Postdoctoral Fellow – Single Molecule Imaging of Protein Trafficking (3 positions)
Multiple postdoctoral fellows are sought to decipher the mechanisms of protein transport systems and the properties of membrane-less organelles using single molecule fluorescence (SMF) microscopy and single particle tracking approaches. For our nucleocytoplasmic transport project, the focus will be on obtaining high-resolution 3D trajectories of particles transiting through nuclear pores in order to characterize the pathway(s) of cargo transport. This challenging problem requires the development of a multi-color 3D PALM/particle tracking approach with high spatial (tens of nanometers) and time (millisecond) resolution. For our bacterial Tat transport project, the focus will be on developing single vesicle approaches to test our recently proposed Hairpin-Hinge Model, which postulates a molecular mechanism whereby signal peptide conformational changes are intimately connected with pore assembly and cargo transport through the translocation pore. Photobleaching analysis will be used to determine the oligomerization state of the receptor complex. For our membrane-less organelles project, the focus will be on determining the physicochemical properties of FUS (fused in sarcoma) droplets, which are thought to form via liquid-liquid phase separation. Specific issues to be examined include the mobility properties within droplets, the requirements for crossing the droplet-aqueous interface, the factors affecting conversion to the solid state, and the consequences of various disease-causing conditions.
Candidates with experience and/or interest in SMF microscopy, image analysis, MATLAB programming, and any of the three topics areas discussed above are encouraged to apply. A strong background and training in quantitative biology, with PhD emphasis ranging from physics to cell biology, is expected. An interest in biochemistry, biophysics and method development is essential. The ideal candidate will be highly-motivated, and will be able to work independently. The successful applicant will purify his/her own reagents, perform the single molecule experiments, and develop algorithms to analyze the results.
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