The Herbold Computational Biology Program of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington invites applications for the Mahan postdoctoral fellowship. The fellowship will provide an exceptional individual with an early start on their career as an independent scientist by providing a 21-month stipend to pursue their proposed research project in the laboratory of a Fred Hutch Computational Biologist mentor.
Faculty of any discipline or rank from the Fred Hutch, UW, or any other institute may be proposed as co-mentors. The project must be focused on a topic of biological interest, must involve a computational or mathematical component, and may include an experimental component. A laboratory trained scientist may satisfy the computational and mathematical requirement by including a training component in their proposal. Computationally strong candidates may include a laboratory training component as well. The research direction should reflect the interests and ideas of the applicant, although the final research proposal may be jointly designed; see Additional Information for more details on the application process and for a list of potential mentors.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is an independent, nonprofit organization providing adult cancer treatment and groundbreaking research focused on cancer and infectious diseases. Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Washington.
With a track record of global leadership in bone marrow transplantation, HIV/AIDS prevention, immunotherapy and COVID-19 vaccines, Fred Hutch has earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading cancer, infectious disease and biomedical research centers. Fred Hutch operates eight clinical care sites that provide medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy and related services, and network affiliations with hospitals in five states. Together, our fully integrated research and clinical care teams seek to discover new cures to the world’s deadliest diseases and make life beyond cancer a reality.
At Fred Hutch we value collaboration, compassion, determination, excellence, innovation, integrity and respect. These values are grounded in and expressed through the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. Our mission is directly tied to the humanity, dignity and inherent value of each employee, patient, community member and supporter. Our commitment to learning across our differences and similarities make us stronger. We seek employees who bring different and innovative ways of seeing the world and solving problems. Fred Hutch is in pursuit of becoming an anti-racist organization. We are committed to ensuring that all candidates hired share our commitment to diversity, anti-racism and inclusion.
Please direct all questions to Ruby Mae San Pedro, Computational Biology Research Administrator.
The Mahan Fellowship is made possible by funding from Mark and Nikki Mahan.
Key Application Dates
December 1, 2023
Notification to proceed with Full Proposals
December 18, 2023
Full Proposal Deadline
January 29, 2024
Notification of Final Selection
February 14, 2024
Earliest Start Date
July 1, 2024
Please submit the following materials/information through the Interfolio application portal:
Pre-application materials are due December 1, 2023
Final Application Phase (if invited)
Upon invitation by the review committee, please submit the following materials/information through the Interfolio application portal:
Full proposals are due January 29, 2024
John T. McCrone
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement
Fred Hutch is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. We ask that candidates submit a one- page statement that reflects upon their experiences and demonstrates a commitment to these issues. We are interested in learning how personal and/or professional experiences and events have shaped your perspective and what ideas you might implement as a post-doctoral fellow at Fred Hutch.
Applicant Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement
At Fred Hutch, we believe that the innovation, collaboration, and rigor that result from diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical to our mission of eliminating cancer and related diseases. We seek researchers who bring new ways of seeing the world and solving problems.
Fred Hutch is committed to ensuring that all candidates hired for post-doctoral positions share our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In order to identify candidates who share this vision, we require all candidates to submit a personal statement describing their experience and commitment to these issues.
Reviewers of applications will consider a candidate’s statement as part of a comprehensive and transparent evaluation of their qualifications.
Guidelines for Writing a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement
The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement may include:
Preferably, candidates will leverage examples from both their personal and professional lives. This may include how these topics are integrated into the process or fabric of your approach to scientific problems or their applicability to underserved populations.
Mentoring/Tutoring: This includes leading or participating in mentoring, advising, teaching, or tutoring activities for underrepresented groups (URGs) including colleagues, trainees, or the broader community.
Educational Outreach: This includes outreach efforts aimed at underrepresented students; attendance at a conference aimed at recruiting, supporting or advancing URGs; participation in panels or talks as a speaker on related issues.
Committee Service: This includes serving on committees or boards that focus on diversity, equity, and/or inclusion.
Research Activities: This includes research (articles, editorials, etc.) relevant to health disparities and/or that contributes to understanding the barriers facing URGs in higher education or that otherwise contributes to diversity and equal opportunity.
Other (e.g. recruitment/retention/teaching): These include efforts to diversify your research group or lab; other efforts to diversify your department or field.
To adequately protect the body from invaders, the adaptive immune system is trained to distinguish the immune self from non-self. T cell lymphocytes govern the adaptive immune system and are taught to make this distinction in the thymus during a process called positive and negative selection. A person’s T cell repertoire - is an almost unique fingerprint based on various environmental factors such as previous infections, but also genetic factors such as sex and HLA haplotype, which influence the positive and negative selection process. In my research, I hope to get more insights into how the characterization between the self and non-self is done. My project will aim to model the relationship between an individual's genetic factors and their repertoire and gain a little more understanding of the basis of immune recognition
Project: Structural and functional mechanisms of ribosome stalling
Accurate protein expression is essential for maintaining all cellular processes and is dependent on the stability of mRNA during translation. As such, the synthesis of proteins via the ribosome must be tightly regulated to prevent the accumulation of aberrant proteins. While significant progress has been made to uncover the ribosome’s role in gene regulation, protein synthesis, and antibiotic drug development, there is a lack of understanding on how the ribosome itself is regulated by the encoded peptide sequence. Furthermore, the mechanisms of ribosome-associated quality control pathways that initiate reduce factors to alleviate stalled and collided ribosomes remain elusive. My research aims to combine biophysical, computational, and genomic approaches to illuminate the structural dynamics of ribosome stalling and its implications on translation regulation.
Past Mahan fellows brought scientific and academic perspectives from around the world. They explored a variety of biological topics, from infectious disease to genetic expression. Students have gone on to pursue careers in laboratory science, which some staying on at Fred Hutch labs.
Project: Comprehensive characterization of T cells from patients undergoing checkpoint blockade immunotherapy
Checkpoint blockade immunotherapy is a revolutionary cancer treatment that activates a patient’s own immune system to destroy tumor cells. While highly effective in some cases, it is not entirely clear why this treatment sometimes fails to mobilize a patient’s T cells. To identify differences between these responders and non-responders, I will apply single-cell multi-omic sequencing to comprehensively characterize T cells from cancer patients undergoing checkpoint blockade immunotherapy. This study will reveal the key features of effective immunity before and after treatment, guiding development of new immunotherapies and enabling identification of predictive biomarkers to help doctors choose the right approach for each patient
I study the n-body problem of our immune system. How does human serum, with its millions of different antibodies, protects us against pathogens? A lot of groups are examining how single antibodies fight flu or HIV, but few are investigating collective antibody action. As the field moves in this direction, it will shed light on the full repertoire our immune system unleashes against viral invaders.
It is paradoxical how the misexpression of the same gene (DUX4) can cause disparate cellular phenotypes in two different diseases: muscle wasting in Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD), but uncontrolled cell proliferation in a subtype of B-cell precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (BCP-ALL). By analyzing the RNA expression in patient samples from both these diseases, Guo-Liang aims to understand the molecular basis of DUX4-induced pathology in both diseases, as well as to use the insights gained from one disease to develop therapies for the other.
Sequence data from emerging infectious disease epidemics are becoming a universal tool for gaining insight into how pathogens spread and how to control them efficiently. The project focused on rapidly evolving RNA viruses and how their evolution can be used to understand their patterns of transmission. The West African Ebola virus epidemic of 2013-2016 was a primary focus of the project, where the factors affecting the virus' ability to spread and proliferate within the region were determined. Simultaneously, in collaboration with Nathan Grubaugh and Kristian Andersen at Scripps, as well as researchers from University of Oxford, the project also investigated the nature of a Zika virus outbreak in Florida in 2016. The final part of the project focusing on reconstructing the epidemiology of Middle East respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (MERS-CoV) at the interface between its two known major hosts, humans and camels, is currently in review.
My research focuses on how viruses such as influenza evolve to infect diverse host species. Zoonotic transmission of influenza from avian and swine hosts to humans have the potential to result in pandemics with severe public health consequences. I am working to map the evolutionary pathways by which influenza can adapt to new species, and using this map to assess adaptation and thus pandemic risk of novel influenza strains. Overall, these studies will help us understand the specifics of influenza adaptation, and more broadly, how viral evolution is shaped by host genetics.
My research focuses on investigating the plasticity and heterogeneity of therapeutic T cells during adoptive cell therapy within solid tumors. I am working on using systems-level big data at bulk and single-cell resolution to map the signaling dynamics, epigenetic landscape of the therapeutic T cells within the context of the tumor microenvironment. Overall, my project will help us understand how to better engineering our T cells as a powerful weapon to treat cancer.