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Postdoctoral Fellow, Epigenetics, Tumor Biology

La Jolla, California
Closing date
Nov 30, 2021

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Life Sciences, Biology, Epigenetics
Position Type
Full Time
Job Type
Postdoc Fellowship
Organization Type
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Pfizer Oncology R&D is working to change the trajectory of cancer by translating breakthrough discoveries in cancer research into the best medicines imaginable for cancer patients. The Epigenetics and Biochemistry and Quantitative Pharmacology groups have two postdoctoral positions available for highly-motivated candidates with expertise in enzymology, structural biology, biochemistry, cell and systems biology. Based in La Jolla, California, these scientists will work collaboratively to leverage unprecedented chemical and biological discovery platforms to further our understanding of lysine acetylation biology.

Genomic DNA is organized in the cell in repeating nucleosomal units which are further compacted into dense arrays. Chromatin structure is dynamic and directly related to gene expression. Chromatin structure is influenced, in part, by multiple modifications that exist on histone proteins, including methylation and acetylation of lysine residues within the histone tails. Lysine acetylation neutralizes the positive charge on histones and serves to physically relax chromatin, which increases accessibility to allow proteins involved in DNA transcription, replication, or repair to physically access the genome and execute their functions. Thus, lysine acetyltransferases (KATs) perform important regulatory functions and consequently, in cancers they are frequently targeted by mutations, translocations, and amplifications. The dysregulation of these enzymes can result in global changes in histone acetylation patterns, as well as gene-specific changes leading to altered transcription of oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes.

KATs are known to work in the context of large protein complexes. The Postdoctoral fellows will seek to better understand the function, specificity and regulation of these various KAT complexes and the impact of cancer associated KAT genetic alterations on their function. A foundation for this work will be characterization of relevant HAT complexes using a comprehensive platform of enzymatic characterization of KAT complexes, structural biology, cellular biology, CRISPR gene editing technology, and medicinal chemistry resources. This position will be focused on identifying the functional impact and cross-talk between various members of MYST family KAT complexes.

  • Apply genetic and pharmacological approaches to modulate protein expression and function to assess impacts on protein acetylation, composition of KAT complexes, and gene regulation.
  • Work independently and collaboratively to conceive, design, execute, analyze/interpret, and refine experiments ranging from biochemical and molecular assays, epigenomics techniques such as ChIP-seq, RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, and proteomics approaches.
  • Independently, but with guidance by experienced mentors, develop results into compelling stories for publication in major scientific journals and presentations on major scientific meetings and conferences, both internally and externally
  • Specific duties to include: CRISPR/CAS9 editing, RNAi, viral vector delivery, transfection, antibodies, small molecules and other pharmacologic approaches, and stable cell line generation.
  • Collaborate with groups to perform and analyze data including ChIP-seq, RNA-seq, ATAC-seq to support mechanism of action studies.
  • Execute secondary assays across various technology platforms - qRT-PCR, immunoprecipitation, ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq, FACS, immunofluorescence, western blotting, ELISA, high content imaging
  • Use electronic data capture/analysis tools such as Excel, GraphPad, Biobook, Spotfire and PowerPoint for experimental documentation and data analysis/presentations.
  • Present research results and methodologies at weekly meetings with immediate supervisor and/or project leader, and at meetings with members of the oncology research unit as appropriate.
  • Contribute to building a culture that embraces scientific excellence, urgency, partnerships with key stakeholders, continuous learning and improvement, increasing technical skill base and cancer biology expertise; take a proactive role in personal growth and scientific development.

  • Ph.D. in biomedical sciences with focus on cancer Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, or Biochemistry (or a comparable biological science) with a track record of scientific accomplishment as exemplified by first author scientific publications
  • Experience in nucleic acid and protein techniques and downstream analyses including quantitative RT-PCR, immunoprecipitation (including ChIP), CRISPR/CAS9, and immunoblotting.
  • Experience with computational tools for epigenomic data analysis is desired
  • Ability to work in a team environment; excellent written and oral communication skills in English;strong presentation skills and ability to discuss data at project team meetings.
  • Excellent organizational skills, willingness to learn new skills, and demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a team


Lifting, sitting, standing, walking, bending, ability to perform mathematical calculations and ability to perform complex data analysis


Non-Standard Work Schedule, Travel or Environment Required

Relocation support available


Pfizer requires all U.S. new hires to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the first date of employment. As required by applicable law, Pfizer will consider requests for Reasonable Accommodations.

Sunshine Act

Pfizer reports payments and other transfers of value to health care providers as required by federal and state transparency laws and implementing regulations. These laws and regulations require Pfizer to provide government agencies with information such as a health care provider's name, address and the type of payments or other value received, generally for public disclosure. Subject to further legal review and statutory or regulatory clarification, which Pfizer intends to pursue, reimbursement of recruiting expenses for licensed physicians may constitute a reportable transfer of value under the federal transparency law commonly known as the Sunshine Act. Therefore, if you are a licensed physician who incurs recruiting expenses as a result of interviewing with Pfizer that we pay or reimburse, your name, address and the amount of payments made currently will be reported to the government. If you have questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact your Talent Acquisition representative.

EEO & Employment Eligibility

Pfizer is committed to equal opportunity in the terms and conditions of employment for all employees and job applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or gender expression, national origin, disability or veteran status. Pfizer also complies with all applicable national, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act and IRCA. Pfizer is an E-Verify employer.

Research and Development

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