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Lead Researcher - Babu Lab

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (St. Jude)
Memphis, Tennessee
Commensurate with experience
Closing date
11 Oct 2024

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Health Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time

This is a Lead Researcher opportunity in Structural Biology and the G Protein-Coupled Receptor (GPCR) Collaborative. The Lead Researcher performs a variety of moderately complex research tasks determined by the field and scope of the particular research project/study. Performs tasks related to the research project independently, but within broad guidelines and subject to periodic review by supervisor or other research staff.



The World’s Brightest Minds Always Innovate

At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, we know what can be achieved when the brightest scientific minds face the fewest barriers. That’s why we provide world-class facilities. State-of-the-art technologies. Extraordinary support. And a collaborative, bench-to-bedside environment where you can see, firsthand, how your science translates into survival for the children we serve. Quite simply, at St. Jude, we encourage you to dream big and stop at nothing when it comes to finding cures and saving children.



As a part of the Center of Excellence for Data-Driven Discovery in the Department of Structural Biology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Babu Group seeks a highly driven, full-time experimental Lead Researcher with an exceptionally strong background in GPCR pharmacology and signal transduction. The Lead Researcher will design and carry out experiments aimed at understanding mechanisms of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling in human physiology and disease to develop novel therapeutic strategies.


The G Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) Collaborative is a recently established St Jude-funded national collaborative between six leading GPCR biology and pharmacology experts to reveal the molecular determinants and fidelity of GPCR signaling in health and disease. The goal of the Collaborative is to gain fundamentally new insights into GPCR physiology using state-of-the-art technologies that shift focus from time-averaged, ensemble investigations towards understanding the properties and functions of single molecules and assemblies in space and time. Almost all GPCR-targeting drugs act through the orthosteric binding site, which endogenous agonists bind to. The Collaborative is specifically focused on advancing initiatives beyond the orthosteric site to identify positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) and negative allosteric modulators (NAMs) that engage various receptor sites to amplify the response elicited by orthosteric ligands. These binders can influence and potentiate signaling pathway selectivity.


The Collaborative’s Aims will be accomplished by leveraging complimentary expertise of the Collaborative members:

M. Madan BabuMember, Dept. of Structural Biology, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Scott Blanchard, Member, Dept. of Structural Biology, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Jonathan Javitch, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Columbia University & NY State Psychiatric Institute

Robert Lefkowitz, Chancellor's Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Duke University

Georgios Skiniotis, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University

Alice Ting, Professor of Genetics, Biology, and Chemistry, Stanford University


The ideal candidate will be an expert in GPCR signaling, using biosensors to perform imaging, high throughput screening, and functional assays in mammalian cells. Experience using light microscopy, optical plate readers, or flow cytometry to study GPCRs and GPCR signaling is required. The candidate should have a broad biomedical sciences skillset, be collaborative and an inquisitive problem-solver who thrives in a fast-paced research group with diverse expertise. The appropriate candidate is recent PhD/MS graduate (no more than 3 y post-PhD) independently able to propose testable hypotheses based on your understanding of the GPCR literature, and design and carry out experiments to test them.


Please join us if you want to put your expertise in GPCR biology to work building platforms to discover novel allosteric modulators of medically relevant GPCRs which can be developed into safer and more efficacious medicines for cancer and other diseases.


The Babu Group uses data-driven approaches to understand sequence-function relationships in intrinsically disordered proteins and structure-function relationships in medicinally important structured protein families such as GPCRs and Kinases, respectively. The Lead Researcher will design and carry out experiments aimed at understanding mechanisms of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling in human physiology and disease to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Work from our group has revealed insights into signaling mechanisms linking the ligand-binding pocket in receptors (Nature 2013) to activation-dependent conformational changes (Nature 2016), the selective binding of G proteins (Nature 2017), and the allosteric activation mechanism of G proteins (Nature 2015). We have demonstrated that GPCR isoforms diversify signaling responses in different human tissues (Nature 2020) and that GPCRs are highly variable in the human population, contributing to variable drug responses and posing an economic burden on healthcare systems (Cell 2018).


The Babu Group strives to build and maintain a culture of respect, diversity, and inclusion and we strongly feel these values directly contribute to the dynamic and intellectually stimulating scientific environment we can provide.



  • Development of optical and high throughput assays for functional screens to dissect GPCR signaling
  • Using fluorescence and FRET/BRET-based reporters of GPCR signaling and ligand binding
  • Engineering mammalian cell lines and molecular cloning
  • Cell and molecular biology workflows
  • Meticulous electronic documentation of experimental observations, procedures, sample organization and results 
  • Collaborate with the Blanchard Laboratory, Structural Biology’s Protein Technology Center (PTC), and the Center for Advanced Genome Engineering
  • Plan and present research with passion and clarity
  • Contribute to development of working hypothesis through in-depth literature review
  • Prepare high-quality manuscripts for publication in high-impact journals


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is consistently named as one of Fortune magazine and’s “Best Places to Work,” as well as “Best Workplace for Women” and “Best Workplace for Diversity.” We are in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee, a vibrant and friendly city at the historic American crossroads of music, trade, food, and culture. Mild winters and beautiful green outdoor spaces are part of the reasons why Forbes recently named Memphis the 4th happiest city in which to work. Low cost of living and high quality of life are other attractions; Money magazine listed Memphis as one of the least expensive cities in which to raise a child. St. Jude salaries are highly competitive.


St Jude Employees receive:

  • Excellent healthcare plans with zero to low health premium costs
  • Onsite health clinic, pharmacy, and exercise facilities
  • Paid parental leave and adoption assistance
  • Immigration Services
  • Tuition Reimbursement


Minimum Education and/or Training:

  • Bachelor's degree in relevant scientific area is required


Minimum Experience:

State the minimum years of experience required to do this job successfully.

  • Five (5) years of relevant, post-degree work experience is required Bachelor's degree
  • Two (2) years of relevant post-degree work experience is required with a Master's degree
  • No experience is required with a PhD


Have More in Memphis

Get the best of big-city amenities mixed with all the charm of a small-town feel when you live in Memphis. From our world-renowned music scene to our eclectic mix of food and people. Memphis is a place our employees are proud to call home. Our region enjoys a cost of living more than 20% lower than the national average and our state places no personal income tax on wages. Plus, Memphians spend five hours less per year in their daily commute compared to the national average. Learn how you can “Have More in Memphis.”




In recognition of certain U.S. state and municipal pay transparency laws, St. Jude is including a reasonable estimate of the compensation range for this role. This is an estimate offered in good faith and a specific salary offer takes into account factors that are considered in making compensation decisions including but not limited to skill sets, experience and training, licensure and certifications, and other business and organizational needs. It is not typical for an individual to be hired at or near the top of the salary range and compensation decisions are dependent on the facts and circumstances of each case. A reasonable estimate of the current salary range is $65,520 - $114,400 per year for the role of Lead Researcher - Babu Lab.


Explore our exceptional benefits!



Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has a diverse, global patient population and workforce, built on the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. Our founder Danny Thomas envisioned a hospital that would treat children of the world—regardless of race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. Learn more about our history and commitment.


Today, we continue the mission to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. As we accelerate this progress globally, we believe our legacy of diversity, equity and inclusion is foundational to success. With the commitment of leaders at all levels of the organization, we strive to ensure the St. Jude culture, leadership approaches and talent processes are equitable and culturally responsive. View our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report to learn about the hospital’s roots in diversity, equity and inclusion, where we are today and our aspirations for an even better future.


St. Jude is an Equal Opportunity Employer


No Search Firms

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital does not accept unsolicited assistance from search firms for employment opportunities. Please do not call or email. All resumes submitted by search firms to any employee or other representative at St. Jude via email, the internet or in any form and/or method without a valid written search agreement in place and approved by HR will result in no fee being paid in the event the candidate is hired by St. Jude.

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