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Postdoctoral Training Opportunity – Pharmacology in the Ziarek Lab

The department of Pharmacology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine invites applications for a postdoctoral scholar to work within Prof. Joshua Ziarek's lab.  

Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine is a premier research institution in downtown Chicago, Illinois. In 2023, it was ranked 13th among American medical schools by US News & World Report and 15th in NIH funding. The facilities and space available to the Ziarek lab at Northwestern University comprehensively include all the necessary state-of-the-art equipment and resources. Chicago offers a vibrant restaurant scene, superb music/art/culture, and a diverse international community.

Broadly speaking, our research interests are in the characterization of biomolecular interactions, the molecular mechanisms of allostery, and the rational design of molecular therapeutics/tools – with a long-standing interest in G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Unlike many signaling proteins that function as binary switches between ‘on and off’ states, GPCRs operate more like dimmer switches, with activity that can be increased or decreased along a continuum. Thus, there is immense therapeutic potential in the ability to tune receptor signaling using partial agonists, biased agonists, or allosteric modulatorsand it remains virtually untapped.

We employ a combined biophysical, biochemical, computational, and cellular approach to understand the molecular mechanisms of receptor activation and rationally design drugs/tools that combat substance abuse disorders. Current research projects employ cryo-EM, NMR spectroscopy, MD simulations, high throughput drug screening, and cell-based functional screening. In the last two years, our work has been published in JACS (PMC9936889), Cell Reports (PMC9930568), and Nature Communications (PMC10247727). A research summary of this NIH-funded position can be found here.

The position will be funded for three years (start date ASAP) with the possibility of extension although applicants must submit annual applications for external funding. The successful candidate will possess a strong background in recombinant protein expression (E. coli, insect, and/or mammalian), membrane protein characterization, and structural biology. Applicants with NMR experience are highly desired, while at least an interest in state-of-the-art spectroscopy is required.

Candidates should be highly motivated, open to new approaches and techniques, and be able to tackle demanding challenges. Our lab is committed to actively diversifying, supporting, and championing underrepresented groups in STEM.

Salary range starts at $56,484 annually and is commensurate with experience following NIH guidelines. The university offers excellent health insurance and benefits. Detailed benefit information can be found here.

Interested candidates with a PhD in biochemistry, chemistry, or a related field with relevant experience should submit their application to Prof. Joshua Ziarek at A completed application includes:

  • a curriculum vitae,
  • a brief summary of past research experience,
  • and contact information for three references.