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Postdoctoral Training Opportunity - Group Leader, Cancer Biology


Note: Applicants for this position must have a PhD and direct experience in cancer biology and/or chromatin research.

The Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering at Northwestern University, directed by Prof. Vadim Backman, is seeking a postdoctoral trainee or research faculty to lead a multidisciplinary team of scientists conducting cutting-edge research at the crossroads of biology, genomics, physics, engineering and medicine. Their main goal is to investigate fundamental biological questions and develop novel approaches relevant to the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other currently intractable diseases at early, treatable stages. They have developed a platform of pioneering super-resolution and nano-sensing optical microscopy technologies which, combined with genome mapping and other functional genomic approaches, allow them to study the causal relationship between the nanoscale structure of chromatin, global patterns of gene expression, and their alteration in disease.

As evidenced by recent publications in Nature Biomedical Engineering, PNAS, Cancer Research, and Scientific Reports, the Center undertakes systematic approaches to understanding cancer development by integrating molecular dynamics simulations, live cell super-resolution nano-imaging, computational genomics, and genome mapping technologies.

The Center has received substantial sponsored and philanthropic support and provides a highly collaborative, transdisciplinary environment consisting of researchers with diverse backgrounds: biomedical engineering, molecular biology, computer science, physics, chemical engineering, etc. Additionally, the Center has collaborative projects with over 20 physicians, biomedical, and physical sciences investigators both internationally and domestically. Research projects reside within one or more priority areas: cancer biology, biophysics of the genome, or cancer therapeutics.

The lab is seeking a highly motivated, enthusiastic, and creative candidate with excellent interpersonal skills and a strong publication record. The successful candidate(s) will have the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research integrating molecular biology, epigenetics, and computational genomics. It is anticipated that he/she will engage in preparation of original manuscripts for conferences and peer- reviewed journals as well as participate in writing grant proposals.

Specifically, you will:

  • Supervise and coordinate teams of graduate students and technicians working in the different areas of the research
  • Analyze and integrate large datasets, including genomics and
  • Integrate molecular and physical aspects of genome
  • Perform ex vivo and in vitro cell culture and in vivo animal 


The Center seeks applicants with a strong background in cancer biology. Successful candidates will have a mixture of the following skills:

  • Degree:
    • Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D required, with proven experience in cancer biology research.
  • Prior Experience:
    • 3 years’ experience in cancer biology or chromatin research.
    • Proficiency using standard biochemical, molecular, cellular, and functional genomic techniques is required.
    • Prior experience with optical imaging techniques is desired.
    • Prior experience with whole cell imaging and computational skills are preferred but not required.
    • Experience in single cell data analyses and integrative multi-omics approaches is highly desired.
    • Demonstrated technical capability in analyzing complex omics data, including transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics; including differential analysis of multivariate datasets using common software tools.
    • Previous experience with systems biology approaches to integrating omics datasets into biological pathways/networks, i.e. biological network modelling preferred but not required.
    • Programming experience (preferably in Matlab and/or Mathematica) is preferred but not necessary.
    • Experience working with mouse models is a plus.
    • High level of numeracy, and knowledge of statistical analysis is highly desired.
  • Proven track record working independently and demonstrating critical thinking, problem solving, attention to detail and creativity are essential.
  • Excellent prioritization and project management skills.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills and fluency in both spoken and written English.
  • A solid record of quality publications in peer-reviewed journals showing an output commensurate with opportunity.

Qualified candidates should send a CV and cover letter to Benjamin Keane at

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.