Graduate Student: Oligotherapeutics Imaging

Dr. Sabrina Leslie at UBC Michael Smith Laboratories is recruiting a Ph.D. student with interest in biophysics, nanoscience, biotechnology, engineering and computational analysis. Our group develops and utilizes single-molecule fluorescence microscopy techniques to study interactions of biomolecules in cell-like environments. We’ve developed the Convex Lens-induced Confinement (CLiC) imaging platform, which makes it possible to watch individual, naturally fluctuating biomolecules as they search for and bind to each other, allowing us to make measurements that are not possible with other methods. This technique is applied both to basic biophysical research and development of drugs and therapeutics. 

Project: Oligonucleotide therapeutics 

Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) are an emerging treatment for genetic diseases. They are snippets of modified DNA designed to bind to mRNA produced by a detrimental gene and targeting it for destruction. The goal of this research project will be to characterize ASO-mRNA binding dynamics to improve drug and treatment development.

Training: Graduate students in the Leslie Lab receive training in single-molecule microscopy specializing in the CLiC imaging technique pioneered in our lab, bulk characterization techniques such as Dynamic Light Scattering, fluorimetry, spectrophotometry, and gel electrophoresis, and computational modelling and analysis. The candidates will work with sophisticated DNA/RNA constructs as well as complex lipid nanoparticle formulations, with exposure to molecular design of oligotherapeutic compounds and biomimetic delivery vehicles. The training environment will include interactions with a start-up company, ScopeSys Inc., which is commercializing CLiC technology; as well as collaborators in pharmaceutical science, biochemistry and medicine.

Interested candidate should have a degree in physics, engineering, or biophysics, with passion for lab work and troubleshooting scientific instrumentation, and is creative, versatile and well-organized. Strong interest in optics and instrumentation is an asset. Proficiency with a musical instrument and/or dungeons and dragons are also assets. The successful candidates must have a passion for innovation and pushing scientific and engineering capabilities to the forefront of what is possible today. 

To apply, please send a cover letter and CV to

Dr. Sabrina Leslie would consider supervising a MSc or PhD in any of the following programs as allowed by the program guidelines and admission committees.

MSc/PhD in Physics and Astronomy

MSc/PhD in Genome Science and Applied Technology

MSc/PhD in Bioinformatics

MSc/PhD in Biomedical Engineering


Reference Number

Please mention reference number GPS-57305 in all your correspondence about this Doctoral student position.

This position will be supervised by

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