Post-Doctoral Scientist position

University of Massachusetts Medical School
Worcester, Massachusetts (US)
Commensurate with experience (NIH scale). Benefits include health, dental, vision, life insurance
July 02 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Position Description: Host-pathogen interaction & Immunology

funded Post-Doctoral Scientist position is immediately available in the lab of Sam Behar, in the Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The UMMS campus is located west of Boston, on the east side of Worcester, where a staff of 300 basic science faculty and nearly 3,000 clinical and nursing faculty, are supported by more than $280 million in funding.

My lab studies immunity to tuberculosis and our main focus is on macrophage and T cell mechanisms that combat pulmonary Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection in vivo. We rely on the mouse model of aerosol infection, but also confirm the relevance of our findings in human subjects with tuberculosis (TB), through strategic partnerships. By understanding the immunological basis for protective immunity, our ultimate goal isto inform TB vaccine design.Thus, we integrate mouse models with human data, exploit mouse genetics, develop innovative models and assays, to gain insight into the pathogenesis of TB, and how the immune system can be manipulated to improve protection against disease caused by TB. 

Job Summary: Research focuses on pulmonary immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis using in vitro and in vivo models.  Two NIH funded projects are available:

1. The successful candidate will lead a project that will focus on a reverse immunology strategy to identify antigens that are associated with protection by using TCRs identified in the lungs of NHPs and people. These TCRs will be expressed in vitro and used to screen an expression library of Mtb proteins. The identified antigens will then be tested in a mouse model for their ability to elicit protective immunity. This will be a collaborative effort and provides the opportunity to collaborate with some of the leading researchers in the field of tuberculosis. This position will provide an excellent opportunity for training and career development in the areas of host-pathogen interactions, genetics, and vaccines. 

2. As Mtb is a successful pathogen that persists in humans despite a robust immune response, we are working towards the goal of defining the mechanisms used by T cells to restrict bacterial replication. We wish to define the basic signals that lead to T cell activation and determine how they regulate protective effector functions. These include 1) the strength of TCR signaling; 2) the role of CD4+ T cell help and IL-2; and 3) the participation of a third signal (i.e., an inflammatory cytokine). Finally, much of what we know about T cell immunity to Mtb is based on studies of primary infection. A more comprehensive understanding of memory T cell responses is needed for vaccine development. In particular, we are studying how primary and secondary CD8+ T cell responses differ in their effector pathways and regulation. Our answers will illuminate how T cells mediate protection, and also validate protective pathways that can function as biomarkers to guide vaccines development and evaluation.

Requirements for this position are: 

  • Ph.D.or M.D., with a strong background in immunology, microbiology, or genetics
  • Must pass background check required for work with select agents and in a BSL3 laboratory
  • Willingness to work with infectious and biohazardous materials and animals
  • Evidence of experience through first author publications in peer reviewed journals.
  • Excellent communication, critical thinking skills, and the ability to work as a team member


  • Strong background in immunology and T cell biology
  • Experience working with bacterial pathogens and/or in a BL3 lab environment
  • Experience in flow cytometry and cell sorting, molecular biology, and mouse work 
  • Experience with the design, utilization, and evaluation of murine disease models
  • Excellent organizational, time management, and multitasking skills. 

Job responsibilities:

  • Design, plan, perform, and interpret experiments to investigate the immunological and genetic basis of vaccine-induced protection against tuberculosis using the collaborative cross mouse panel, with an emphasis on identifying immune correlates of vaccine induced protection.
  • Other duties include mentoring, participation in grant & manuscript writing, and other lab tasks.

Applications should include your curriculum vitae, a statement of interest, and references, and may be submitted by email to: Sam Behar (


More information about my research can be found at: 

UMass Profile

NCBI publications:

SciENcv Biosketch:

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