Research Associate

Working Title: Research Associate

Position Type: Professional Research Staff

Department: Cardiovascular Research Center

Location: Charlottesville

Posting Date: 07-17-2017

Posting Summary:
An NIH-funded postdoctoral research position is available in the laboratory of Dr. Gary K. Owens, which is located in the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC) at the University of Virginia, School of Medicine. The primary focus of the lab is to elucidate mechanisms that regulate the pathogenesis of late stage atherosclerotic lesions. Our long term goal is to develop novel therapeutic approaches for preventing plaque rupture, the underlying basis of most heart attacks and stroke, which are the leading causes of death worldwide.

Recent studies in our lab have employed novel mouse atherosclerosis models that permit simultaneous smooth muscle cell (SMC) tracing and SMC-specific conditional knockout (KO) of genes that we postulate control SMC phenotypic switching (Gomez et al., 2013 Nature Methods, Shankman et al. 2015 Nature Medicine) to show that: 1) SMC play a much greater role in lesion pathogenesis than has been generally appreciated; and 2) their role can be either beneficial or detrimental depending on the nature of phenotypic transitions and lesion context.

Possible projects include: 1) determining mechanisms that promote phenotypic transitions of SMC that contribute to increased plaque stability; 2) further defining phenotypic transitions of SMC within both early and advanced lesions and the mechanisms and factors that control them; 3) determining epigenetic mechanisms that control SMC-P plasticity, and SMC lineage memory; and 4) testing candidate therapeutic agents for their ability to promote phenotypic transitions of SMC, endothelial cells, and macrophages that contribute to increased plaque stabilization.

Although outstanding candidates in all areas of biomedical science will be considered, special consideration will be given to individuals with strong experience/expertise in: 1) studies of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis; 2) use of recombinant DNA/molecular biology techniques including cloning, generation of wild type and mutant transgenes and ESC targeting constructs, and CHiPs; and 3) working with transgenic and knockout mouse models.

Applicants must have a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree by the start date, as well as excellent written and oral communication skills. Eligibility for NIH post-doctoral fellowship funding is important, but not mandatory.

To apply, visit and search on Posting #0621305. Complete a Candidate Profile online; attach a curriculum vitae, cover letter, statement of research interest, and contact information for three references.

For additional information about the application process, please contact Sally Jackson, via email at or phone 434-982-6513.

Applicant review will begin 07/28/2017, and the position will remain open until filled. All applicants of interest will be contacted if we would like to move to the next step. Please do not email the lab directly to ask questions about position or status of hire.

The University of Virginia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

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