery efficacy and cytotoxicity in vitro.



Location:  Clayton, Victoria

Salary:   AU$89k - AU$98k plus up to 15.4% superannuation

Tenure:   Specified term of 3 years

Reference:  80204

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as Organic or Physical Chemistry for the production of lipid-based molecules and formulations.  Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (full-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Experience in synthetic organic chemistry or use of flow chemistry and high-throughput or automated techniques.
  • Experience or knowledge of machine learning techniques applied to the chemical sciences.
  • Experience or knowledge of structure-property relationship, relating to the creation of functional nanoparticles.
  • High level written and oral communication skills with the ability to represent the research team effectively internally and externally, including the presentation of research outcomes at national and international conferences.


For full details about this role please view the Position Description


To be eligible for this role, you must be an Australian/New Zealand Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or Australian temporary resident currently residing in Australia and be able to commence in the role by 30 June 2022.

The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent. Additional integrity checks may be required for specific roles which require security clearance for working with children, Australian Government cybersecurity requirements or other identified security roles.

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. 

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

30 January 2022, 11:00pm AEDT

We’re working hard to build a safe and welcoming culture where people can bring their whole selves to work. Valuing and enabling difference empowers our people, unlocking their potential to innovate and shape the future for our customers, all Australians and the world. We do the extraordinary every day. We innovate for tomorrow and help improve today. We're the people that stay awake solving the world’s big questions. This is true of our science and of our people. Our mission is to create benefit for Australia through impactful science and innovation but we know that that's not possible without an inclusive and diverse culture. We're working hard to recruit diverse people and ensure all our people feel supported to do their best work and empowered to let their ideas flourish.

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