Design of new proteins fit for industrial applications using machine-learning and co-evolutionary frameworks

The Mercadante Group and our lab is seeking an exceptionally motivated individual to join as a PhD candidate in protein design and discovery of new proteins fit for industrial applications.

In particular, the candidate will explore the design and testing of recombinant proteins by means of a variety of computational workflows involving machine learning, molecular dynamics simulations and experiments targeting the biochemical and structural characterization of the designed molecules.

The PhD candidate will be fully funded by a scholarship (salary + fees) for a duration of 3 years and will be based at The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

The ideal candidate would have hands-on experience in molecular dynamics simulations, and a degree in either chemistry, physics, biology, computer science or a related area. However, experience/familiarity with UNIX/Linux operating environments, machine learning algorithms, or using molecular dynamics simulation packages and scripting would be a plus BUT are not indispensable for the role.

Strong motivation and proficiency in written and spoken English are a must.

The project will be in collaboration with researchers across New Zealand, at Massey University in Palmerston North and the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. The student will be involved in developing and applying computational workflows and interfacing computational results with experiments. This is a perfect opportunity for students that are keen to interface computational and experimental work within the framework of protein design.

The candidate will have the opportunity to travel internationally for conferences and to visit the labs of collaborators, and to spend some time abroad if they wish.

This is indeed an excellent opportunity to further develop skills in machine learning, molecular modelling and molecular dynamics simulations, with the possibility to join the vibrant academic environment of the School of Chemical Sciences at The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Situated on the northern Island of New Zealand, Auckland is the country’s biggest city, offering a cosmopolitan and vibrant environment, with great outdoors, surfing, beaches, cafés, and restaurants at your doorstep.

To apply please send an email directly to and and please supply:

  • Your curriculum vitae (CV) complete of any publications in your name.
  • The names of at least two referees.

The starting date of the position is negotiable.

If you would like more information about The Mercadante Group please visit the group website: