Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Post-Doctoral Fellow/Research Associate, Protein Engineering (dCas9) for Microbial Epigenetics (14462)

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Seattle, WA, United States


Cures Start Here. At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Careers Start Here.

The Johnston Laboratory in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is recruiting a highly motivated and creative Post-Doctoral Fellow/Research Associate to conduct research relating to microbial epigenetics, metagenomics and synthetic microbiology. The successful candidate will be involved in multiple funded projects that seek to create new technologies (dCas9 effectors) and methodologies to delineate and/or engineer the epigenetic landscape of the human microbiota. These projects will focus particularly on microbial communities that reside within human tumors and related clinical cancer specimens.

We are accepting applications from both recent graduate students and more senior post-doctoral fellows with 2-3 years’ of post-doc experience that may be suitable for a Research Associate track.


The Johnston Laboratory is an interdisciplinary and highly collaborative team of classically trained microbiologists, synthetic microbiologists, bioinformaticians and engineers. Using cutting edge technologies and methodologies, we seek to gain a deeper functional understanding of what bacteria are doing and how they are doing it. We then use that information to create novel therapeutics and engineer the next generation of microbe-based technologies for application in human medicine, synthetic microbiology and bioengineering.

Wet-lab: The ideal candidate must have extensive wet-lab experience in current synthetic biology/molecular biology techniques for protein engineering and purification (CRISPR-Cas/dCas9-effector engineering, purification and validation). Hands-on experience with human/microbial DNA methyltransferase enzymes would be advantageous and complementary to current projects. Experience with immunoprecipitation-based strategies for enrichment of DNA from complex specimens is a plus, but not required.

Dry-lab: The candidate should have computational expertise in software tools for molecular modeling and simulation software, familiarity with the protein modeling and design (e.g. Rosetta software/BioRender/Pymol), protein docking modelling, and an understanding of enzyme/protein structure-function relationships. Dry-lab experience with Linux-based bioinformatic software / data analysis environments (Python/R) is favorable. Familiarity with handling DNA/RNA sequencing data and related programs will be advantageous.


Please include a cover letter with your application, detailing your interest and suitability for this position.

Post-doctoral Fellow minimum qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Bioengineering, Protein Biochemistry, Molecular biology, or a related field

Research Associate minimum qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Bioengineering, Protein Biochemistry, Molecular biology, or a related field
  • Must have completed a minimum of 3-4 years as a post-doctoral fellow
  • Must have proven track record of high-quality peer-reviewed publications, including first-author publications are required
  • Appointment at this rank requires pre-approval of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division Director

Other Competencies/Qualifications:

  • Proven expertise with wet-lab synthetic biology techniques for protein engineering, ideally with a focus on dCas9 effectors
  • Molecular modeling and simulation software, familiarity with the protein modeling and design (e.g. Rosetta software/BioRender/Pymol) protein docking modelling, and an understanding of enzyme/protein structure-function relationships
  • Candidate must demonstrate outstanding personal initiative and creativity in problem solving
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills are required for manuscripts/grants preparation, public presentation, and collaboration with other researchers
  • Experience with effectively mentoring junior researchers is preferred
  • Experience with statistical analysis.
  • Excellent teamwork, time management and organizational skills
  • Ability to work independently in a dynamic and results-oriented environment
  • Ability to meet deadlines and multitask efficiently is a must

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Quote Reference: 14462