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PhD Graduate Student Position

Explore the opportunities listed below if you are interested in joining our team. 

PhD Student in the Identification of Microbes and Enzymes that Degrade Plastics 

Application Deadline June 1st 

The Contaminants of Emerging Concern-Research Excellence Network (CEC-REN) at Queen’s University, is an interdisciplinary research and innovation initiative. CEC-REN is focused on the detection and treatment of emerging contaminants in the natural and built environment, that pose environmental and human health risk. This opportunity exists within a multi-year program of research affiliate with CEC-REN, and is a collaboration with Queen’s University’s departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering.

PhD Graduate Student Position

in the Identification of Microbes and Enzymes that Degrade Plastics

This fully funded position is part of a collaborative multi-group project exploring natural environments to develop innovative plastic bio-recycling technologies. Working with others in the lab, the PhD Graduate Student will use diverse metagenomic, comparative genomics, functional genomics, and microbiological approaches to identify and characterize novel enzymes and microbes capable of depolymerizing plastics to be biologically engineered for improved activity. The research will be supervised by Dr. George diCenzo (Department of Biology), in collaboration with a highly interdisciplinary team of experts including Dr. Laurence Yang (Department of Chemical Engineering), Dr. James McLellan (Department of Chemical Engineering), and Dr. David Zechel (Department of Chemistry).

Anticipated Start Date and Duration of Program:

Flexible with a preferred start date of 1 September 2021. The PhD program at Queen’s University is generally expected to take 4 years.

Required Qualifications:

Applicants should hold a MSc or equivalent degree in microbiology, genomics, bioinformatics, biology, biochemistry, or a related field. In exceptional cases, a MSc degree is not required and can be replaced by a BSc or equivalent degree in microbiology, genomics, bioinformatics, biology, biochemistry, or a related field. Experience culturing bacteria, isolating nucleic acids, working with high-throughput sequencing data (Illumina, Nanopore), and/or analyzing bacterial genomes is preferred. Applicants should also have good communication skills and an interest in collaborating with a multi-disciplinary team of scientists.

Application Instructions:

Applicants should submit

  • a cover letter, outlining their qualifications and motivations for this position,

  • a curriculum vitae,

  • one sample of research writing, and

  • the names and contact information of two references to

The application deadline is 1 June 2021. Inquiries about the project and position can be requested from Dr. George diCenzo (

Employment Equity:

Queen’s University invites applications from all qualified individuals. We are committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcome applications from women, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2+ persons. We have a track record of supporting all our employees, including our Accommodation in the Workplace Policy, and will provide support in recruitment processes for applicants with accessibility needs. If you require accommodation during the application process, please contact Jyoti Kotecha at

Apply for Job

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