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Postdoctoral position in developmental epigenetics

Posted by , on 13 November 2020

Closing Date: 15 March 2021

We are looking for an ambitious Postdoctoral Research Scholar to join the Developmental Epigenetics and the Environment Lab led by Dr Michael Cowley at North Carolina State University. The goals of the Cowley Lab are to understand how the developmental environment impacts the epigenetic regulation of the genome, and to understand the consequences of this for development and metabolic health. Our work sits at the interface of genetics, developmental biology and environmental health science.

Recent work in the Cowley Lab has identified a novel function for imprinted genes – defined by their expression from a single parental allele – in programming metabolic disease susceptibility (manuscripts in preparation). Specifically, we have demonstrated that a coordinately regulated transcriptional network of imprinted genes programs non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in response to an adverse developmental environment. NAFLD is one of the most prevalent liver diseases in the world. The Postdoctoral Research Scholar will conduct original research to understand the epigenetic mechanisms that regulate this imprinted gene network and understand how these are modulated by environmental factors, including diet and toxicants. The Research Scholar will also seek to determine the molecular and cellular pathways through which altered imprinted gene expression causes disease. We were recently awarded a 5-year NIH R01 to support this work.

The Research Scholar will develop hypotheses, design studies, perform experiments, analyze and interpret data, and write manuscripts for peer review. The project will integrate data acquired through the use of a wide range of tools and techniques including, but not limited to, transgenic mouse models, primary cell culture systems, in situ hybridization, DNA methylation analyses, chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to high throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq), transcriptomics, western blotting, histology and whole organism physiology.

The Research Scholar will be expected to contribute to the training of students and to make intellectual contributions to other ongoing projects in the lab. Other responsibilities will include: contributing to laboratory organization and management, contributing to the preparation of grants to secure further funding for the lab, presenting data at scientific conferences, and participating in career development workshops and activities. The Research Scholar will be encouraged to submit applications for postdoctoral fellowship awards.

The Postdoctoral Research Scholar must have:

  • a PhD in biology or a related subject
  • experience of research in at least one of the following fields
    • genetics
    • epigenetics
    • developmental biology
    • metabolism
    • toxicology

The following are highly desirable:

  • evidence of relevant experience in the form of peer-reviewed published manuscripts and presentations at appropriate conferences
  • expertise in molecular biology (particularly techniques relevant to epigenetics and gene transcription), cell culture, histology and physiology.

The Cowley Lab, based in the Department of Biological Sciences at NC State University, benefits from affiliations with the well-established and research-intensive Programs in Genetics and Toxicology, as well as the Center for Human Health and the Environment (CHHE), one of only 23 NIEHS-funded Core Centers in the US. The aim of CHHE is to understand how human health, at both the individual and population level, is impacted by environmental factors and to implement this knowledge to prevent and reduce the adverse impacts of environmental factors on human health. Through CHHE, the Cowley Lab benefits from a pilot project program and access to core services, including the Systems Technologies Core (proteomics, metabolomics, metallomics and genomics along with dedicated bioinformatics support), the Comparative Pathology Core and the Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core (to facilitate translation of basic research). Together, these affiliations provide the Research Scholar with a network of potential collaborators and training opportunities.

Inclusiveness and diversity are critical to the success of the Department of Biological Sciences, CHHE and the University. The selected candidate will be expected to foster an environment that is supportive and welcoming of all groups.

Further information on current projects in the Cowley Lab can be found on our website:

To apply, please visit


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