Postdoctoral Scholar - Department of Physiology and Biophysics

Date: 7/02/2019
Title: Postdoctoral Scholar
Department: Physiology and Biophysics
School: Medicine
Location: Wood Building, Room W-105
Supervisor Name and Title: 
Dr. Ardeschir Vahedi-Faridi, PI

Our research focuses on how gases cross biological membranes. Reduced ability to transfer O2 (particularly at high altitude) or CO2 limits performance, causes illness (e.g., acute mountain sickness), and delays wound healing. Inappropriate gas movements lead to decompression illness (N2), O2 toxicity, and CO2 narcosis. The objectives of the research project in the AVF laboratory is to understand the conduction of gases (Xe, O2, CO2 or N2) through membrane channels such as aquaporins (AQPs) and Rhesus (Rh proteins) through X-ray crystallography. The goal is to crystallize channel proteins with a gas (Xe, Kr) inside a pore, a inhibitor blocking the pore, locate the position of the gas and/or inhibitor, and simulate transport of the gas. Major approaches will be the generation of purified, recombinant  and native channel proteins; reconstitution of these proteins into vesicles made of natural lipids or block copolymers; generation of planar layers of lipids or block copolymers; crystallization of recombinant and native channels with or without inhibitors This research is funded by the Navy (Undersea Medicine). Applicants are required to have a PhD. A strong conceptual technical and practical background in membrane protein expression (in bacteria, yeast, mammalian cells), extraction, purification and crystallization are essential. Practical knowledge of microbiological techniques such as cloning and PCR, and previous experience with membrane protein X-ray crystallography are a plus. The applicant should be highly motivated, show initiative and be able to carry out research projects independently. Additionally, excellent oral and written English skills are a must and the applicant is expected to work towards deadlines. There will be fortnight online meetings with our collaborators. The successful applicant will also be expected to train students and research assistants in our lab.

The Postdoctoral Scholar will carry out :
1)    Channel protein expression, purification, crystallization (60 %)
2)    Analyzing X-ray data (processing, structure solution, refinement, validation) (20 %)
3)    Writing manuscripts for publication (15 %)
4)    Training students / research assistants (5 %)
  He/she will work closely with the PI in experimental design, data interpretation and writing manuscripts
 for publication

Perform other duties as assigned, support  PI of running the lab, make sure everything is ready for experiments 

    Within the department:  PI, other scientists in the lab, other departmental personnel, collaborators.
    Within the university: Safety and health officers, collaborators.
    External:  Vendors and service personnel of various pieces of equipment and computer software.
    Students:  Undergraduates and research assistant that work in the lab.


Requires a PhD degree in chemistry, biochemistry or structural biology. Prior experience in the following techniques are advantageous: DNA cloning, PCR, previous structural work on aquaporins and Rhesus proteins, treatment of protein crystals with noble gases. 

1.    Technical and practical background in membrane protein expression (in bacteria, yeast, mammalian cells), extraction, purification and crystallization
2.    Knowledge of X-ray crystallography (data processing, structure solution, validation) 
3.    Good organizational skills; ability to work towards deadlines, excellent oral and written English skills, preparation and submission of manuscripts
4.    Strong interpersonal skills; ability to work and communicate with various individuals from a broad spectrum of disciplines, technical and educational backgrounds within the department, School and University, and with individuals outside the University.
5.    Strong organization skills; ability to multi-task, prioritize and give attention to detail in order to complete tasks and meet deadlines. 

6.    Excellent customer service skills; ability to maintain effective working relationships and address the potential and current needs of customers. 

7.    Ability to work with sensitive information and maintain confidentiality.

8.    Ability to learn and apply new ideas, processes, policies, functions, etc. Must be highly motivated and a self starter.

9.    Ability to problem solve effectively; developing and implementing alternative solutions as needed. Must demonstrate good judgment and logical decision-making.

10.     Ability to work in a fast-paced, changing environment, and conform to shifting priorities, demands and timeline. Must be flexible in order to respond to project adjustments and alterations promptly and efficiently. Must be able to adapt to varying workloads and respond appropriately to stressful situations.

11.     Proven ability to follow-through on assigned projects and provide timely follow-up as needed.

12.     Technical competence with software with Microsoft office to include word, excel, powerpoint, access, publisher, and google chrome, firefox and outlook.


General laboratory environment.  .
Work is performed primarily in a lab setting with frequent interruptions and distractions; the research associate is regularly exposed to research specific chemicals, the employee is not exposed to explosive hazards, burn hazards and electrical shock. The noise level in the work environment is moderate.