Job Opportunities

Postdoctoral Researcher positions in circular RNA therapeutics - Laboratory for smart drug delivery technologies

School/Research Institute/Centre/Unit

School of Pharmacy / APC Microbiome Ireland

Post Title

Post-Doctoral Researcher Position


CIRCLE: Synthetic Circular RNA therapeutics for prevention of sepsis-associated organ failure

Name of Principal Investigator /Reports to

Dr Piotr Kowalski

Position Summary

Position summary: We are looking for an exceptionally enthusiastic, creative, and driven Postdoctoral Researcher with a passion for interdisciplinary science and a desire to apply their unique talents to high-impact work aimed at improving human health, to join the laboratory of Dr. Piotr S. Kowalski at the School of Pharmacy at UCC. Dr. Kowalski’s research spans multiple disciplines and will allow candidates to develop their skills in a variety of areas, including circular RNA engineering, RNA delivery, nanomaterials design, and gene therapy.

The current project is supported by an European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant and focuses on elucidating the therapeutic potential of the new class of RNAs with a unique closed-loop structure, called circular RNAs, to tackle unmet medical challenges such as sepsis. This project aims to expand the toolbox of therapeutic RNAs and develop cutting-edge circular RNA tolls for the regulation of gene and protein expression to treat multiple organ failure during sepsis, which is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths worldwide. It will also develop methods to deliver circRNAs inside the relevant cells in the lungs and kidneys. Successful candidates will work in a cross-disciplinary research team and lead the work on developing novel approaches to design and evaluation of circular RNA tolls for therapeutic regulation of gene and protein expression, interacting closely with a group of collaborators supporting our work, comprised of RNA biologists, vascular biologists, immunologists, and clinical scientists.

  • Candidates with a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, synthetic biology, biopharmaceutical sciences, biomedical engineering or a related field are highly encouraged to apply.
  • Experience in one or more of the following areas will be desirable: RNA biology, nucleic acid delivery, structural prediction and modeling, analysis of nucleic acid and protein interactions, analysis of RNA structure, bioinformatics, molecular cloning, nucleic acid purification using chromatography, and animal work.
  • Evidence of peer-reviewed publications in international scientific journals
  • Prior practical laboratory experience and the capability to work independently
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to contribute in a multidisciplinary team setting
  • Excellent oral/written communication skills
  • Availability to start in Autumn/Winter 2023 will be an advantage but is not required

About Dr. Piotr S. Kowalski (PI):  I am a biochemist by training with a passion for interdisciplinary biomedical research and entrepreneurship. I have completed my scientific training in five different countries, including Poland (Jagiellonian University), the Netherlands (Groningen University), and USA (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). I have 12 years of mentoring, teaching, and leadership experience both in academic and industrial settings. My current work resulted in over twenty published research articles, the invention of four patents on drug delivery technologies, and the creation of a Cambridge-based biotech startup. For more information please refer to: and

About the University College Cork: UCC is a leading Irish university with an international reputation in innovation, and entrepreneurship. It is ranked in the top 2% of universities worldwide based on the quality of its research outputs and peer esteem indicators and was the first University to be named The Sunday Times University of the Year for two consecutive years (2016 and 2017). UCC has a vibrant research community of almost 3,500 postgraduate students and over 250 postdoctoral researchers, across all the major academic disciplines. UCC has active postdoctoral associations and programs that aim to provide support for all aspects of a postdoc’s career, including professional development training and everyday work. UCC is the host and partner of leading Irish research centers, including APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre and Tyndall National Institute providing the access to state-of-the-art research expertise and core facilities.  School of Pharmacy was ranked in the top 100 (66th) in the QS World Rankings by Subject in 2022 and is a part of the College of Medicine and Health, a very interactive environment with multidisciplinary academic teams providing plenty of opportunities to network with world-class scientists and clinicians. UCC is an accredited research organisation and as such can form hosting agreements with third country nationals (and non-EEA nationals) for the purpose of conducting research in the University.


 Salary: €42,031 - €48,427

Post Duration: 2-3 years

Key Duties and Responsibilities

This title will apply to newly qualified Post-Doctoral Researchers and will be considered as a period of training as the researcher will have dual goals in terms of the research project and their own career development.  The researcher will be mentored by a Principal Investigator (PI).  It is expected that a researcher would spend not more than 3 years at the Post Doctoral level, subject to the term of the project and would then be eligible to compete for a Senior Post Doctoral post advertised by the University.

The primary focus of the Postdoctoral Researcher will be research however a particular emphasis during this stage should include;

  • To conduct a specified programme of research under the supervision and direction of a Principal Investigator/Project Leader.
  • To engage in appropriate training and professional development opportunities as required by the Principal Investigator, School or College in order to develop research skills and competencies.
  • To gain experience in grant writing.
  • To engage in the dissemination of the results of the research in which they are engaged, as directed by, with the support of and under the supervision of a Principal Investigator.
  • To become familiar with the publication process.
  • To acquire generic and transferable skills (including project management, business skills and postgraduate mentoring/supervision).
  • To engage in the wider research and scholarly activities of the research group, School or College.
  • To interact closely with postgraduate research students who are studying for a Masters or a PhD and possibly have an agreed role in supporting these students in their day to day research in conjunction with an academic supervisor.
  • To carry out administrative work to support the programme of research.
  • To carry out additional duties as may reasonably be required within the general scope and level of the post.
  • To contribute to costing research grant proposals and assist in the financial management of a research project.



  • A PhD qualification.
  • Appropriate research experience.
  • Appropriate technical competence and accomplishment.
  • A capability of working within a project team to achieve results.
  • Good communication, organisation skills.
  • A commitment to gaining practical experience working on a research project.
  • Ability to work well within a team.
  • Please note that Garda vetting and international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.
  • The successful candidate will be required to contribute to the APC’s Public Engagement programme, by being involved in science related dissemination activities for the public and schools


How to Apply: For an information package including further details of the post see   


Informal inquiries can be made in confidence to Piotr Kowalski, PhD, School of Pharmacy, Email: Please include “Postdoc in circRNA therapeutics” in the subject line of your email.


Applications must be submitted online via the University College Cork vacancy portal ( Queries relating to the online application process should be referred to,  quoting the job-title and project name.


Please include in your application a CV, including contact details of at least two referees, and a cover letter.   


Candidates should apply, in confidence, before 12 noon (Irish Local Time) on Monday, October 16th, 2023.

School of Pharmacy


Cavanagh Pharmacy Building Room UG06 University College Cork