Post Doctoral Fellow - Molecular and Cellular Biology

Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina

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Clemson University: College of Science: Biological Sciences
Post Doctoral Fellow - Molecular and Cellular Biology

Location: Clemson, SC

Applications are welcomed for an exciting new training prospect in the molecular and cellular biology of intracellular parasitism. Toxoplasma gondii is an opportunistic protozoan parasite that can cause severe disease (encephalitis, retinitis, birth defects) in humans and animals. Considered a paradigm for intracellular parasitism, T. gondii is easily grown in culture, has excellent animal models, and is readily amenable to genetic manipulation.

This project involves uncovering the heme metabolism in Toxoplasma parasites for their intracellular infections and investigating the application of the avirulent heme-deficient Toxoplasma parasites as a novel immunomodulator. Recently, our lab published a research article in PLOS Pathogens, characterizing the essential role of the plant-like heme biosynthetic pathway in Toxoplasma for its infections. These findings suggest that the heme metabolism is a potential druggable target for managing toxoplasmosis. Additionally, the complete loss of acute virulence in the heme-deficient parasites is a unique feature for them to serve as a microbial immunomodulator.

We aim to identify the molecular mechanism by which Toxoplasma parasites produce and regulate heme production and develop a novel immunomodulator using avirulent Toxoplasma parasites by using state-of-the-art molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology techniques along with animal models. The successful candidate will have an opportunity to help lead this project, including developing new methodologies, writing research manuscripts and proposals, and mentoring graduate and undergraduate students, en route to a career as an independent investigator.

The successful candidate is expected to
• solve research problems, assist in designing research methodologies, perform research, and summarize and share research results with the PI
• prepare proposals/fellowship applications for extramural and/or intramural funding
• present research results to faculty, students and/or other scientific staff
• prepare research results for publication in scholarly journals
• attend seminars and meetings
• assist in teaching and training of graduate, undergraduate, and other scientific staff


Candidates must have a Ph.D. and/or M.D., or equivalent degree. Previous experience in parasitology is not necessary. Competitive applicants will have a record of outstanding achievements and the potential for success as a leader in academic or industry research.


To be considered for the role, you must submit a cover letter stating interests and career goals, a C.V. including a list of publications, and the contact info for three individuals willing to provide reference letters to

For full consideration, please apply by December 15, 2021. The position will remain posted until filled.

Questions about the role can be submitted to Zhicheng Dou, [email protected]

Clemson University is an AA/EEO employer and does not discriminate against any person or group on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, pregnancy, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or genetic information. Clemson University is building a culturally diverse faculty and staff committed to working in a multicultural environment and encourages applications from minorities and women.



Working at Clemson University

Clemson is a dynamic research university located in Upstate South Carolina at the center of the booming I-85 corridor between Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga. One of the nation’s most selective public research universities according to U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Clemson University is the school of choice among top students in South Carolina and is increasingly competitive for the best students in the region and the nation. More than 17,100 students select from 70 undergraduate and 100 graduate degree programs through five academic colleges: Agriculture, Forestry and Life SciencesArchitecture, Arts and HumanitiesBusiness and Behavioral ScienceEngineering and Science; and Health, Education and Human Development.

Clemson’s transformation into a leading research institution — currently attracting in excess of $140 million in externally funded research and sponsored program awards per year — is based upon an academic plan that identifies eight emphasis areas in which the University has opportunities to increase education and research, to align with South Carolina’s economic development needs and to draw upon faculty strengths. Emphasis areas include automotive and transportation technology, advanced materials, biotechnology and biomedical sciences, leadership and entrepreneurship, sustainable environment, information and communication technology, family and community living, and general education.

Major economic development initiatives that have emerged from the academic plan include the Clemson International Center for Automotive Research — a 250-acre campus in Greenville, which has generated more than $225 million in public and private commitments in just four years; an advanced materials initiative at the Clemson Research Park, which includes a new LEED Silver-certified facility; and the South Carolina Health Sciences Collaborative — an initiative of the state’s three research universities and major health-care systems.

As the state’s land-grant university, Clemson reaches out to citizens, communities and businesses all over South Carolina. The Public Service Activities division includes the county-based Cooperative Extension Service, five off-campus research and education centers through the Clemson University Experiment Station and critical regulatory responsibilities for plant and animal health.

The University boasts a 1,400-acre campus on the shores of Lake Hartwell within view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Surrounding the campus are 18,000 acres of University farms and woodlands devoted to research. A warm campus environment, great weather and recreational activities offered by proximity to both the natural surroundings and large cities are part of the Clemson Experience.


Points of interest at Clemson include the following:

The Clemson Conference Center and Inn is a state-of-the-art facility for symposia, meetings, seminars and special events. The complex includes the Madren Continuing Education and Conference Center, the Walker Golf Course and the Martin Inn.

The South Carolina Botanical Garden, a 295-acre public garden, features several thousand varieties of ornamental plants and a unique collection of nature-based sculptures.

The Robert Howell Brooks Center for the Performing Arts brings an exciting array of concert, theater, dance, comedy and other live performances to the community.

The Robert Campbell Geology Museum at the Botanical Garden displays meteorites, minerals, dinosaur fossils and the largest faceted-stone collection in the Southeast.

The T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena is a showplace for livestock activities in the state and has hosted horse and livestock shows, rodeos, sales, 4-H activities, educational programs, and industrial and agricultural exhibitions.

Fort Hill, the home of John C. Calhoun and later of his son-in-law, University founder Thomas Green Clemson, is a registered National Historic Landmark located in the center of campus.

The Class of 1944 Visitors Center is the front door to Clemson — a friendly place to get tours, information, assistance and an introduction to this beautiful, historic university and community.

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