Postdoctoral Associate - Henderson Lab

Durham, North Carolina
NIH Stipend Level - NIAID
October 26 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

The Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI) performs basic and translational research to fight against major infectious diseases. DHVI is seeking Postdoctoral Associates to join the fight against the HIV-1 virus.  The DHVI is an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental institute dedicated to the study of host-pathogen interactions that can be translated into biologics and vaccines. DHVI is composed of a team of highly interactive investigators that have expertise in mucosal and systemic immunology, virology, molecular and structural biology, computational biology, and animal medicine.


We are seeking a motivated individual with a background in both computational and experimental structural biology including computational protein design, molecular simulation and single particle cryo-electron microscopy or x-ray crystallography to join our team dedicated to the design of protective HIV-1 vaccines. The Postdoctoral Associate will work independently to develop and apply computational and experimental methods to areas that include the design of vaccine immunogens, optimization of antibody-antigen affinity, and enhancing our understanding of the antibody-antigen association process. The multi-disciplinary approach to vaccine development at DHVI will afford the Postdoctoral Associate exposure to many areas of vaccine research with a multitude of opportunities to apply both computational and experimental structural biology methods to efforts aimed at combating the HIV-1 pandemic. Under the guidance of the Principal Investigator, the candidate will be responsible for developing methodology, performing data analysis, designing and executing experiments, presenting the results at internal and external meetings, and drafting scientific publications. These studies will have a major impact on vaccine development that will be translated to first-in-humans clinical trials.


The Postdoctoral Associate will perform some or all of the following activities:

  • Computational protein design for development of immunogens for a protective HIV-1 vaccine.
  • Molecular simulation of HIV-1 Envelope proteins to inform vaccine design.
  • Computational design of antibodies to improve their ability to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 for use as antibody therapeutics.
  • Molecular simulation-based methods to estimate binding free energy changes and association and dissociation kinetics in the interaction between antibodies and HIV-1 Envelope protein constructs.
  • High-resolution structure determination via single particle cryo-electron microscopy of HIV-1 Envelope immunogen constructs in the absence and presence of antibodies.
  • Design, develop, and implement computational programs to assist with the performance of the above activities.
  • Present scientific results at meetings and publish results in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Training in bioethics, laboratory management, and scientific writing.
  • Maintain accurate laboratory documentation of experiments, including raw experimental data and laboratory notebooks.

The position requires a PhD in computational biology, bioinformatics, structural biology, biophysics, biochemistry, or a related discipline and a strong record of publications in peer-reviewed journals. The candidate is expected to have a strong background in computer programming and familiarity working in a high-performance computing environment. Ideal candidates will possess excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to work in a highly collaborative team environment.

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