Graduate students

The Leslie Lab at UBC Michael Labs and Physics is recruiting graduate students with interdisciplinary interests ranging across 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. We apply this technique both to basic biophysical research and development of drugs and therapeutics. 

On-going projects:

Effects of topology on DNA interactions

We study the effects of supercoiling on DNA-DNA, and protein-DNA interactions both in vitro and in live cells. The goal of the research is to better understand the role of DNA structure in gene regulation.

Nanoparticle analytics

We study the structure and structural transitions of nanoparticles in controlled environments, to help develop nanoparticle-based drug delivery platforms. Nanoparticles are an emerging technology used to encapsulate drugs for delivery into the body. Upon an environmental shift, the structure of the nanoparticle changes, releasing the drug. The goal of our research is to characterize these dynamics and understand drug delivery mechanisms.

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 our research is to characterize ASO-mRNA binding dynamics to improve drug and treatment development.

Training: Graduate students in the Leslie Lab will 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, 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.

We are looking for well-organized, enthusiastic team players who enjoy lab work and troubleshooting scientific instrumentation. Experience with microscopy, image processing, or experimental biophysical techniques 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/resume to leslielab [at]