A postdoctoral position is available in the NIH-funded Shao lab within the Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. The lab is part of the newly established Center of Genome Integrity and the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, an NCI-designated leading cancer institute in the US (ranked 11th nationally). We are located in the state-of-the-art Couch Biochemical Research building known for its open, multi-disciplinary, and collaborative environment. As a curiosity-driven cancer biology lab, we are broadly interested in uncovering novel cancer targets with the overarching goal of improving patient outcome. Currently, we are focusing on deconvoluting complex molecular mechanisms governing genome stability and our studies center around two multi-functional proteins, the actin-binding protein Profilin-1 and the AAA+ ATPase p97/VCP. Both are essential proteins with well-known functions in the cytoplasm, but play important yet poorly understood roles in the nucleus. Our recent work (Cell Rep, 2020; Cell Rep, 2021; Cancers 2021; Front Cell Dev Biol, 2021) linked nuclear Profilin-1 and p97/VCP to fundamental cellular processes such as transcription and DNA damage response, defined their regulatory mechanisms by nucleocytoplasmic trafficking and phosphorylation, and more importantly uncovered their clinical relevance to cancer progression and therapy resistance. It is our ultimate goal that mechanistic insights from such studies can reveal hidden “Achilles heels” of cancer cells, and guide the development of novel and personalized treatments.
1. Define the biological function of nuclear profilin-1 in DNA replication under normal and stressed conditions and its relevance to cancer chemotherapy response.
2. Understand nuclear proteostasis regulated by VCP under normal and DNA damaging conditions by identifying and characterizing novel nuclear substrates of VCP.
3. Investigate the mechanistic link between autophagy and DNA damage response.
4. Evaluate VCP as a predictive biomarker and sensitizing target for cancer chemotherapies.
5. Explore the anticancer potential of targeting nuclear export of profilin-1.
We are seeking a highly self-motivated PhD or MD/PhD scientist with strong background in molecular and cellular biology.
The candidate must have peer-reviewed, first-author publications of original findings in reputable journals.
She/he must be thoroughly familiar with common laboratory techniques including cell culture, fluorescence microscopy, PCR, molecular cloning, immunoprecipitation, and Western blotting.
Though not required, computational skills and knowledge and experience in transgenic and patient-derived mouse xenograft models are highly desirable.
Conceptual understanding of DNA replication stress and genome integrity maintenance and related technical experience (e.g. DNA fiber and iPOND assays) are also a plus.
Interested candidates should contact Dr. Jieya Shao by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with an updated CV and a cover letter containing a research statement as well as contact information for 3 or more references.