Postdoctoral openings at Yaowen Wu lab – Umeå

Our colleague Yaowen Wu is looking for Postdoctoral researchers in Autophagy and Chemo-optogenetics. Please see the information below. Motivated PhD student candidates are also encourage to contact him.

Umeå University is dedicated to providing creative environments for learning and work. We offer a wide variety of courses and programs, world leading research, and excellent innovation and collaboration opportunities. More than 4300 employees and 31500 students have already chosen Umeå University. We welcome your application!

Umeå University (UmU) offers exciting research opportunities in an excellent environment. The lab is located within the cross-disciplinary Chemical Biological Centre (video) ( at Umeå University and provides excellent facilities and state-of-art equipment and platforms in a creative, inspiring, international and highly interactive environment. Facilities include Protein Expertise Platform, X-ray, Proteomics, NMR (850-400 MHz), Cryo-EM and Biochemical Imaging Centre (confocal, FLIM, spinning disk). The recent breakthrough researches from UmU include deciphering the molecular mechanisms of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 system and repurposing it into a tool for genome editing.

Project 1: Autophagy mechanisms

One of the main interests of the group is a system that has been evaluated at the molecular and cellular level with a range of chemical, molecular and cell biological techniques concerns mechanism of autophagy.

Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved self-eating process mainly to eliminate or recycle dysfunctional cellular organelles or unused proteins. Autophagy plays an important role in physiology including development and ageing and has been associated with diverse human diseases, including cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiac hypertrophy, and pathogen infection. Autophagy modulation is implicated in the treatment of diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer. Despite extensive work, the models of autophagosome formation and autophagy regulation are not yet well established. Our laboratory has elucidated fundamental mechanisms underlying autophagosome formation and new mechanisms of autophagy regulation. We will combine cell biological, biochemical, and novel chemical and chemo-optogenetic approaches to understand the mechanism of autophagic membrane morphogenesis.

Project 2: Chemo-optogenetics

Genetic perturbations by gain or loss of gene function through overexpression, knock-out or knock-down approaches is powerful for biological studies. However, traditional genetic approaches are chronic (hours to days). Consequently, the phenotype may not be detected due to adaptation and the dynamics of phenotypic change cannot be followed. Chemical genetic approaches using small molecules are acute, reversible, conditional and tunable and have been very useful to dissect the complexity of biological regulatory networks. However, many of these compounds have additional off-target effects that may confound elucidation of biological systems in certain contexts. Canonical optogenetic systems using photoreceptors suffer from limitations in tunability, dynamic range and maneuverability. Our laboratory has developed a set of chemical and photochemically induced dimerization (CID and pCID) system to spatiotemporally control cellular signaling and intracellular cargo transport. We will further develop novel chemo-optogenetic systems that enables the activity to be controlled by light with high spatial and temporal precision in live cells and organisms.

The projects are funded by European Research Council (ERC) and Wallenberg Foundation. The projects are interdisciplinary with strong collaborations across scientific disciplines.


The required qualification is a doctoral degree or a degree that is deemed equivalent, in cell biology, biochemistry, chemical biology, synthetic chemistry or in another relevant field. The successful candidate is expected to design and execute projects independently but also in close collaboration with other members of the team, independence and good ability to collaborate is therefore a requirement. Good command of written and spoken English is also a requirement.


Candidates should submit in one PDF file:

  1. cover letter including research interests, qualifications and motivation for applying (max 2 pages),
  2. CV including list of publications,
  3. names and contact details of at least two reference persons.

For further information, please contact Professor Yaowen Wu, E-mail: