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Postdoctoral Training Opportunity - Mechanobiology

Note:  Applicants for this position must have a PhD and direct experience in computational genomics research.

The Backman Laboratory at Northwestern University’s Biomedical Engineering Department is seeking a postdoctoral trainee to join a cutting-edge research team at the crossroads of genomics, biology, physics, engineering and medicine. Their main goal is to investigate fundamental molecular questions and develop novel approaches relevant to the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other currently intractable diseases at early, treatable stages. The lab has developed a platform of pioneering super-resolution and nano-sensing optical microscopy technologies which, combined with genome mapping and other functional genomic approaches, allow us to study the causal relationship between the nanoscale structure of chromatin, global patterns of gene expression, and their alteration in disease. The successful candidate will work under the direction of Professor Vadim Backman, director of the Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering, and collaborate closely with Center researchers.

As evidenced by recent publications in Nature Biomedical Engineering, PNAS, Cancer Research, and Scientific Reports, the Backman group 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 lab provides a highly collaborative, transdisciplinary environment consisting of researchers with diverse backgrounds: biomedical engineering, molecular biology, mathematics, physics, chemical engineering, etc. Additionally, the Backman Lab 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.

They are seeking a highly motivated, enthusiastic, and creative candidate with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work independently as well as part of a collaborative team. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research integrating stem cell and molecular biology with projects focused on mechanobiology for applications in regenerative medicine. The main objective is to determine mechanisms underlying the influence of various external mechanical cues on gene expression and genome architecture, and ultimately on cell fate/phenotype.

It is anticipated that the trainee will engage in preparation of original manuscripts for conferences and peer-reviewed journals as well as participate in writing grant proposals.

Main Responsibilities

  • Design functional genomics experiments, including transcription and epigenetic
  • Investigate mechanobiology and mechanotransduction processes in


  • The lab seeks applicants with a strong background in mechanobiology
  • D. or M.D./Ph.D required, with proven experience in mechanobiology research
  • Proven track record 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

Prior Experience

  • Strong background in stem cell and molecular biology
  • Expertise in designing functional genomics experiments, including transcription and epigenetic profiling
  • Experience in investigating mechanobiology and mechanotransduction processes in cells
  • Previous experience working with animal models
  • 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.