An excellent training opportunity for junior/senior post-doctoral fellows is available in a dynamic cancer research laboratory of Marja Nevalainen, MD, PhD, Professor & Eminent Scholar, Dept. of Pathology and Pharmacology/Toxicology, Director of Prostate Cancer Center of Excellence, Associate Director of Cancer Research Career Enhancement and Related Activities, MCW Cancer Center, and Assistant Dean of Research.
The candidate will investigate Jak-Stat signaling in prostate/pancreatic cancer diagnostics, progression and therapy, and how Jak-Stat signaling promotes cancer progression to therapy resistant metastatic disease using human specimens as well as PDX and cell culture models. One area of current focus is on Stat5 regulation of DNA repair in prostate cancer. Marja Nevalainen’s group provided the proof-of-concept that Stat5 is a therapeutic target protein for prostate cancer. Her group demonstrated that Stat5 controls prostate cancer cell viability and castrate-resistant prostate tumor growth, and Jak2-Stat5a/b signaling induces epithelial- mesenchymal transition and stem cell-like properties in prostate cancer cells. Dr. Nevalainen lab further discovered that the Stat5 locus is amplified in castrate-resistant and metastatic prostate cancer, followed by an important translational finding that elevated active Stat5 in prostate cancer prior to intent-to-cure radical prostatectomy predicts development of castrate-resistant and metastatic spread of the disease in patients. The Nevalainen laboratory identified a family of novel small molecule Stat5 inhibitors with high efficacy in both prostate cancer and Bcr-Abl-driven leukemias.
Current work on pancreatic cancer is focused on the role of Jak-Stat signaling in pancreatic cancer growth and metastases processes. In addition, the projects ongoing in pancreatic cancer research include development of a predictive test to evaluate responsiveness of clinical pancreatic cancers to different available pharmacological therapies to assist the selection of an optimal chemo- or experimental therapy for each individual patient.
The ideal post-doc candidate should be highly motivated and demonstrate a passion for science, innovative thinking and the ability to work independently and effectively with the other members in the team. Previous knowledge in cancer biology is required with a minimum of one peer-reviewed publication. In addition, knowledge of scientific methodologies, procedures, and basic experimental theories/applications and strong critical/analytic thinking and ability to communicate effectively are required. This postdoctoral training position includes a strong support from the mentor for career development toward an independent investigator status.
- Work under the mentorship of the Principal Investigator to develop research projects consistent with the aims of the research program. This requires a thorough investigation of background information pertinent to the research project, and an ability to understand the theoretical basis of the work being performed.
- Design, set up, and execute routine and complex experiments in preclinical cancer models. Perform tissue culture experiments, animal bioassays and explant cultures of patient-derived cancer samples. Collect cells and tissues from in vitro and in vivo experiments for molecular biology analysis.
- Troubleshoot assays and customize experimental tools to answer research questions.
- Coordinate external and internal resources necessary for completion of the research plan.
- Generate clear, complete and timely records of experimental work.
- Participate in meetings with the Principal Investigator and research staff to evaluate and interpret the validity of data, develop methodologies and assess lab procedures.
- Communicate results of research at meetings and actively participate in the publication process of results.
- Attend pertinent research seminars and investigate new research articles at the request of the Principal Investigator and on own volition.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
Applicants must have motivation, communications skills, knowledge of scientific approach and methodologies, and ability to design and coordinate scientific research projects. The candidate is required to perform cell culture experiments using various methodologies. The fellow may also be requested to handle laboratory animals to understand basic biochemistry and techniques that apply to protein expression and purification. Techniques include tissue culture, transfection, Western blot analysis, RNA isolation along with other state of the art molecular, biochemical, immunohistochemistry, genomics and imaging methods. Trainees will receive training in a broad range of research methodologies and in writing scientific publications and grants. Studies involve in vivo and in vitro models of prostate and pancreatic cancer. Successful candidates must be organized and be able to work independently. Salary is dependent on experience and follows NIH-guidelines. This postdoctoral training position includes a strong support from the mentor for career development toward an independent investigator status.