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Two postdoctoral fellowships at Umeå university to understand Polycomb repression and improve CAR T cells using pooled CRISPR screening technology

Two joint postdoctoral fellowships at Umeå university, with the focus on developing and applying new pooled CRISPR screening technology, are available immediately! The fellowships are located in the groups of Johan Henriksson and Yuri Schwartz, respectively. The postdocs will work together, each addressing one of the two synergistic projects.

Post-doctoral fellowship #1 is with the group Molecular Epigenetics at the Department of Molecular Biology, Umeå University, Sweden (PI: Dr. Yuri Schwartz, https://www.umu.se/en/research/groups/yuri-schwartz/).

Making an animal from a single cell requires epigenetic mechanisms that force cells to remember which genes not to use once they have “chosen” their developmental fate. Polycomb group proteins make up such a repressive mechanism and much evidence links their loss or overexpression to abnormal development and cancer. One of the key unanswered questions concerning the mechanism is how Polycomb group proteins find correct genes to repress. We have identified hundreds of DNA elements that tether Polycomb group proteins to human genes. These elements appear to employ yet unknown sequence specific DNA binding adapter proteins. You will use the pooled CRISPR/Cas9 screen and state-of-the-art reporter constructs to discover these sequence specific DNA binding adapter proteins.

Our expectations: You are a motivated scientist with a Ph.D. in genetics, molecular biology or biochemistry and strong interest in epigenetics. We are particularly interested in applicants with a track record in molecular cloning, mammalian cell culture and the expertise in computational analysis of genomic data. All applicants should be fluent in English.

We offer: A chance to learn and apply the cutting edge gene engineering technology to address one of the most coveted issues in developmental epigenetics. An appointment for two years with a possibility of extension based on performance. Midnight sun in summer, unlimited Nordic lights in winter and the Swedish trademark quality of life year around.

The birthplace of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, the Department of Molecular Biology at Umeå University offers a vibrant international research environment that fosters scientific discovery and innovation.

How to apply: Please, send your complete application by e-mail to yuri.schwartz@umu.se with the phrase “postdoc in epigenetics” in the subject line. The position is open until 2022-11-01.

The application should include:

    1. Cover letter that lists three compelling reasons for why you apply
    2. Pdf files of your two best publications
    3. CV
    4. Contact details of two to three references.

Post-doctoral fellowship #2 is on improving CAR T cells in the group of Johan Henriksson (http://www.henlab.org/) at MIMS (https://www.mims.umu.se/), the Swedish Nordic EMBL partnership node.

CAR T cells are T cells with a synthetic receptor that enables them to attack cancer. Much work remains, however, to ensure the correct function – avoiding exhaustion, releasing the correct cytokines, acting in the right context, and surviving the hostile tumor microenvironment. While reprogramming genes is now easy, it is not obvious which genes to target.

In this project, we will use pooled CRISPR/Cas9 screens to find suitable CAR T “helper” genes. Because we use primary human cells, this requires overcoming challenges in lentiviral delivery and phenotyping. These will be your main tasks, and you will work alongside a team that already has experience in e.g. optimized sgRNA readout and single-cell characterization of candidate genes.

Key related paper: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30639098/.

Our expectations: You are a motivated scientist with a Ph.D. in genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry or immunology, and a strong interest in computational biology or technology development. We are particularly interested in applicants with a track record in molecular cloning, mammalian cell culture, immunological methods, and the expertise in computational analysis of genomic data. All applicants should be fluent in English.

We offer: A chance to learn and use the latest screening technology to come up with a new potential cure for cancer. There will be ample opportunities also to learn single-cell technology and computational biology. The appointment is for two years with a possibility of extension based on performance. Besides a ski slope 10 minutes from work and white nights in summer, exchange with our other EMBL partners is also a possibility. MIMS is based on the EMBL 5+4 year model and favors long-term thinking and groundbreaking research.

How to apply: Please, send your complete application by e-mail to johan.henriksson@umu.se with the phrase “postdoc in CAR T cells” in the subject line. The position is open until 2022-11-01.

The application should include:

  1. Cover letter that lists three compelling reasons for why you apply
  2. Pdf files of your two best publications
  3. CV
  4. Contact details of two to three references.

More about the employer:

At Umeå University, everything is nearby. Our cohesive campus environment makes it easy to meet, collaborate and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture where we rejoice in each other’s successes. If you are interested in knowing about Umeå University as a workplace, read more at: https://www.umu.se/en/work-with-us/

Umeå University also offers a strong postdoc community with the Umeå Postdoc Society (UPS), which fosters networking amongst postdocs, organises social and career development events and works towards improving the postdoc experience at the Umeå campus. Check out their website: https://umeapostdocsociety.se/, and do not hesitate to get in contact with them early on!

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