Post-doctoral Fellow - Cancer biology, epignetics

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Job Description

Carol Thiele’s lab in the Cell and Molecular Biology Section of the NCI's Pediatric Oncology Branch (POB) studies genetic and epigenetic changes in pediatric embryonal tumors, primarily neuroblastoma. We identify changes that affect the biology of the neuroblastoma tumor cells enabling oncogenic competence and immune escape.  We are using state-of-the-art molecular genetic, epigenomic and immunologic approaches to understand tumor pathogenesis.  Through these studies we aim to develop new therapeutic approaches, based on an understanding of tumor biology and evolution. We then test novel therapies in pre-clinical patient-derived xenograft and immunologically competent mouse models.  We use systems-level analyses to identify responding cell populations and define gene expression signatures of molecular responses to therapies. Our pre-clinical studies on retinoid-induced differentiation of neuroblastoma tumor cells provided the clinical rationale for their inclusion into therapy for high-risk neuroblastoma patients. Our close collaboration with physician scientists in the POB enables the translation of the most robust therapies to the clinic to treat children/young adults with high-risk or relapsed pediatric tumors.

Two post-doctoral positions are available.

Projects include (see also website and recent publications):

  • Using “Omic” approaches to understand how MYCN oncogene amplification drives transcriptional programs governing oncogenic competence.
  • The development and evaluation of small molecule inhibitors targeting MYCN or its interacting proteins.
  • Understanding the genetic basis of cellular plasticity that contributes to tumor heterogeneity and therapy resistance using bar-coded single-cell sequencing.
  • Using proteomics and mass spec analysis to identify unique tumor-associated cell surface markers that may serve as immune targets.
  • Using bioinformatic and genomic approaches to identify how retrotransposons are activated in neuroblastoma tumors.

Research Environment in the Pediatric Oncology Branch: The Cell and Molecular Biology Section (Thiele Lab) in the POB consists of a senior associate scientist, research fellow, biologist, three post-doctoral fellows and post-baccalaureate fellows. Post-docs and trainees participate in the “bench to bedside” and “bedside back to the bench” research. The POB consists of 11 basic research scientists and physician-scientists as well as a number of senior associate scientists and staff scientists who assist with bioinformatic analyses, animal-based experiments, DNA sequencing, genotyping, cell sorting, single-cell-omic and spatial transcriptomics projects.  Trainees with an interest in translational research will have the ability to interact with basic research scientists and physician-scientists to understand both tumor pathogenesis and therapeutic development in which basic research discoveries are translated into “first-in-human/child” clinical trials which are a hallmark of the dynamic environment of the Branch.  

Position Location:  NIH Clinical Center, Bldg. 10, Bethesda, MD

The NIH is dedicated to building a diverse community in its training and employment programs.

Qualifications and Job Details

Degree Required
Ph.D. or equivalent
Job Location
Appointment Type
Training Position (Stipend commensurate with experience)
Work Schedule
US Citizenship not required - (ie, permanent resident, visa)

Required and Preferred Skills

Required Skills

Molecular biology, transcriptional regulation, epigenetics with an interest in cancer research

Preferred Skills

Immunology, animal work, and bioinformatics familiarity

About the NCI Center for Cancer Research

The Center for Cancer Research (CCR) is home to nearly 250 basic and clinical research groups located on two campuses just outside of Washington, D.C. CCR is part of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and makes up the largest component of the research effort at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Centrally supported by long-term funding and a culture of complete intellectual freedom, CCR scientists are able to pursue the most important and challenging problems in cancer research. We collaborate with academic and commercial partners and advocacy groups across the world in efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer and HIV/AIDS. The CCR research portfolio covers the full spectrum of biological and biomedical research. Our work ranges from basic to translational and clinical, and our clinical trials are conducted in the NIH Clinical Center, the world’s largest hospital dedicated to clinical research that offers a robust infrastructure to support CCR’s patients on an estimated 250 open studies. The success of CCR is grounded in an exceptionally strong discovery research program that provides the foundation for the seamless translation of insights from bench to bedside. Read more about CCR, the benefits of working at CCR and hear from our staff on their CCR experiences.


Bethesda is one of the most highly educated communities in the United States and has a nationally renowned school system. The city is a thriving suburban center close to Washington, D.C., and home to many restaurants, retailers and a flourishing arts and entertainment district.

How to Apply
  • CV/Resume
  • Statement of Research Goals
  • 3 References
Additional Application Information

Candidates with a Ph.D. and less than 5 years of post-graduate studies and who have an active interest in cancer biology should send a CV/bibliography and a list of references to Carol Thiele ( along with a paragraph outlining your career goals and the type of training sought.

Disclaimers: This position is subject to a background investigation.

Contact Information
Contact Name
Carol Thiele, Ph.D.
E-mail Address
DHHS, NIH and NCI are equal opportunity employers. The NCI and CCR are deeply committed to diversity of thought, equity and inclusion and encourage applications from qualified women, underrepresented minorities and individuals with disabilities.