Postdoctoral Fellow - RNA biology, microRNAs

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Name of Hiring Official/Investigator

Job Description

A postdoctoral position is available in the RNA Biology Laboratory, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, NIH.  The candidate will perform basic research on small RNA functions.    

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play critical roles in both mammalian development and human diseases such as cancer. The goal of our program is to study how miRNAs themselves are regulated, and to apply gained insights into developing effective treatments for cancer. Using genetic studies in living cells and animals, together with biochemical and next-generation sequencing (NGS) approaches, our laboratory focuses on elucidating mechanisms of miRNA biogenesis and the roles that miRNAs play in tumorigenesis.  

We are interested in studying how sequence alterations at miRNA 5' and 3' ends diversify miRNA function.  We became interested in this problem through the study of miRNA isoforms (isomiRs). We obtained insights into how 5' isomiRs are generated [1] and uncovered a way in which 3' uridylation confers miRNAs with new specificities [2]. We also revealed the mechanisms for how 3' uridylation impacts miRNA stability [3, 4]. Combining biochemical approaches with high-throughput sequencing, the successful candidate will continue revealing novel biological functions of isomiRs in the context of cancer, which may lead to translational applications.

Recent publications from our group:

1.         Differences between Pri-miRNA Paralogs Promote Alternative Drosha Cleavage and Expand Target Repertoires. Cell Rep. 2019 Jan

2.         3′ Uridylation Confers miRNAs with Non-canonical Target Repertoires. Mol Cell. 2019 Jun

3.         AGO-bound Mature miRNAs are Oligouridylated by TUTs and Subsequently Degraded by DIS3L2. Nat Commun. 2020 Jun

4.         TENT2, TUT4, and TUT7 selectively regulate miRNA sequence and abundance. Nat Commun. 2022 Sep

Qualifications and Job Details

Degree Required
Ph.D. or equivalent
Job Location
Appointment Type
Training Position (Starting stipend: $65,100, bonuses may apply)
Work Schedule
Full-time (In-Person)
US Citizenship not required - (ie, permanent resident, visa)

Required and Preferred Skills

Required Skills

Interested candidates must have a Ph.D. and/or an M.D. and have less than 5 years postdoctoral experience. Students who recently received their degree are particularly encouraged to apply. Applicants must have a strong background in molecular biology and biochemistry.

Preferred Skills

Experience with RNA research and/or deep sequencing data analysis is a strong plus.

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.


Frederick is the second largest city in Maryland but retains a “small town” feel, surrounded by mountain views with a vibrant Main Street community. The city offers outstanding schools, a balanced and thriving economy and a highly educated workforce.

How to Apply
  • CV/Resume
  • 3 References
  • Cover Letter
Additional Application Information

We provide a competitive stipend which is commensurate with research experience and accomplishments. To apply, send a cover letter, CV and contact information for references to

This position is subject to a background investigation.  The NIH is dedicated to building a diverse community in its training and employment programs; underrepresented minority candidates are encouraged to apply.

Contact Information
Contact Name
Shuo Gu, 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.