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Postdoctoral Training Opportunity - Viral Oncogenesis

The Laimins Laboratory is seeking an enthusiastic and dedicated postdoctoral researcher who is interested in studying the mechanisms of oncogenesis in cancers of the cervix and oropharynx caused by human papillomaviruses. Current NIH-funded projects include the role of DNA damage repair pathways in the development of HPV-positive cancers and virally induced changes in epigenetic regulation of cellular gene expression in cancers.

The Laimins laboratory studies the life cycle of high-risk human papillomaviruses, which are the causative agents of most anogenital and many oral cancers. HPVs link their life cycles to epithelial differentiation and their work has identified many important mechanisms regulating viral pathogenesis. The lab's work has demonstrated that HPVs activated the ATM and ATR DNA damage repair pathways and that this was critical for differentiation-dependent late events in the HPV life cycle. Inhibition of ATM or ATR kinase activity blocked genome amplification and late gene expression. Further work demonstrated that HPV proteins induced high rates of DNA breaks in both cellular and viral DNAs. The breaks in viral genomes were rapidly repaired through the preferential recruitment of homologous recombination repair factors such as RAD51 and BRCA1 to episomes and away from cellular sites of damage. This preferential repair was necessary for genome amplification and late gene expression. These studies have identified important roles for the DNA damage repair pathways in facilitating HPV replication and have provided many fundamental insights into how the differentiation-dependent viral life cycle is regulated.

Dr. Laimins is the author of over 160 manuscripts as well as a series of book chapters. He has trained 24 PhD students as well as 32 postdoctoral fellows. Many of these individuals now hold faculty positions at institutions such as the University of Georgia, Columbia University, Cleveland Clinic, Duke, Washington University, USC, Medical College of Wisconsin, Penn State, University of North Carolina, University of Michigan, and Northwestern University. He has served as PI of the Northwestern Virology T32 Training Grant and currently serves on the External Advisory Boards for T32 Virology Training Grants at Duke, Iowa, and Penn State.

To apply: Provide a cover letter describing your experience and your interest in the laboratory along with a CV and list of three references. Send information to

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