Academics & Research

Immunology, Inflammation, & Infectious Disease (3i) Initiative

Available Postdoctoral Positions

The 3i Initiative has many opportunities for Postdoctoral Fellowships. For questions about any of the positions listed below, please email the contact in the posting. 

The following positions are currently available:



Postdoctoral Fellowship in Astrocyte Regulation (Keefe & Wilcox Lab)

The Keefe and Wilcox laboratories at the University of Utah are seeking a highly motivated and energetic postdoctoral fellow to use patch-clamp electrophysiology and 2-photon imaging of iGluSnFR astrocyte mediated glutamate clearance.

This research will examine the role of astrocyte regulation of excitatory neurotransmission in two disease models: 1) the development of habitual control over drug seeking, and 2) a novel infection model of temporal lobe epilepsy. Salary and benefits will be commensurate with qualifications and will follow NIH guidelines.

Click here or more information or to apply. 

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Colorectal Cancer (Yeatman/Pledger Lab)

The Yeatman/Pledger laboratory has recently focused on the molecular aspects of colorectal cancer (CRC) that influence tumor progression, serve as new targets for therapy and predict drug sensitivity/response.  We based much of this research on a large, comprehensive human databases (n = 2000) containing both gene expression and sequencing data.  We have identified a method to leverage gene expression signatures to identify impactful mutations that can influence tumor development or serve as biomarkers or targets for therapy.  We have identified a receptor tyrosine phosphatase, PTPRS, that appears to regulate RAS pathway activation through ERK.  We are interested in how this frequently mutated gene may alter drug sensitivity and recently described “adaptive resistance” to RAS pathway inhibitors (KRAS, BRAF, MEK, ERK).  Our experiments study functional genomics of specific mutations and signal transduction that relate them to biomarkers and possible targets we have discovered.  Additionally, we have now shown possible situations in CRC for repurposing FDA approved drugs such as EGFRi and SRCi. Other mutations that may be involved in CRC tumor development, progression and drug sensitivity which we may uncovered in our database will be investigated. The laboratory also seeks to explore mechanisms of growth regulation, stem cell development and metastasis that are altered in CRC. 


Timothy J. Yeatman, MD

Jack Pledger, PhD

 For more information contact Jack Pledger:



Postdoctoral Fellowship in Epilepsy (Wilcox Lab)

The Wilcox laboratory is seeking a highly motivated and energetic postdoctoral fellow to work at the interface between basic epilepsy research and therapy development in the department of Pharmacology & Toxicology. Salary and benefits will be commensurate with qualifications and will follow NIH guidelines. The proposed research will capitalize on the use of the first CNS infection-induced mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) to perform state of the art in vivo and in vitro 2-photon imaging experiments using our innovative genetically encoded calcium indicating protein toolkit. In addition, transgenic mice will be employed to study TLE in interacting networks of neurons and microglial cells during the process of epileptogenesis to test the hypothesis that tumor necrosis alpha signaling from microglia to neurons contributes to seizure generation following CNS infection.

The postdoctoral fellow will participate in a project implementing in vivo and in vitro 2 photon calcium imaging of microglia in a mouse model of infection-induced temporal lobe epilepsy for a newly funded NIH grant. Design, execute, and analyze imaging experiments related to the project. Numerous opportunities for in vitro electrophysiology experiments related to projects exist. Prepare and write manuscripts based on experimental data and present work at meetings.

Click here or more information or to apply.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Immunology of Gut Infections (Leung Lab)

The Leung lab ( in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah is seeking a postdoctoral fellow to work on translational immunology of gastrointestinal infections. Projects will utilize immunologic, genomic, microbiologic and epidemiologic methods to study human immune responses to enteric pathogens causing diarrheal illness, with a focus on V. cholerae. This position will involve international travel to work in collaboration with scientists in lower- and middle-income countries in Africa and Asia.

The successful candidate should have a doctorate in microbiology, immunology, or epidemiology. Experience in bioinformatics would be beneficial, though not essential. Candidates must have a PhD and possess excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Interested applicants should send a personal statement, CV, and names of 3 references to:

Postdoctoral Fellowships in Medicinal Chemistry (multiple positions) (multiple labs)

Several openings are available for postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Utah. Candidates with a strong background in chemistry and experience in all or some of the following techniques are preferred: organic synthesis, peptide synthesis, protein expression and purification, molecular cloning, enzymology, biochemical assays, tissue culture, light and fluorescence microscopy. For more information, contact: Prof. Katharine Diehl (, Prof. Amy Barrios ( or Prof. Eric Schmidt ( 


Postdoctoral Fellows in Neuroscience (multiple positions) (Shepherd Lab)

The Shepherd lab ( is seeking to recruit multiple postdoctoral fellows that will be fully funded. We are seeking innovative scientists who thrive in a multidisciplinary intellectual environment. The lab utilizes coordinated biochemical, cell biological, electrophysiological and imaging studies in vitro and in vivo, including state of the art techniques that range from in vivo two-photon microscopy in live animals to cryo-electron microscopy of protein complexes.

We recently discovered a novel mechanism of neuronal communication that resembles the life-cycle of retroviruses (

The neuronal gene Arc, a master regulator of synaptic plasticity and memory, contains a Gag retroviral homology domain that has conserved secondary structure with HIV-1 that is derived from a distinct family of retrotransposons. Arc protein self-assembles into viral-like capsids that are released from cells and carry RNA/proteins to neighboring cells. Our findings open up a new area of investigation in the cell biology of cell-to-cell communication, by revealing that some retrotransposon-derived genes retain the ability to form capsids that shuttle RNAs and proteins between cells. Ongoing projects in the lab aim to dissect this new intercellular pathway in health and disease that intersects diverse fields of biology that include virology, extracellular communication, evolutionary biology, gene delivery and neuroscience.

 Other projects in the lab include:

 - The synaptic engram - how networks of cells encode, store and retrieve information

 - How experience sculpts the brain, using in vivo 2-photon imaging in the visual cortex

 - The synaptic dysfunction that underlies neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's Disease and autism

 - Trafficking of neurotransmitter receptors at synapses

There is a growing and vibrant neuroscience community at the University of Utah, with an excellent quality of life. Nestled in the Wasatch mountains, Salt Lake City offers both cultural (Sundance Film festival) and outdoor recreation (over 5 world class ski resorts with 30 minutes and 5 National Parks) activities.

Expertise in any of the following areas is preferred:

Molecular neuroscience


Cell biology

Membrane biology


Cell imaging

Contact Jason Shepherd to apply (

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Pulmonary Epithelial-Immune Cell Crosstalk (Venosa Lab)


The newly established Venosa Laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Utah, invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher position beginning January/February 2020. The laboratory is embarking in a multidisciplinary project focused on epithelial-immune cell crosstalk during the pathogenesis of pulmonary injury and fibrosis. The lab is particularly interested in studying the impact of epithelial dysfunction (genetic mutations) in the context of air pollution exposure (i.e., ozone, particulate matter, wildfire smoke). To address these scientific questions, we combine a novel murine model of lung injury and fibrosis initiated by a missense mutation in the pulmonary epithelial cell specific Surfactant Protein-C, with immune cell lineage tracing (see related publications;

Successful candidates will have the option to focus the project in any of several related areas (immunological networks, molecular biology, ageing, transcriptomics/proteomics) based on their expertise and research interests. The ideal candidate will have a Pharm.D. and/or Ph.D. with training in toxicology, immunology and/or molecular and cell biology. In addition, the postdoc will be expected to carry the project independently and provide day-to-day mentorship to undergraduate and graduate students assisting with the research.


The Skaggs Pharmacy Institute is an interdisciplinary center committed to excellence in basic and translational research through collaborations within and outside the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology (i.e., Department of Pathology and the Division of Respiratory, Critical Care, and Occupational Pulmonary Medicine). The laboratory is housed at the Skaggs College of Pharmacy, a brand new research space completed in 2016. In addition to the research lab space, the University of Utah has implemented state of the art Core facilities in Flow cytometry, Cells Imaging, Stem Cell Biology, Metabolomics, Microscopy and Bioinformatics to support any basic and translational research needs.


Qualifications and Requirements

  • Pharm.D. and/or Ph.D. in Cell Biology, Toxicology, Immunology, or related Biomedical Fields
  • Solid background in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and cell biology
  • Hands-on experience with murine models, mammalian tissue culture, flow cytometric techniques, advanced sequencing techniques (RNA and ATAC-sequencing, single cell analytics), and high resolution proteomics is highly desirable
  • Record of publications in peer-reviewed international scientific journals


Application Procedures

For additional information regarding the project or to apply for this position, please email Dr. Alessandro Venosa ( with subject line Pharmacology and Toxicology Position with the following items attached:

  • Cover letter
  • Current CV
  • List of References (up to 3)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Small Cell Lung Cancer (Oliver Lab)

The Oliver Lab is seeking a postdoctoral candidate or senior scientist interested in small cell lung cancer.  The Oliver lab studies initiation, progression and therapeutic vulnerabilities in small cell lung cancer. We have exciting projects related to tumor metabolism, cell fate plasticity, and tumor immunology.  Please contact with a CV and cover letter.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Tumor Immunology (Oliver Lab)

The Oliver Lab is seeking a postdoctoral candidate or senior scientist interested in tumor immunology.  We have recently developed a novel mouse model of squamous lung cancer that harbors high levels of neutrophils. Neutrophils are enriched in human squamous lung cancer and correlate with poor prognosis and poor response to immunotherapy. Therefore, we hypothesize that these neutrophils are pro-tumorigenic and may be good therapeutic targets. Our work in currently in late stages of revision at Cancer Cell. We now seek to understand the role of neutrophils in squamous lung cancer. Toward this end, we are performing single cell RNA-sequencing and using preclinical mouse models to deplete neutrophils with clinically relevant drugs in vivo. We also seek to compare our findings in mice to neutrophils from human squamous lung cancer. We seek a postdoctoral candidate or senior scientist that is highly motivated and passionate with good communication skills. Experience in either immunology, cancer biology, or bioinformatics is desired. Please contact with a CV and cover letter.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Virology (Swaminathan Lab)

POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP available in Virology at the University of Utah – School of Medicine. NCI/NIH-funded projects focus on the host-pathogen relationship between oncogenic herpesviruses and the host cell.

Particular areas of interest are host restriction of virus reactivation and EBV and KSHV RNA-binding proteins involved in gene regulation. Targeting these proteins to discover novel antiviral compounds is an active area of research (See: Spironolactone blocks Epstein–Barr virus production by inhibiting EBV SM protein function, Verma D, Thompson D and Swaminathan S. PNAS March 29, 2016. 113 (13) 3609-3614). High throughput sequencing, recombinant molecular genetics and proteomics are being used to determine the role of virus proteins in modulating host cell gene expression and conversely, the role of cellular DNA binding proteins on virus reactivation.

Another area of interest is host epigenetic and immunologic methods of controlling EBV and KSHV replication.

(See: Li DJ, Verma D, Mosbruger T, Swaminathan S. CTCF and Rad21 Act as Host Cell Restriction Factors for Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) Lytic Replication by Modulating Viral Gene Transcription. PLoS Pathog. 2014 Jan;10(1):e1003880. Epub 2014  and

Li D, Fu W, Swaminathan S. Continuous DNA replication is required for late gene transcription and maintenance of replication compartments in gammaherpesviruses. PLoS Pathog. 2018 May 29;14(5):e1007070. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007070. eCollection.)

Additional projects include investigating the mechanisms by which interferon-induced host proteins inhibit virus replication and oncogenic driver mutations/chromatin modifications in virus-associated lymphomas.

The successful applicant will be expected to contribute to planning experiments and writing manuscripts and grant applications in addition to carrying out bench research. A Ph.D or M.D. degree is required and experience in virology is desirable. An ability to work in a team environment is also important. If interested, please send CV and names of three references by e-mail to

 Our laboratory is located in a newly renovated 4,000 square foot Infectious Diseases research facility in the Wintrobe Building at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The Department of Medicine received over $30 million in research funding and the University of Utah received more than $450 million in grants in 2017. The University of Utah was ranked first in the country along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in creating new startup companies from research-based inventions. The University of Utah consistently ranks in the top 25 in the United States for federally funded research in public universities and awards over 2,000 graduate degrees annually.

The University of Utah is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and educator. Minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Veterans preference. Reasonable accommodations provided. For additional information: