Rice University

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Postdoctoral Position in Theoretical Biophysics and Systems Biology

A postdoctoral position in theoretical biophysics and systems biology is available at the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP) at Rice University, for a collaborative project between the labs of Ido Golding (CTBP and Baylor College of Medicine), and Oleg Igoshin (CTBP and Dept. of Bioengineering, Rice University). We are looking for a motivated postdoctoral fellow to work with Drs. Golding and Igoshin on understanding stochasticity in cell-fate decisions.

BRIEF PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

Binary cell fate choices are a hallmark of biology, from simple bacteria to a developing human embryo. Experimentally, cell decisions often appear unpredictable, and this has been attributed to the inherent stochasticity (“noise”) of biochemical processes. But an alternative hypothesis is that this apparent randomness actually reflects the presence of “hidden variables”. If these variables were to be unveiled, the cell’s behavior will be revealed to be deterministic rather than stochastic. The Golding lab attempts to discover these hidden variables by experimentally probing cell fate choices, and the activity of the underlying gene networks, at the resolution of individual cells and individual molecular events within the cell. The experiments are performed in biological systems of increasing complexity, from bacteria to mammals. The Igoshin lab specializes in theoretical and computational systems biology, with emphasis on evolutionary design principles of biochemical and gene-regulatory networks, in both bacteria and stem cells. In particular, the lab has been interested in understanding the functional requirements of cell-differentiation, and in building mathematical models of the networks that fulfill these requirements. In this new collaboration, the two labs will work together to understand how cell-fate decisions are driven by deterministic and stochastic factors, both within the cell and from the external environment.

QUALIFICATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

PhD in science or engineering is required for this position.  Candidates with (1) training both in computational approaches and in biological sciences and (2) publications in the field of theoretical biophysics or systems biology are strongly preferred. Strong interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and English proficiency are also expected. The successful applicant will be responsible for developing analytical and computational models of stochastic cell-fate decisions, based on and tightly coupled to the ongoing experimental endeavors in Golding’s lab.

ABOUT CTBP:

The Center for Theoretical Biophysics (CTBP) is one of ten Physics Frontiers Centers established by the National Science Foundation Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. CTBP represents a collaboration between researchers at Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Houston. CTBP encompasses a broad array of research and training activities at the forefront of the biology-physics interface. The center has an exceptional track record of cutting edge research and of placing its alumni into academic positions in top US and foreign schools.

ABOUT RICE, BAYLOR AND THE TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER:

Rice University is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best teaching and research universities.
Rice is committed to cutting edge interdisciplinary biological research. It is a home to the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics and a Ph.D. Program in Systems, Synthetic and Physical Biology. The Department of Bioengineering is ranked among the nation’s top 10 bioengineering undergraduate and graduate programs. Rice is situated in the Museum District of Houston, Texas – the fourth largest city in the US. Across the street from Rice campus, Baylor College of Medicine is part of the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world.

CONDITIONS:

Rice University is an equal opportunity employer and offers competitive postdoctoral salary and benefits. The position is open from December 1, 2015 until filled. The initial appointment is for 1 year with renewal upon satisfactory performance.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE:

Applicants should submit their CV, contact information for 3 professional references, and a short (less than 2 page) research statement justifying their interest in the position to golding@bcm.edu and igoshin@rice.edu