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Research Investigator - Cancer Biology

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Closing date
Jan 29, 2022

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Health Sciences
Organization Type
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The Cancer Biology department has a long history of being a leader in the field of basic and translational cancer biology research. The department emphasizes the training of students, postdoctoral fellows and clinical fellows in the fundamentals of tumor biology to improve the outcomes of patients with malignancies. The department has built a program with close ties to many clinical departments to facilitate information exchange between the laboratory and the clinic. As such, faculty in the department are investigators on NIH funded collaborative cancer biology research grants. In addition, there are several physician-scientists who have joint appointments in Cancer Biology, facilitating the exchange of clinically-relevant information between the laboratory and the clinic.


The primary purpose of the Research Investigator is to work independently and/or under the supervision of the PI in a highly productive laboratory and to conduct research related to overcome immune suppressive tumor microenvironment, define tumor intrinsic resistance mechanisms to immunocheckpoint therapy and identify synthetic lethal targets in a number of cancer types, including brain cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer.

The Research Investigator is expected to conduct both cell culture work and animal studies using many different types of models, including 2D, 3D culture systems, organoids, PDX, GEMM and rapid ES-derived GEMM, among others. In addition, it is expected that the Research Investigator will gain expert level skills for various techniques required to address a scientific question, including CyTOF, imaging-CyTOF, scSeq, other omics and downstream bioinformatic analysis in consultation with in house computational scientists.

As the goal of our research projects are translational, we expect that the Research Investigator will actively participate in collaborations with outstanding clinicians to potentially move the bench discoveries to the clinics as exemplified by several ongoing clinical trials in prostate cancer and colon cancer. Finally, the Research Investigator are expected to support PI's grant application as well as writing reviews and manuscripts through which the Research Investigator will gain a deep understanding on the art of scientific writing and presentation. The position requires independent decision making, judgment and organizational skills.

Recent publications: (Zhao et al., Nature 2017; Lu et al., Nature 2017; Hu et al., Cell 2016; Liao et al., Cancer Cell 2019; Chen et al., Cancer Cell 2019; Zhao et al., Cancer Discovery 2020; Hou et al., Cancer Discovery 2020).


Lab Studies

Performing laboratory studies using complex techniques (e.g. nucleic acid
extraction, PCR, immunoblotting, immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry) as
well as tissue culture (maintaining mammalian cells, growth assays). Presents data for
analysis. In addition, both transgenic mice and transplantation animal model, PDX etc are heavily used in the lab

Experiment Design

Assists the principal investigator with design of experiments.

Equipment Maintenance

Responsible for equipment maintenance and coordinating repair of malfunctioning units for lab.

Orders Supplies

Orders and organizes supplies (including tissue culture medium) as needed.

Project Results

Compiles, writes and submits project results to PI.

Study Immune Suppressive Microenvironment and Define Optimal Therapeutic Approach for Patient Translation

Imaging CyTOF and CyTOF, FACS analysis will be used extensively to document the effect of various oncogenic events on tumor microenvironment using various animal models, i.e. colon cancer, prostate cancer and brain cancer.

Synthetic Lethal Screening

Targeted screening will be performed to define targets that enhance immune checkpoint effect in vivo. In addition, synthetic lethal screening will be performed on the above cancer types to identify novel therapeutic targets followed by validation in clinical samples.


Required: Bachelor's degree in one of the natural sciences or related field.

Preferred: Master's degree in one of the natural sciences or related field.


Required: Five years of experience in scientific or experimental research work. With preferred degree, three years of required experience.

It is the policy of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to provide equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or any other basis protected by institutional policy or by federal, state or local laws unless such distinction is required by law.
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