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Hettiaratchi Lab Protein Binding Project- University of Oregon Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact

Position Title: Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Environment and Project Description:
The Hettiaratchi Lab combines expertise in chemical and biomedical engineering to design biomaterials to control protein delivery to injured tissues, and using new techniques in protein engineering and computational modeling to design more effective biomaterials for protein delivery.

The current project is aimed at developing specific protein binding partners to facilitate controlled release of pro-regenerative proteins targeting cell surface receptor proteins within or nearby injured tissue. As a current general direction, we are targeting cell surface receptors relevant to bone regrowth and blood vessel development for the regeneration of severe musculoskeletal injuries. Protein binding partners which facilitate therapeutic protein release will be identified from randomly-generated libraries of surface-displayed proteins in yeast. Affinity-based interactions will be used to selectively sort yeast clones displaying proteins which bind to therapeutic protein of interest. Overarching goals of the work include a) developing and characterizing the protein binding partners of interest derived from yeast and b) studying how proteins released using the binding partners affect cellular responses, and c) comparing the effects of protein delivered gradually using affinity binding partners to the effects of therapeutic proteins released rapidly without binding partners.

Role and Responsibilities:
The Undergraduate Research Assistant will have a role in this project which involves multiple common molecular biology techniques, including PCR, gel electrophoresis, small- and large-scale protein expression, protein purification, microbial and mammalian cell culture, generating cell media and various other reagents/solutions.

The expected commitment time frame is 1 year minimum (part-time during 3 academic terms and full-time over Summer), and 10-12 hours/week during academic year, 40 hours/week during Summer time commitment.

Preferred Skills and Attributes:
Required: Undergraduate coursework in Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics or related discipline. Generally preferable skills/background: Biology/molecular biology and/or chemistry/biochemistry coursework and/or laboratory (including classroom lab) benchwork experience.

Undergraduate Research Assistants are initially accepted on a voluntary basis during the first term. If this commitment is extended, the position will be paid (starting at minimum wage and increasing based on performance), with additional support for research course credit, at the student's preference.

How to Apply & What to Include:
Applicants are invited to submit their applications through HandShake (Apply button).**
  1. Please include your resume, and a cover letter that expresses your interest in the position
  2. This is one of TWO projects within the Hettiaratchi Lab (Protein Binding Project and Injectable Hydrogel Project) - please indicate which you are applying to within the cover letter
  3. Note any relevant skills and experience that you posses and how it will directly contribute to the position.

**PLEASE NOTE: The posted expiration date that is noted is for job viewing only. Applications will be reviewed on a first come, first serve basis. Please DO NOT wait until close to, or on the expiration date to apply.

For any additional resources on resume and cover letter development, visit the UO Career Center website at: You are also welcome to reach out to CURE ( for any assistance needed, in coordinating your application materials.