Postdoctoral Position in Host Defense Against Pneumonia

Houston, Texas (US)
Commensurate with experience
October 21 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

A fully funded postdoctoral fellowship position is immediately available in the Laboratory of Scott Evans at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Pneumonias are a leading cause of death in all populations, and exact a particularly severe toll on immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients receiving cytotoxic therapies. In an effort to protect vulnerable patients against lethal pneumonias, the Evans lab investigates means to manipulate the lungs’ intrinsic antimicrobial defenses to protect against the pathogens that people inhale or aspirate every day. Rather than rely on the canonical responses of leukocytes that are often deficient or dysfunctional in cancer patients, the focus of our work is on manipulating microbicidal responses directly from lung epithelial cells, a long-lived cell population that is largely tolerant of cytotoxic therapies. Using this approach, the Evans lab has discovered epithelium-focused immunostimulatory therapies that are now in FDA-approved clinical trials in a variety of settings. Our work now focuses on understanding how this manipulation can prevent both acute (lethal pneumonia) and chronic (asthma) complications of respiratory infections. Such understanding can allow development of next-generation therapies that exert even greater efficacy with even fewer off-target effects. Active projects in the laboratory include investigations into novel mechanisms to detect pathogens, into mechanisms of intra- and inter-cellular signaling events that promote synergistic protective responses, into the inducible microbicidal effector mechanisms that reduce pathogen burdens, and into immunomodulatory effects of our epithelial treatments that exert their effects independent of pathogen burden.

The Evans lab has “shovel ready” projects for postdoctoral fellows to lead on day one, but given the unconventional nature of the lab’s programs, applicants’ novel ideas for new projects are also encouraged. The Evans lab strives to be inclusive and supports a highly collaborative, team-oriented, learner-driven environment.

Successful applicants must have MD and/or PhD degrees with experience in immunology, microbiology, epithelial biology or other fields directly relevant to host-pathogen interactions. Postdoctoral fellows should be familiar with basic cell biology and immunology techniques. Strong written and spoken English communication skills are important to the positions, as successful applicants will participate in writing grants and papers, will present findings and novel research in various formats, and will provide supervision to more junior trainees. Experience with small rodents is a plus.

To apply for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Evans lab, please send a Cover Letter explaining your interests, a Curriculum Vitae describing your experience, and contact information for three (3) Referees to with the subject line: “Postdoc-Application – *Applicant’s Name*."

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