Postdoctoral Associate (TSPO), Environmental Health Sciences

Florida International University
Miami, Florida (US)
Commensurate with experience
September 17 2019
Organization Type
Job Type

Postdoctoral Associate (TSPO), Environmental Health Sciences

Florida International University is classified by Carnegie as a “R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity” and recognized as a Carnegie Community Engaged university. It is a public research university with colleges and schools that offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as business, engineering, computer science, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU contributes almost $9 billion each year to the local economy and is ranked second in Florida in Forbes Magazine’s “America’s Best Employers” list. FIU graduates are consistently among the highest paid college graduates in Florida and are among the leaders of public and private organizations throughout South Florida. FIU is Worlds Ahead in finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission with multiple state-of-the-art research facilities including the Wall of Wind Research and Testing Facility, FIU’s Medina Aquarius Program and the Advanced Materials Engineering Research Institute. FIU has awarded more than 220,000 degrees and enrolls more than 54,000 students in two campuses and centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell, FIU@I-75, the Miami Beach Urban Studios, and Tianjin, China. FIU also supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member of Conference USA and more than 400 student- athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit .

A Postdoctoral position is available for highly motivated candidates with background in cellular and molecular biology, to investigate the function of the mitochondrial protein Translocator Protein 18kDA (TSPO) in microglia. We offer an inspiring intellectual, collaborative and multidisciplinary research environment to support your career goals and provide access to state-of-the-art facilities.

TSPO function in microglia: Translocator Protein 18kDa (TSPO), previously named peripheral benzodiazepine receptor, is a mitochondrial protein that has been validated as a biomarker of brain injury and neuroinflammation and is widely used in preclinical and clinical studies. Our laboratory has a long history of studying TSPO as a biomarker of neuroinflammation and during the last 5 years we have concentrated our efforts in understanding the function of TSPO in microglia. We have discovered that TSPO interacts with NADPH Oxidase-2 in microglia and are examining the molecular, cellular, and functional aspects of this interaction. We seek a postdoctoral fellow with expertise in the generation of cell-specific conditional knockout mice. Specifically, a microglia- specific conditional TSPO knockout. The competitive renewal of this work is on year 20 and recently received an impact score of 10 (1 percentile). This work will use TSPO-knockout mice that are already in house as well as microglia-specific conditional TSPO knockout mice (to be generated) in order to study the function of TSPO in primary microglia and at the whole animal level. We have a number of behavioral, cellular, and molecular approaches that are available for these ongoing studies.

See below for selected previous publications:

Loth et al: Anovel interaction of TSPO with NOX2 in microglia (Under review), 2019.

Guilarte TR: TSPO in diverse pathologies and psychiatric disease: a critical review and a way forward: Pharmacol Ther 194: 44-58, 2019.

Coughlin JM et al: Imaging glial cell activation and white matter integrity in brains from active and recently retired National Football League players. JAMA Neurology 74: 67- 74, 2017.

Guilarte TR et al: TSPO finds NOX2 in microglia for redox homeostasis. Trends Pharmacol Sci 37: 334-343, 2016.

Loth MK et al: TSPO in a murine model of Sandhoff disease: presymptomatic marker of neurodegeneration and disease pathophysiology. Neurobiol Dis 85: 174-186, 2016.

Choi J et al: Translocator protein 18 kDa/peripheral benzodiazepine receptor ligands induce microglia functions consistent with an activated state. GLIA 59: 219-230, 2011.

Chen MK and Guilarte TR: Translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO): a molecular sensor of brain injury and repair. Pharmacol Ther 118: 1-17, 2008.

Chen MK et al: Peripheral benzodiazepine receptor imaging in CNS demyelination: functional implications of anatomical and cellular localization. Brain 127: 1379-1392, 2004.

Requirements: PhD degree in biological sciences with experience in neuroscience desirable. Strong background in cellular and molecular biology with expertise in generation of conditional knockout mice is preferable. Experience in studies using microglia is highly desirable but not a requirement. Ability to work independently, interpret, present, and discuss experimental data.

The start date of this position is expected immediately. A review of all applications will begin August 22, 2019 and will continue until the position is filled. To apply to this position, please go to Job Opening ID #519201 at

Interested candidates must attach: cover letter and CV. Candidates will be requested to provide names and contact information for at least three professional references who will be contacted as determined by the search committee.

FIU is a member of the State University System of Florida and an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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