James Madison University

Postdoctoral Fellow: Mechanisms of Transcriptional Repression by Sequence Specific Transcription Factors

Department of Biology

An NSF-funded postdoctoral position (39 months) is available in the Department of Biology at James Madison University (JMU), with a flexible start date of May 1, 2021. The LONG-TERM RESEARCH OBJECTIVE: understanding the molecular mechanisms by which HES proteins mediate transcriptional repression during embryogenesis and to test predictions of HES mediated repression genome-wide and across developmental stages, using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system.

The fellow will examine the effect of HES protein binding on chromatin status and RNA polymerase occupancy at target genes while utilizing artificial neural networks or other modeling methods to test predictions of HES mediated repression. In addition to mentoring opportunities through engagement with undergraduate and Masters research assistants, the fellowship includes a mentored teaching experience through development, implementation and assessment of a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) to probe for physical interactions between HES proteins and other transcriptional regulators. The co-PIs include Dr. Casonya Johnson, serving as primary research mentor, Dr. Chia-Hsuan Yang, co-mentor and provides computational, programming, modeling expertise, and Dr. Patrice Ludwig, co-mentor and provides expertise in assessment of learning and student outcomes. As such, this is an excellent opportunity for candidates seeking an interdisciplinary research experience, or who seeks to balance bench science with scholarship of teaching and learning.

JMU supports the teacher/scholar model emphasizing undergraduate research, and JMU and Department of Biology is aggressively seeking to better support our increasingly diverse student body. Our approach to enhancing student success is to provide an inclusive and diverse learning environment, in part through increased representation among faculty and staff. Inclusivity efforts are supported at the Department level through an HHMI-funded Inclusive Excellence Award, and University level through the Office of Access and Inclusion Preparing Future Faculty Program. The objective of the fellowship is preparing the fellow to be competitive in the tenure-track job market. Thus, contingent upon optimal performance outcomes, a demonstrated commitment to promoting inclusivity and engaging a diverse community, and departmental needs and availability of funding, the successful candidate may be considered to transition into a tenure-track faculty position at the end of the fellowship.

We encourage applications from women, individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM, and individuals with a strong commitment to mentoring students from under-represented or marginalized groups.


  • Ph.D. in Biology, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology, or related fields
  • Evidence of a strong personal initiative and the ability to work collaboratively, in a multidisciplinary environment
  • Track record of publications in relevant peer-reviewed journals

Any of the following qualifications are also preferred:

  • Working experience in bioinformatics analysis, integration, and interpretation of high-throughput sequencing data, including single-cell sequencing
  • Prior experience with studies of transcription, chromatin, gene regulation, or genome organization
  • Working experience with C. elegans
  • Proficiency in programming, data analysis, and visualization
  • Experience with Python/Jupyter, Matlab, C, or Java
  • Experience with the application of supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods to genomics data or experience with deep learning frameworks

To apply: joblink.jmu.edu/postings/7929.

JMU is an equal opportunity employer.

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Last updated: 2020-11-29