Post-Doctoral Fellow

Aurora, CO
Aug 30, 2017
Position Type
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

University of Colorado - School of Medicine

Post-Doctoral Fellow

This position reports directly to Dr. Matthew Taliaferro and is responsible for directing and performing research related to subcellular RNA localization in neurons. The goal of this research is to understand the mechanism by which individual RNA molecules are transported out to the projections of neuronal cells.

The spatial organization of proteins within cells is critical to their proper function. This is especially true in polarized cells and those with elongated structures like neurons. This spatial arrangement can be achieved by transporting fully translated proteins to their required destination. Alternatively, it can be done by transporting the instructions for making the protein, that is, an mRNA, to the desired location followed by on site protein production. The latter method has several advantages, including the allowance of rapid and robust translational responses to received stimuli. This RNA localization strategy is used widely in neurons. Approximately one thousand RNA transcripts are localized to the projections of neuronal cells (neurites). Their localization is controlled through the interaction cis RNA sequences in the transcripts (so called zipcodes for their ability to induce spatial sorting) and protein factors that bind these sequences and facilitate their movement. Of the approximately one thousand localized transcripts in neurons, the zipcodes that control their localization are known for only 10-20, representing a large gap in our understanding of this process. Mutations in the RNA-binding proteins that mediate RNA transport are associated with neurological disease, emphasizing the importance of RNA localization in the physiology of neuronal cells.

Active areas of research include (1) the mechanisms by which RNA-binding proteins involved in localization recognize and bind their mRNA targets, (2) high-throughput screening to identify RNA sequences with the ability to drive localization to neurites, and (3) the dynamic changes in localized transcriptomes in response to stimuli.

For additional information about the laboratory or to see recent publications, visit

Candidates will be expected to plan and execute independent work, write and submit fellowship applications (if applicable), assist in the writing and publication of experimental results, and contribute positively towards the atmosphere and culture of the lab.

Specific Position Duties with Percentages of Time

80% -

The overall goal of the work is to understand how mRNA molecules are trafficked to cellular locations, specifically the projections of neuronal cells. The techniques that the lab uses to study this phenomenon include mammalian cell culture, nucleic acid purification and sequencing, computational biology, single molecule RNA FISH, genome engineering, and molecular genetics. Experiments are to be designed and conducted to investigate the mechanism by which RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that regulate RNA localization recognize their targets and mediate their transport. These experiments will involve the culturing of neuronal cells, cell fractionation, high-throughput sequencing library preparation, and the bioinformatic analysis of the resulting sequencing data. Familiarity with standard bioinformatic tools and the ability to design and write custom software (preferably in Python and/or R) are preferred but not required. However, the candidate will be expected to put effort towards gaining these skills during the course of their research. Efforts will also be directed at confirming and extending findings from genome-wide experiments using single molecule RNA FISH and structure-function experiments using RNA reporters.

20% -

The candidate will also assist in the preparation of manuscripts to publish their work, the preparation of grant applications, both internal and external, and the preparation of scientific data for presentation at various meetings and conferences. The candidate will also mentor junior scientists in the lab in their scientific development.


The successful candidate is expected to be highly motivated, have ample scientific curiosity, have strong interpersonal skills, and be able to contribute in a positive manner to the collegial atmosphere of the laboratory and the department. The candidate will be expected to direct independent research, mentor more junior lab members, and apply for independent fellowship funding.

Minimum requirements:

  • PhD in biology or closely related field
  • Strong record of productivity as evidenced by peer-reviewed publications in internationally recognized English language journals
  • Excellent communication skills in the English language
  • Experience in molecular biology and cell culture techniques
  • Experience in computational biology techniques, including the generation of custom software, is preferred but not required

The candidate will contribute to research involving one or more of the following:

  • Molecular biology and biochemistry experiments
  • Cell culture involving immortalized mammalian cell lines and primary mouse tissues
  • RNA isolation and purification
  • Generation of next-generation sequencing libraries
  • Crosslinking and immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (CLIP-seq)
  • Genome engineering using CRISPR-Cas9, Cre/lox, and FRT
  • Fluorescence deconvolution microscopy and single molecule RNA FISH

Salary and Benefits:

Salary is commensurate with skills and experience. The University of Colorado offers a full benefits package. Information on University benefits programs, including eligibility, is located at Employee Services.

The University of Colorado Denver is dedicated to ensuring a safe and secure environment for our faculty, staff, students and visitors. To assist in achieving that goal, we conduct background investigations for all prospective employees.

The University of Colorado strongly supports the principle of diversity. We encourage applications from women, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and all veterans. The University of Colorado is committed to diversity and equality in education and employment.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires that verification of employment eligibility be documented for all new employees by the end of the third day of work. Alternative formats of this ad are available upon request for persons with disabilities.

Application Materials Required:Cover Letter, Resume/CV, List of References

Application Materials Instructions:

Applications are accepted electronically at CU Careers, refer to requisition ID: 10847

When applying, applicants must include:
  1. A letter of application which specifically addresses the job requirements and outlines qualifications, previous research experience, goals, and a statement of your interest in RNA biology, and start date availability
  2. A current Resume/CV
  3. The names, addresses, daytime telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for three professional references, either attached to your resume/CV or uploaded as a separate document
Please be advised that the University does check references as part of the employment process.

Please do not submit any of your application material (via email) to the job posting contact.

Job Category: Faculty

Primary Location: Aurora

Department: H0001 -- Anschutz Medical Campus - 20085 - SOM-BioChem&Molecular Genetics

Schedule: Full-time

Posting Date: Aug 29, 2017

Closing Date: Ongoing

Posting Contact Name: Karen Vockrodt

Posting Contact Email:

Position Number: 00737075