Postdoc Position

Project Name: Inhibiting IGF-1 receptor signaling via viral insulins to stop IGF-1 mediated growth and cancer progression

Altindis Lab at Boston College Biology Department is seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow for a translational research project studying the role of viral insulins on insulin/IGF-1 signaling system, growth and cancer progression. We recently made a surprising discovery and showed that viruses encode insulin/IGF-1 like sequences, viral insulin/IGF-1 like peptides (VILPs)1-5. While most of the VILPs are natural agonists of the human receptors, we showed that two VILPs are natural antagonists of the IGF-1 receptor6,7. We seek a productive and independent postdoctoral researcher to join us working on further characterization of the viral insulins. The main goal of this project to further characterize viral insulins and determine their effects of their inhibitory action on growth and cancer progression. The position is available from September 2022.

Requirements

  • Applicant recently awarded aPh.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g., Sc.D., M.D.) in Cell Biology, Cancer Biology, Metabolism, Physiology or a related field.
  • Experience with basic molecular biology methods including, isolating DNA, RNA and protein from tissues and cells, PCR, qPCR and Western Blot, microscopy.
  • Experience working with mice: intraperitoneal injections (sc. i.p, vena cava) and dissection of the organs
  • Experience working with cancer cell lines and xenograft (CDX) models
  • Experience with AAV-8 vectors and transduction
  • Experience of mammalian cell culture of primary cells and cell lines and transfection
  • Experience with recombinant protein production using E. coli or other systems
  • Experience with basic insulin action experiments such as insulin/IGF-1 signaling, glucose uptake, cell proliferation.
  • Demonstrated scientific excellence; evidenced by publication track record as well as track record of presenting at national and international meetings.
  • The ability to perform creative and independent research
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Being a lab citizen, good communication and interpersonal skills. Kindness, respect and integrity in human relations.
  • Experience with high-throughput genomics, RNAseq, CHIP-Seq and next-generation sequencing preparation is a plus

Job Duties

  • Works under the supervision of Dr. Altindis for hypothesis development and experimental design.
  • Performs bench work using various molecular biology techniques and taking the major responsibility in one of the major research projects in the lab.
  • Breeding & keeping mouse colonies used in this project
  • Running xenograft experiments
  • Collaborates with other members in the lab for various research projects.
  • Participates in data processing, discussion, analysis and reporting as well as manuscript preparation and conference presentations.
  • Helps the PI and team in managing the lab.
  • Mentors junior lab members.
  • Applies for independent funding opportunities and awards during his/her/their stay in the lab and support the PI’s grant applications.
  • Prepare manuscripts and publish the results of his/her/their research during the period of the appointment
  • Contributes to the lab’s continued efforts to create an inclusive, safe and diverse lab culture

The appointment is typically viewed as preparatory for a full-time academic and/or research position.  

The Environment and the resources. The diverse faculty, collaborative research environment, growing investment in research, and location within the city of Boston altogether make BC an incredibly exciting place to conduct research as a researcher. Currently, Altindis lab is composed of three postdoctoral fellows and four graduate students comprised of biochemists, virologists, metabolism/insulin researchers and a computational biologist. We have established multiple national and international collaborations and laid a strong foundation on which to build Altindis lab’s line of independent research. In addition, Dr. Altindis has served on our inaugural departmental Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee since 2020 and committed to creating an inclusive and diverse laboratory culture and quite passionate about equity. Altindis lab is based at the BC Biology Department, which provides, state-of-the-art support facilities including core laboratories for sequencing, FACS analysis, imaging and animal facilities.  We also offer a remarkable training including the opportunity to collaborate with top insulin action and metabolism scientists in the world. Because Dr. Altindis is an adjunct faculty at Harvard Medical School and Joslin Diabetes Center, the appointee will be able to use Joslin Diabetes Center’s core facilities and will have close collaborations at Joslin.

The positions are available from September 2022. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the positions are filled, and the salary will be based on the NIH scale. More information: https://altindislab.com/

The application should be addressed to altindis@bc.edu and contain

1. Letter of motivation with a short description of your previous research and why you consider you are a good match for the position.

2. Curriculum vitae, including a description of relevant skills and experiences, as well as a full publication list.

3. Names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers to 3 reference persons.

Boston College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of any legally protected category including disability and protected veteran status. To learn more about how BC supports diversity and inclusion throughout the university please visit the Office for Institutional Diversity at http://www.bc.edu/offices/diversity.

Project Related References

1          Altindis, E. et al. Viral insulin-like peptides activate human insulin and IGF-1 receptor signaling: A paradigm shift for host-microbe interactions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115, 2461-2466, doi:10.1073/pnas.1721117115 (2018).

2          Huang, Q., Kahn, C. R. & Altindis, E. Viral Hormones: Expanding Dimensions in Endocrinology. Endocrinology 160, 2165-2179, doi:10.1210/en.2019-00271 (2019).

3          Chrudinova, M. et al. Characterization of viral insulins reveals white adipose tissue-specific effects in mice. Mol Metab 44, 101121, doi:10.1016/j.molmet.2020.101121 (2021).

4          Girdhar, K. et al. Viruses and Metabolism: The Effects of Viral Infections and Viral Insulins on Host Metabolism. Annu Rev Virol 8, 373-391, doi:10.1146/annurev-virology-091919-102416 (2021).

5          Zhang, F., Altindis, E., Kahn, C. R., DiMarchi, R. D. & Gelfanov, V. A viral insulin-like peptide is a natural competitive antagonist of the human IGF-1 receptor. Mol Metab 53, 101316, doi:10.1016/j.molmet.2021.101316 (2021).

6          MOREAU, F. et al. 1725-P: Viral Insulins as Agonists and Antagonists on Insulin/IGF-1 Receptors. Diabetes 69, doi:10.2337/db20-1725-P (2020).

7          CHRUDINOVA, M. et al. 336-OR: Mandarin Fish Ranavirus Viral Insulin/IGF-Like Peptide Inhibits Human IGF-1 Receptor. Diabetes 70, 336-OR, doi:10.2337/db21-336-OR (2021).

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