Postdoctoral Associate - Genome Editing and Homology Directed Repair

Postdoctoral Associate - Genome Editing and Homology Directed Repair

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Berkeley, CA, United States

Job Description

About HHMI

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is a science philanthropy whose mission is to advance biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. We empower exceptional scientists and students to pursue fundamental questions about living systems, and work to share scientific discoveries with researchers, students, and science-curious individuals around the world. Founded in 1953 by aviator and industrialist Howard R. Hughes, HHMI is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and employs more than 2,500 people across the U.S. Visit to learn more about working at HHMI.


Postdoctoral Scholar position at UC-Berkeley:  Genome Editing and Homology Directed Repair

The Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) and Chemistry at The University of California, Berkeley invite applications for a Postdoctoral Scholar position starting in 2019. The Postdoctoral Scholar will work with the Doudna and Savage labs, and in close collaboration with others, to advance genome editing towards facile gene insertion and allele replacement.

Genome editing technologies are enormously powerful tools for introducing targeted genetic alterations in a wide variety of cell types and organisms. This process involves creation of a double-stranded break (DSB) in a DNA sequence of interest followed by repair by non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) or homology-directed repair (HDR). NHEJ repair is efficient and results in variable-length insertion or deletion mutations (indels) at the site of the nuclease-induced DSB. HDR can be used to introduce precise alterations (e.g., point mutation(s) or insertions up to several kilobases in length) but is less efficient and requires an exogenous single- or double-stranded donor template that is homologous to the genomic region surrounding the DSB.

Various strategies have been attempted to improve methods of precise sequence insertion or alternation but none have proven to be robust. For example, small molecules used to inhibit components of the NHEJ repair machinery also induce cell toxicity because they inhibit a major DNA repair pathway used by most cells. Given the essential nature of the NHEJ and HDR pathways in mammalian cells, we believe that the goal of making HDR robust and highly efficient will almost certainly not be solved by a single perturbation or strategy. We envision the development and exploration of multiple approaches for increasing absolute and relative HDR rates followed by testing of combinations of successful strategies to achieve the desired goal of robust, efficient homologous recombination-mediated gene editing.

The goal of this postdoctoral position is to explore molecular and cellular mechanisms of NHEJ and HDR pathways with an eye towards developing tools for reliable gene insertion and allele replacement in clinically relevant samples. They will develop and conduct studies in vitro to characterize HDR proteins and networks through expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology. They will independently lead this component of the project, while collaborating closely with others.

Position Qualifications: A Ph.D. with a strong background in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, genetics, or related field. Experience with working in teams, as well as an ability to work independently, is essential. 

Appointment: This position reports to Jennifer Doudna and will be working at UC Berkeley. The initial appointment is 100% for one (1) year with the expectation of extension based on satisfactory performance and availability of funding. The anticipated start date of this position will be as early as February 2019. Salary is according to published scale, depending on qualifications. This position provides full benefits. This recruitment will remain open until filled.

Applicants should submit a CV and a summary of research experience.


HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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Quote Reference: Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)-hhmi-931-908