Post Doctoral Fellow in Cancer Biology

Houston, Texas (US)
NIH Scale based on years of experience (range $50,004 to $54,756)
September 23 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The laboratory of Dr. Faye Johnson in the Department of Thoracic, Head and Neck Medical Oncology is seeking a post-doctoral fellow to start in November or December 2019.

The research project is based on our recently published work that demonstrates that head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines harboring NOTCH1 mutations undergo cell death following PI3K inhibition in vitro and in vivo (1).  A clinical trial based on our research is ongoing.  The project will involve elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying PI3K dependency and sensitivity to drugs targeting the PI3K pathway in HNSCC tumors with NOTCH1 mutations and identifying molecular therapeutic targets that work in combination with PI3K pathway inhibition to maximize killing and prevent resistance.


Below are some examples of other relevant publications from post-doctoral fellows in our group (2-8).  Dr. Johnson has received two awards for mentoring excellence.  Houston is a large, dynamic, and affordable city. Houston is the most culturally diverse city in the USA.  The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is ranked No. 1 for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Hospitals” survey.


  1. Independently design and conduct research experiments, including performing animal experiments, data analysis, and manuscript publication.
  2. Supervise students and staff if needed.
  3. May be responsible for minor lab manager duties as needed.



  1. Self-motivated and independent.
  2. Received a PhD in Cell Biology, Cancer Biology or other relevant branches of biological sciences within the last 5 years.
  3. Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  4. Able to collaborate daily with diverse colleagues.
  5. Experience with molecular and cancer biology techniques.


Application process:

Interested applicants should send a curriculum vitae (CV); cover letter describing research experience and future career goals; and contact information of three references to Dr. Faye Johnson ( and Ms. Geneva Williams ( with the subject line “Postdoc Application in Cancer Biology.”


  1. Sambandam V, Frederick MJ, Shen L, Tong P, Rao X, Peng S, et al. PDK1 Mediates NOTCH1-Mutated Head and Neck Squamous Carcinoma Vulnerability to Therapeutic PI3K/mTOR Inhibition. Clin Cancer Res 2019 doi 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-3276.
  2. Singh R, Peng S, Viswanath P, Sambandam V, Shen L, Rao X, et al. Non-canonical cMet regulation by vimentin mediates Plk1 inhibitor-induced apoptosis. EMBO Mol Med 2019;11(5) doi 10.15252/emmm.201809960.
  3. Kalu NN, Mazumdar T, Peng S, Tong P, Shen L, Wang J, et al. Comprehensive pharmacogenomic profiling of human papillomavirus-positive and -negative squamous cell carcinoma identifies sensitivity to aurora kinase inhibition in KMT2D mutants. Cancer Lett 2018;431:64-72 doi 10.1016/j.canlet.2018.05.029.
  4. Zhang M, Singh R, Peng S, Mazumdar T, Sambandam V, Shen L, et al. Mutations of the LIM protein AJUBA mediate sensitivity of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma to treatment with cell-cycle inhibitors. Cancer Lett 2017;392:71-82 doi 10.1016/j.canlet.2017.01.024.
  5. Wang Y, Singh R, Wang L, Nilsson M, Goonatilake R, Tong P, et al. Polo-like kinase 1 inhibition diminishes acquired resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor inhibition in non-small cell lung cancer with T790M mutations. Oncotarget 2016;7(30):47998-8010 doi 10.18632/oncotarget.10332.
  6. Ferrarotto R, Goonatilake R, Yoo SY, Tong P, Giri U, Peng S, et al. Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition Predicts Polo-Like Kinase 1 Inhibitor-Mediated Apoptosis in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2016;22(7):1674-86 doi 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-2890.
  7. Sen B, Peng S, Tang X, Erickson HS, Galindo H, Mazumdar T, et al. Kinase-impaired BRAF mutations in lung cancer confer sensitivity to dasatinib. Sci Transl Med 2012;4(136):136ra70 doi 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003513.
  8. Sen B, Peng S, Woods DM, Wistuba I, Bell D, El-Naggar AK, et al. STAT5A-mediated SOCS2 expression regulates Jak2 and STAT3 activity following c-Src inhibition in head and neck squamous carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res 2012;18(1):127-39 doi 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-1889.

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