Postdoctoral position in neurovirology and neuroscience

Grand Forks, North Dakota (US)
February 01 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

A postdoctoral position is available in the Yakoub Lab at the University of North Dakota. The Yakoub Lab works on the areas of viral pathogenesis in the human brain and brain diseases, using cutting-edge technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas gene editing, stem cells, human neurons, human brain organoids and knockout/knockin mouse models. This research is likely to give rise to paradigm-shifting fundamental discoveries and impactful publications in outstanding scientific journals. Therefore, this is a great opportunity for a highly motivated ambitious junior scientist who wants to become established in the field and advance to an academic faculty, or industrial leadership, position in the near future.

Our previous work has led to seminal discoveries, and has been featured by top journals and media, such as Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, AAAS EurekAlert, Drug Target Review, The Independent, The Atlantic, The Daily Mail and Pharmazeutisch Zeitung. Examples of our work include:

(i) Viral Pathogenesis Mechanisms: We mapped out some of the essential machinery required for entry and egress of herpes virus into, and from, the cells using cell culture, mouse and ex-vivo human organ models (J Virol 2014, 88:12915-22; Nature Communications 2015, 6:6985; PLoS One. 2014, 9:e87302). We also investigated in depth the various distinct functions played by autophagy in innate immune responses to viral infections (Sci Rep 2015, 5:9730; Sci Rep 2015, 5:12985; PLoS One 2015, 10:e0124646).

(ii) Antiviral Therapies Development: including a highly potent antiviral drug that showed dramatically greater efficacy over existing antivirals that are in medical use today, a therapeutic peptide and a nanotherapy (Science Translational Medicine 2018, 10:eaan5861; J Virol 2015, 89:1932-8; J Immunol 2016, 196:4566-75)

(iii) Developing Human Brain Organoid Models to Study Neurodevelopmental Disorders: e.g. an optimized methodology to build an in-vitro human brain like 3D tissue (cerebral organoids, or “human mini-brains in a dish”) using advanced bioengineering techniques in human stem cells (Cell Transplantation 2018, 27:393-406; Neural Regen Res 2019, 14:757-761; Cell Transplantation 2019, 28:1173-1182).

Example ongoing projects and research directions include:

(i) Studying virus-brain interactions, and the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis for the devastating viruses, SARS-CoV2 and Zika virus. These are currently some of the most high-priority research areas, given the existing COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Zika virus pandemic.

(ii) Developing viral tools and technologies for neuroscience research (e.g. to trace human brain circuitry and map out the cellular/molecular bases for behavior), and disease therapy (e.g. developing gene therapies for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases or for ALS).

(iii) Studying human brain development and its disorders, which includes understanding the molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopmental diseases (e.g. autism) and the molecular bases for human-specific brain development and the evolution of cognitive/intellectual functions, using human brain organoids and humanized mouse models.

(iv) Autophagy roles in brain development and disease: including linking the roles of autophagy in certain neuronal subtypes in the brain to behavior and learning and memory functions, and developing therapies that target this mighty process.

A PhD earned or expected to be earned in the near future is required. Experience in cell culture, stem cells, mouse models, brain histology, imaging, cell and molecular biology, protein biochemistry and/or neurobiology is desirable. Critical and independent thinking skills and motivation (being self-driven) are essential for success in this position.  

To be considered for this position, please send your CV to Prof. Abraam Yakoub at

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