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Let’s get biophysical: cryo-EM jobs

8/10/2018 4:04:11 PM

As any good biologist knows, the structure of biological molecules directly is related to its function. That’s why the field of structural biology is critical for biomedical research studies. Using various imaging techniques, structural biologists can “see” how biological molecules are shaped and how they interact with each other. For example, researchers can devise more specific strategies (i.e., structure-based drug design) to synthesize therapeutic drugs that target specific structures, with the goal of either enhancing or inhibiting a molecule’s function.  

One widely used methodology to study the structure of macromolecules is cryo-electron microscopy. Cryo-EM involves the flash freezing of biological samples followed by an electron-beam bombardment. The resulting scattering profile creates a 3D structural model with atomic or near-atomic resolution. It especially is useful in studying protein structures because of the many advantages over other technologies like X-ray crystallography. This includes the ability to use liquid samples instead of having to crystallize a protein (the bane of every protein chemist’s existence) and characterizing proteins that are in multiple conformations within a sample.  

For a fascinating history of the evolution of cryo-EM techniques, check out this ASBMB Today article by former managing editor Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay. As she points out in the article, there is a need for more cryo-EM experts who can train other scientists because the technique is becoming more commonplace in structural biology labs. Also, the proliferation of new user facilities creates a demand for experienced electron microscopists and support staff. For this week, we looked into research and support jobs related to cryo-EM. We found lots of open positions across the academic, industry and nonprofit sectors for scientists of all degree levels.  

Weekly jobs roundup  

  • The Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry and the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is recruiting for an open-rank faculty position in the area of cryo-EM. The faculty member will develop an independent research program using single-particle cryo-EM or tomography to study biological macromolecules and assemblies, in addition to teaching responsibilities. The application deadline is Oct. 15. (H/t to ASBMB executive director Barbara Gordon for sharing this opportunity.)    
  • As seen on the ASBMB job board, the Department of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry at Yale University is hiring an assistant professor to establish a research group in any area of these fields, which the department broadly defines as “the molecules and mechanisms of life.” The posting summarizes current research areas and approaches by faculty within the department, which includes the use of structural biology and related methodologies like cryo-EM. The incumbent also will contribute to teaching graduate and undergraduate courses. The application deadline is Sept. 17.  
  • The Bourne Lab in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma has an open call for a research biochemist at the post-bac, technician or postdoc level for a one-year appointment. The lab’s research focus is on understanding the relation of protein function to macromolecular structure, specifically in the context of bacterial toxin-antitoxin systems. The posting states they are looking for an experienced biochemist with skills in molecular biology, genetics, bacterial physiology and microbiology and an interest in learning structural biology (e.g., x-ray crystallography) techniques. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree and one year of lab experience. Interested applicants are to directly contact Christina Bourne with any questions and to apply.  
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals is hiring a research scientist in structural biology to join its protein sciences team located in San Diego, Calif. The researcher will be responsible for the purification, characterization and structural determination of integral membrane proteins. This work will be used to inform the development of small-molecule and genetic-based therapies for human diseases. Minimum qualifications include a Ph.D. in the life sciences and two years of relevant experience. No application deadline is provided.  
  • The biotechnology company Amgen is searching for a structural biologist to join its interdisciplinary structural biology group located in Cambridge, Mass. The scientist will lead projects, from protein crystallization to cryo-EM studies, to determine the structure of relevant proteins (e.g., human integral membrane proteins) for drug-discovery applications. Preferred qualifications include a Ph.D. in protein biochemistry, crystallography or a related discipline and postdoc experience. However, the posting lists a master’s or bachelor’s degree plus specific years of experience for minimum qualifications as well. No application deadline is provided.  
  • The government contractor Medical Science & Computing has an opening for a structural biology research scientist to support work at the National Institutes of Health, which will be located onsite in Bethesda, Md. Specifically, the researcher will use structural and biophysical approaches to study antibody-antigen complexes relevant to malaria infections. Minimum qualifications include a Ph.D. and two years of relevant experience, including cryo-EM and/or x-ray crystallography work. No application deadline is provided.  
  • The Simons Electron Microscopy Center (New York City) at the New York Structural Biology Center, a not-for-profit consortium that provides advanced resources in structural biology for the research community, has several open positions listed on its website. These include a technician, electron microscopist and software scientist. There also may be undergraduate internships available. See the website for more information. No job posting dates or application deadlines are provided, so I suggest reaching out to check on the status of the positions before applying.  
  • The Robert P. Apkarian Integrated Electron Microscopy Core at Emory University is seeking an associate scientist in cryo-EM to join its staff. The scientist will serve as a technical expert to develop methodologies in cryo-EM and provide these services to researchers across campus. Minimum qualifications include a Ph.D. or M.D. and five years of experience or a master’s degree and 10 year of experience. No application deadline is provided.  

Bonus job posting  

The Van Andel Institute (Grand Rapids, Mich.), an independent biomedical research and science education organization, has many research openings at this time because a number of new labs and initiatives are starting up. This includes a postdoctoral fellow in cryo-EM to study the pharmacology of ion channel and transmembrane receptors that are linked to neurological and cardiovascular diseases. There also are several Ph.D.-level positions open in the area of metabolomics, including a scientific project leader and mass spectrometrist. And, ICYMI, check out last week’s post with even more jobs in the field of metabolomics. (H/t to Erica Gobrogge, postdoctoral affairs specialist at the Van Andel Institute and former ASBMB education and professional development manager, for alerting us to these opportunities via Twitter.)

Donna Kridelbaugh is a contributor to the ASBMB Careers Blog. She holds an advanced degree in microbiology and is a former lab manager.   

Stay updated on new posts by following the  ASBMB on social media  or click “follow” on this blog (must be a member and signed in). Also, be sure to check out the   ASBMB Job Board  for even more job listings.  

Metabolomics jobs

8/3/2018 1:13:23 PM

There has been an increasing trend in the biological research field to conduct large-scale -omics studies, especially as technology advances to enable single-cell analyses and processing of big data sets. In general, -omics refers to the collective characterization of a particular subset of biological molecules at the cellular, tissue or organismal level. Most people are familiar with the term as it relates to macromolecules directly tied to the central dogma of biology (i.e., genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics); however, there’s a number of other subspecialties.  

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The August issue
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One expanding research area is metabolomics, which creates a biochemical snapshot of all the small molecules (i.e., substrates and end products of cellular metabolism) present within a sample. Metabolomics can provide unique insights into the physiological state of a cell with important biomedical applications. For example, the metabolome helps researchers understand the cellular changes that occur during disease progression or to identify potential metabolites to target for drug development.  

And to highlight the important role of metabolomics, the ASBMB’s three research journalsrecently teamed up to publish a virtual issue entitled “ Omics of lipids, glycans and polar metabolites,” which features a collection of related studies published in the journals since 2016. This week, we were curious to also see what hiring trends are happening in the field of metabolomics. Here’s a sampling of the types of jobs we found.  

Weekly jobs roundup 

  • The Department of Chemistry at the Universityof Massachusetts–Lowell is recruiting for two tenure-track assistant professor positions in analytical chemistry. The faculty members will establish independent research programs in a number of areas of expertise with metabolomics specifically mentioned in the advertisement. Review of applications will begin Oct. 1 but may be sooner if an adequate number of applications are received before that date.  
  • The Center for Infection and Immunity in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University is seeking a postdoctoral research scientist. (Note: Search job postings for “metabolomics” if you have trouble accessing this link). The scientist will work on research projects in a number of -omics specialty areas and in the context of studying the pathogenesis of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, neurodevelopmental disorders and/or tick-borne disorders. Minimum qualifications include an M.D. or Ph.D. with expertise in microbial genomics, immunology, epigenetics and data science. No application deadline is provided.  
  • The Moffitt Cancer Center (Tampa, Fla.) is seeking a postdoctoral scholar in cancer metabolism. The scholar will research metabolic vulnerabilities in small-cell lung cancer by analyzing proteomic and metabolomic data sets among other approaches. Minimum qualifications include an M.D. or Ph.D. in molecular biology, immunology, biochemistry or a relevant field. No application deadline is provided.  
  • The Ramanathan lab at the Buck Institute for Researchon Aging (Novato, Calif.) is hiring for both a research associate and postdoctoral position in metabolomics. The lab is focused on the application of mass-spectrometry-based metabolomics as it relates to skeletal muscle biology and brain aging. See the postings for details on qualifications. No application deadlines are provided.  
  • Agios (Cambridge, Mass.), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel drugs to treat cancer and rare genetic metabolic diseases, has openings for both a scientist(Ph.D. level) and research associate (bachelor’s or master’s degree level) to join its cell metabolism team. The team uses metabolomic assays to characterize the cellular metabolisms of disease states to inform drug-discovery efforts. See the postings for more details. No application deadlines are provided.  
  • The Health Sciences Metabolomics and Lipidomics Core at the University of Pittsburgh is looking for a metabolomics research specialist to maintain the facility’s small-molecule mass spectrometry instrumentation. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree and two to three years of relevant experience. No application deadline is provided.  
  • The Emory Integrated Metabolomics and Lipidomics Core at Emory University is hiring an associate scientist who will serve as the Metabolomics Division Lead. The position will be responsible for the daily operations of the metabolomics services offered by the facility and serve as a technical expert in this area. Minimum qualifications include a Ph.D. or M.D., or a master’s degree and five years of lab experience. No application deadline is provided.  

  • The Integrative Omics group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, Wash.) is hiring a senior informatics specialist with experience in mass-spectrometry signal processing and data interpretation as applied to proteomics and metabolomics. The specialist will lead efforts to develop advanced bioinformatic methodologies for integration into its high-throughput analysis platform for various biological applications. Preferred minimum qualifications include a Ph.D. and a background in software development, computer engineering and informatics. The application deadline is Oct. 2.

Donna Kridelbaugh is a contributor to the ASBMB Careers Blog. She holds an advanced degree in microbiology and is a former lab manager.   

Stay updated on new posts by following the  ASBMB on social media  or click “follow” on this blog (must be a member and signed in). Also, be sure to check out the   ASBMB Job Board  for even more job listings.  


Viral hepatitis jobs

7/25/2018 3:22:06 PM

The ASBMB is observing World Hepatitis Day on July 28. It is one of the World Health Organization’s official global public-health campaigns. This year’s theme is focused on raising awareness of the importance of timely testing and treatment of viral hepatitis infections to save lives.

These efforts primarily are targeted toward hepatitis B and C, with an estimated over 300 million people worldwide living with one of these chronic infections. And combined, HBV and HCV are responsible for the majority of liver-cancer cases and lead to 1.34 million deaths each year.  

Yet, many of those infected may not even be aware of their status or viable treatment options. That’s why the World Hepatitis Alliance also has centered its World Hepatitis Day advocacy efforts on finding the missing millions who are undiagnosed and connecting them to healthcare resources.  

For this week, we feature a quick roundup of jobs related to advancing the science and policy needed to eliminate viral hepatitis as a global public-health threat. Also, be sure to check out the ASBMB health observances webpage for a collection of recent research news and stories about viral hepatitis and its health impacts.  

Weekly jobs roundup  

  • The lab of Ratna Ray in the Department of Pathology at St. Louis University is seeking a postdoctoral fellow to work on an NIH-funded project studying HCV-mediated liver disease. See the job posting for details on how to apply, including contact information for the PI to send any inquiries. It is stated that review of applications will begin immediately; however, no job posting date is listed, so I highly suggest reaching out to check on the hiring status.  
  • The lab of Joshua T. Schiffer in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle) is recruiting a postdoctoral research fellow. The fellow will work as part of an interdisciplinary team in developing and testing mathematical models aimed at optimizing antiviral drug therapies against HIV and HBV. No application deadline is provided.  
  • Arbutus Biopharma (Warminster, Pa.), a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to finding a cure for chronic hepatitis B infections, has several open positions listed on its website. These include both scientist (Ph.D./master’s level) and associate (bachelor’s level) positions in the areas of immunology, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and in vivo pharmacology. Review the postings for work descriptions and details on qualifications. No application deadlines are provided.  
  • Enanta Pharmaceuticals (Watertown, Mass.), an R&D biotechnology company focused on creating small-molecule drugs for viral infections and liver diseases, has a number of openings listed on its website. These include scientist positions in the areas of medicinal chemistry and in vivo drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, as well as an associate scientist in biology. The company also is hiring a medical writer. See the listings for more details. No application deadlines are provided.  
  • The World Health Organization is hiring a specialist in viral hepatitis prevention and control to be located in the Washington, D.C., regional office. The specialist will help develop and implement public-health plans toward eliminating viral hepatitis in Pan-American countries. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in a health-related discipline (master’s preferred) and seven years of national and international experience working in the areas of epidemiology and public health. The application deadline is Aug. 1.  
  • NASTAD (Washington, D.C.), a nonprofit that represents public-health officials who administer HIV and viral hepatitis programs, is seeking a policy and legislative affairs intern. To be eligible, the applicant must be a current student pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in political science, public policy, health or a related area. The internship will start in September. No application deadline is provided.  

Bonus job. The National Institutes of Health will start taking applications for the Earl Stadtman Investigator program on Aug. 1. The program is a broad recruitment for tenure-track investigators (assistant professor equivalent) to join the intramural research program across a wide range of basic, clinical and translational research areas. Applicants must hold a terminal science or medical degree and have a strong research track record. An FAQ about the program is available online. Specific inquiries can be directed to Roland Owens (assistant director of the NIH Office of Intramural Research).

Donna Kridelbaugh is a contributor to the ASBMB Careers Blog. She holds an advanced degree in microbiology and is a former lab manager.   

Stay updated on new posts by following the ASBMB on social media  or click “follow” on this blog (must be a member and signed in). Also, be sure to check out the  ASBMB Job Board  for even more job listings.