Post-doctoral Fellowship – Zebrafish Model of Precision Oncology in Pediatric Rhabdomyosarcoma

Seattle, Washington State (US)
Commensurate with experience
April 23 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Washington is a dynamic department that strives for a consistent level of high achievement in all of its activities. The Department is a top ranked research organization as measured by research awards from the National Institutes of Health and offers an array of specialized educational training programs.

UW Laboratory Medicine and Pathology brings together state-of-the-art technology and highly trained, world renowned personnel to provide comprehensive diagnostic and personalized service to physicians, community hospitals, independent laboratories, and other health care organizations. Our operations are based at the University of Washington Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, South Lake Union, Northwest Hospital and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Pathology faculty members also serve at Seattle Children's Hospital, the Veteran’s Administration Puget Sound Healthcare System, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. These collaborative efforts have generated innovative, translational studies in the basic mechanisms of disease as they apply to diagnostic pathology.

The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at University of Washington Medical School is seeking a highly motivated research fellow to work in the laboratory of Dr. Eleanor Chen. The Chen lab uses gene editing (CRISPR) technology, functional genomics, cell-based and animal models to study disease pathogenesis and discover translational applications for pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma, a devastating pediatric soft tissue cancer.  As part of the interactive network of researchers in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Washington Medical School, the individual will be integrated into both the medical and research community.  The research fellow will also have the opportunity to interact with prominent researchers at the Stem Cell Institute as well as Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Research will mainly focus on characterizing human mutant variants in the zebrafish model of rhabdomyosarcoma. There are also opportunities to engage in additional characterization using human cell lines in vitro and xenograft mouse models in vivo as well as functional genomics to better understand molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying disease pathogenesis. Projects will mainly include

          - Site-direct mutagenesis or Gibson-based cloning for creating DNA constructs expressing human mutant variants.

          - Transient transgenic strategy through micro-injections to characterize the effects of mutant variants on tumor growth.

          - Live imaging and transplantation studies of fluorescence-labeled zebrafish tumors to characterize cellular events during tumor progression

          - Work with human cells expressing mutant variants to characterize tumor cells phenotypes and drug response.

Required qualifications:

          - A successful candidate should have a degree in PhD and/or MD

          - Productive scientific contributions through publication of high-impact papers

Desired qualities:

          - Strong interest in cancer research

          - A candidate with background in cancer research and/or animal models is highly desired but not required.

          - Advanced skills in any of the following areas: human cell line/zebrafish work, functional genomics and molecular biology.

For additional information about research in the Chen lab, please refer to selective publications from the lab:

a. Phelps M, Chen E. Zebrafish Rhabdomyosarcoma. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;916:371-89. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-30654-4_16. Review. PubMed PMID: 27165362.


b.  Phelps MP, Bailey JN, Vleeshouwer-Neumann T, Chen EY. CRISPR screen identifies the NCOR/HDAC3 complex as a major suppressor of differentiation in rhabdomyosarcoma. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016.


c. Pham TQ, Robinson K, Xu L, Pavlova MN, Skapek SX, Chen EY. HDAC6 promotes growth, migration/invasion, and self-renewal of rhabdomyosarcoma. Oncogene. 2021 Jan;40(3):578-591. doi: 10.1038/s41388-020-01550-2. Epub 2020 Nov 16. PubMed PMID: 33199827; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7855743.

Lab website:

 If interested, please send a CV and 3 references of contact to Dr. Eleanor Chen ( or  Salary will be competitive with NIH Fellowship pay scales.  Position start date is 10/1/2021.