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Cures don't just happen. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is committed to the education and training of the next generation of research scientists. St. Jude trainees are able to learn from clinical and basic science investigators who work in close proximity and interact regularly to translate scientific discoveries into improved therapies for children.
If you are a highly motivated individual who wants to work at a world-class institution with state of the art facilities and learn from investigators at the forefront of their fields, consider advancing your research training at St. Jude.
Here are our postdoctoral research training opportunities. Please click on the position title for more information, and apply from that page if you are interested.
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The candidate will apply an interdisciplinary computational approach investigating the structural, biophysical and genomic signatures associated with GPCR biogenesis; GPCRs govern diverse human physiological processes and are currently targeted by over 30% of all FDA-approved drugs. The trade-off present in GPCRs between energetic folding costs and functional requirements leads to inherently risky energy landscapes that require stabilizing residue contact networks, lipid interactions and chaperoning to prevent misfolding. Unsurprisingly, the disruption of the fundamental physico-chemical principles that guide proper folding can therefore prevent proteins from achieving long-term stability. This can lead to perturbations in the levels of functional protein, assembly of dysfunctional proteins or even systemic aggregation of the misfolded protein species, which in turn contributes to a wide variety of potentially pathological processes. The candidate will focus on the thermodynamics of helix assembly, GPCR oligomerization and receptor interactions with the lipid bilayer environment as well as the perturbation of these mechanisms by mutations within GPCRs and associated proteins.
The candidate will employ a wide range of computational and data science methods including molecular dynamic simulations, structural bioinformatics, genome analysis and extensive exploration of various data science techniques. His insights will aid the understanding of highly complex molecular processes and pleomorphic phenotypes associated with suboptimal GPCR expression. Moreover, newly developed computational approaches will aim to support thesearch for essential biogenesis co-factors as well as guide the development of pharmacological chaperones and lipid-based modulators of GPCR function.
The candidates work is centred around understanding how the replicative process impacts evolvability and robustness through the mutation biases and various error correction mechanisms that operate at different levels of biology. The work will primarily be focussed on understanding how viruses change and adapt and whether aspects of evolutionary adaptation is predictable. Of particular interest is the evolution of protein features that interact with – or change interactions between – the virus and the host. For influenza specifically, the candidate will explore glycosylation site evolvability and the impact glycosylation site evolvability has on vaccination efforts as well as viral biology in general. The candidate will also explore how cancers alter their replicative and error correction mechanisms and the impact this has on the evolvability of protein features and the ability of cancers to evolve resistance to treatments through these changes.
The ecosystem of work and facilities at St. Jude will provide unique opportunities for collaboration, and critical resources for the success of this project. In particular, being a center of excellence for influenza research and surveillance, as well as a World Health Organization collaborating center for influenza means the candidates work on influenza can be integrated with the excellent resources already available at St. Jude. In addition, the extensive cancer expertise and resources there will allow the candidate to explore these ideas within cancers as well. The general applicability of these concepts to many facets of evolution could also lead to future projects and collaborations that the candidate can explore as this project develops.