Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Cell and Developmental Biology

Seattle, Washington State (US)
Based on experience
August 27 2019
Life Sciences
Organization Type

Cures Start Here. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, is an independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle. Its interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Laboratories in the Basic Sciences Division investigate diverse areas of molecular, computational, cellular, developmental, evolutionary and structural biology, metabolism, virology and immunity. We utilize a broad range of experimental and computational approaches and model systems. Fred Hutch provides outstanding colleagues, a collegial atmosphere, and a wealth of resources, including core resources for imaging, proteomics, genomics, flow cytometry, high content screening, and small animal research. Frequent meetings and external seminars provide many opportunities for inter-lab collaborations. Careers Start Here.

The Cooper lab is seeking a Cell biologist with interests in live cell microscopy to study adhesion dynamics during cell movement. The Cooper lab has a demonstrated history of high impact studies of signal transduction mechanisms associated with mammalian cell migration in cell culture and in vivo model systems.


Tyrosine phosphorylation-dependent protein ubiquitination regulates cell-matrix adhesion dynamics and movement of epithelial sheets. We know that tyrosine phosphorylation of specific adhesion proteins destabilizes adhesions. We found that phosphorylation also ubiquitin ligases to adhesions and that Inhibiting ligase recruitment stimulates adhesion disassembly. This suggests a cycle of protein binding, phosphorylation, ubiquitination and destruction that regulates adhesion growth. In principle, this mechanism regulates the balance between adhesion assembly and disassembly, and potentially could ensure that adhesions grow at the leading edge and shrink behind. Nevertheless, the sequence of events in individual adhesions has not been determined. The in vivo significance of these regulatory events is also unknown.

Our present efforts are directed to:

  • Measure the dynamics of protein appearance in and disappearance from focal adhesions and build a quantitative model for adhesion assembly and disassembly;
  • Use optogenetics to artificially recruit, exclude or activate specific regulatory proteins and establish the molecular mechanism;
  • Extend the in vitro observations to an in vivo development or disease system.

Candidates will be encouraged to build on these ideas and develop new directions for their research projects.


Successful applicants will hold a PhD or MD and have extensive experience and interest in cell and/or developmental biology. In addition, applicants should have a 2+ years of experience working on projects in mammalian molecular, cellular or developmental biology. Hands on experience with cell imaging or murine developmental biology is desirable. The candidate should be enthusiastic, scientifically rigorous and inquisitive. Since the Cooper lab is small, the candidate will need the technical skills, confidence and drive it takes to start new directions. The candidate will be responsible for all aspects of their research project. They must be able to function independently and also be highly collaborative. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential.


To apply please submit your CV, a cover letter detailing your research interests and suitability for this position, and the names of at least two references.

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