Postdoctoral Fellow

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Updated: September 18, 2019
Job ID: 214573
Status: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Location: Bethesda, MD, United States

Join the HJF Team!

HJF is seeking a Postdoctoral Fellow to support the Department of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), located in Bethesda, MD. HJF provides scientific, technical, and programmatic support services to the Department of Surgery. This position requires US Citizenship due to having to obtain a Secret Clearance. 

Research activities will focus on two complex, trauma-related pathologies, highly relevant to the military; specifically, combat-related heterotopic ossification (HO) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). With the supervisor’s guidance, the Post-Doctorate Fellow will have the opportunity to conduct independent research to dissect the mechanism of combat trauma-induced HO development, test novel early diagnostic tools for HO detection, and identify promising therapeutics to inhibit HO using a robust, well established rat model of HO developed by the research team. Traumatic brain injury research will focus on identification and characterization of TBI-specific biomarkers in a ferret model of TBI and utilize this model to assess the effects of aeromedical evacuation on brain injury. The goal of this research program is to improve outcomes associated with TBI and hemorrhagic shock, especially under the combat-relevant scenario of aeromedical evacuation, by utilizing early predictive biomarkers in TBI to guide therapeutic regimens. This position provides a high level of exposure to a wide variety of experimental models, as well as a unique opportunity to learn advanced aspects of fundamental basic biology of HO and TBI, preclinical research models and predictive data analysis. Must be flexible with work schedule and able to work some nights and weekends.


1. The employee will work with and under the supervision of the Department of Surgery’s Scientist.
2. The incumbent will independently plan and perform experiments towards dissecting the temporal mechanism of early HO development by imaging, histology, cell culture and gene expression studies within tissues subjected to trauma. TBI studies would involve characterization of the transcriptome profile of multiple regions of ferret brain tissue and whole blood post TBI.
3. The position involves conducting a wide variety of research tasks and experiments including, but not limited to aseptic tissue sample collections and processing, RNA extraction and purification, gene expression analysis, and other techniques as needed/required.  Assignments require the performance of complex laboratory tests, determinations, and analyses involving multiple animal and laboratory procedures and a variety of technical approaches.
4. Independently perform immunological, cellular, molecular, biochemical, histological, and/or other related experiments, solve/report scientific/technical problems encountered during research, collect and analyze research data, prepare and deliver posters and oral presentations for internal progress reports, grant submissions and scientific meetings, and write scientific manuscript(s) for publication of completed research in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
5. Participate in research-related activities in conjunction with other staff members and external collaborators including formulating and writing grant proposals, planning and management of research projects.
6. Manage projects of moderate size and scope; makes substantial contributions to determining feasibility of goals and objectives. Identifies problems and related technical issues leading to long-term, generic solutions; identifies relevant technical approach for solving problems and meeting research objectives and milestones.
7. Supervise junior research staff to include research assistants, medical residents, graduate students and summer interns.
8. Maintains external research relationships to identify and develop new funding sources.
9. Perform other assigned duties.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

1. Ability to obtain a DoD security clearance.
2. Excellent interpersonal, oral/written, and presentation communication skills.
3. Excellent cellular, molecular and statistical analysis skill sets.
4. Excellent organizational skills and project management.
5. Demonstrated ability to speak before large and small groups of people.
6. Demonstrated ability to work independently and take the initiative to solve problems.
7. Demonstrated ability to work with accuracy and attention to detail.
8. Demonstrated ability and willingness to work flexible hours.
9. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively across cultural boundaries and work harmoniously with diverse groups of students, faculty and staff.

Minimum Education/Training Requirements: PhD in the areas of regenerative medicine, neuroscience, anatomy, physiology, cellular and/or molecular immunology, cell biology, stem cell biology, or related fields.  The candidate should have a record of success in research, as evidenced by strong research methods experience, excellent writing skills, first-author peer-reviewed publications and grant writing, and excellent letters of reference. Experience using personal computer and basic software packages to include statistical analyses.

Minimum Experience:  0-2 years

Physical Capabilities: Position involves exposure to chemicals, biological materials, rodent and ferret tissues in a laboratory setting.  Long periods of standing and/or walking may be required.

Supervisory Responsibilities: Monitors the work of junior staff to ensure that correct and safe laboratory procedures are followed; provides direction to assure completion of technical tasks and projects. May supervise junior scientists, engineers or technicians on assigned work; provides major input to staffing of overall project teams; builds teams and staff to optimize efficiency. Identifies and evaluates candidates for open positions.

Work Environment: Tissue culture and cell biology research and development laboratory.

Background: Must be a U.S. Citizen and obtain a DoD Security Clearance. Eligibility to obtain a Common Access Card (CAC).

Employment with HJF is contingent upon successful completion of a background check, which may include, but is not limited to, contacting your professional references, verification of previous employment, addresses, education, and credentials, a criminal background check, drug screening, and a department of motor vehicle (DMV) check. 

HJF is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

Any qualifications to be considered as equivalents, in lieu of stated minimums, require the prior approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer.