Vanderbilt University (VU)

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Vanderbilt University (VU)

Nashville, TN, United States

The Lippmann Lab for Neurovascular Engineering and Therapeutic Design (lippmannlab.com) is accepting applications for two postdoctoral positions. Funding for these positions is provided the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) through a Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Award (go.chanzuckerberg.com/NCN). Background and position descriptions are listed below.


Lippmann lab background: Our lab is focused on modeling, understanding, and treating neurodegenerative diseases from the perspective of neurovascular function. We use human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), biomaterials fabrication, and engineering strategies to build representative tissue models of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and neurovascular unit (NVU) (Lippmann et al, Nature Biotechnology, 2012; Lippmann et al, Stem Cell Reports, 2015; Faley et al, Stem Cell Reports, 2019; O’Grady et al, Biomaterials Science, 2019). We also use these iPSC differentiation techniques with genome editing and in vitro selection/directed evolution strategies to study BBB function (Lippmann et al, Scientific Reports, 2014; Stebbins et al, Biotechnology Journal, 2018; Chiou et al, JCBFM, 2018). Our work is highly interdisciplinary, spanning engineering, neuroscience, and regenerative medicine.


Focus areas for these postdoctoral positions: The BBB serves as a critical endothelial interface for the brain and possesses a number of specialized properties, including extremely tight intercellular junctions, suppression of macrocytosis/pinocytosis, and expression of a large cohort of molecular transporters. Although many key differences in gene expression between BBB and peripheral endothelium have been identified, linking these genes to BBB-specific functions and signaling networks in health and disease remains challenging. We are designing and implementing a number of siRNA and CRISPR screens in cultured brain endothelial cells that will shed light on how the BBB phenotype is regulated, particularly with respect to molecular transporter expression and activity. We are also designing novel routes for assessing transport of specific compounds through the BBB. Likewise, we are interested in exten­ding these investigations into model organisms and across a variety of neurodegenerative disease states.


Requirements: These positions are immediately available, with flexible start dates for competitive candidates. Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent degree with strong research experience in any area pertaining to mammalian cell biology, engineering, chemistry, biochemistry, and neuroscience. Candidates with experience in in vitro CRISPR screening, in vivo neurovascular biology, and/or in vivo quantification of BBB transport are particularly encouraged to apply. However, due to the large breadth and scope of our research program, we value applications from a wide variety of backgrounds and research experiences, focusing on candidates that are productive, hardworking, self-motivated, and willing to branch out into new areas.

 

Responsibilities: Candidates are expected to be highly motivated, have excellent technical and communication skills, work effectively in a team-based environment while also performing self-directed research, and assist the PI in preparing grants and manuscripts. Given the interdisciplinary nature of these projects, candidates will also be expected to train and partially supervise younger graduate students while coordinating research efforts. Owing to the open-ended nature of many of these studies, creativity and independence are highly valued.


Training environment: The background of our trainees is quite diverse, with degrees spanning chemical/biomedical engineering, materials science, and molecular biology, and we value this diversity as we believe it enhances the training experience. Our lab is supportive, inclusive, and cares deeply about the success of trainees. Given that we are part of the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network through CZI, these postdoctoral positions will provide excellent networking opportunities and unique training experiences. Trainees will also be encouraged to attend other conferences and pursue other internal/external training opportunities as their projects develop. In addition, Vanderbilt University provides an excellent day-to-day environment to promote progress and productivity. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt is a top 15 research institution, yet has a very compact campus; all core resources and collaborating groups are within a 5-minute walk, which enhances efficiency, teamwork, and productivity for all members of our lab and collaborators. Likewise, Nashville is consistently ranked as a top city to live in the USA owing to its world-class music scene, food, breweries, outdoor activities, and weather.


Position details and application process: Compensation for these positions will be at or above NIH postdoctoral guidelines and will include a competitive benefits and retirement package offered by Vanderbilt University. Postdoctoral researchers will receive a renewable, annual contract with the expectation of completing 2-4 years of training. Flexibility to pursue work in personal areas of interest, to apply for grants and fellowships, and to develop independent research directions will be encouraged. Prospective applicants should submit a CV, a list of three potential references, and a cover letter with a brief description of research achievements, interests in our research program, and how working with us will help facilitate career goals. All materials should be emailed to Dr. Ethan Lippmann (ethan.s.lippmann@vanderbilt.edu) with the subject line “Postdoctoral position in the Lippmann lab.”


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Postdoctoral Research Associate