Staff Scientist - Oncology, molecular biology, RNA biology

Date Posted
Position is with
Name of Hiring Official/Investigator

Job Description

A Staff Scientist position is available in the Thoracic Surgery Branch, CCR, NCI, NIH.

Our long-term working goal is to explore the molecular and cellular biology of thoracic cancers, with special focus on those affecting surface cavities like mesothelioma and thymic epithelial tumors, in order to develop strategies that can improve diagnosis and treatment paradigms.  Other tumors of interest include lung carcinomas or metastatic tumors to the thorax, neuroendocrine tumors, esophageal cancer etc.  The scope of our projects are translational by design. 

Currently, we have 2 portions of the lab, one pursuing discovery and the other focused on therapeutics development.

Project I: design novel models of oncogenesis and perform comprehensive genomic and physiologic characterization that will facilitate developing novel, clinically relevant molecular biomarkers. 
Project II: investigate microRNA-mRNA interactions to inform on the pathogenic signaling pathways relevant to tumor initiation, invasion, metastasis, and resistance in malignant mesothelioma.  With these projects, we have translational aims of novel therapeutic targets based on an understanding of the active cancer-specific mechanisms.  Also, we are developing novel in vivo delivery platforms for nucleic-based agents that require pre-clinical testing in mouse tumor models.  The culmination of these projects will be linked to clinical human testing in these thoracic cancers of interest.    

This is a great opportunity for candidates who are interested in cancer biology and want to grow their research career by working in our program with outstanding support of other established laboratories and core facilities in the NCI. 

The scientist will be tasked with independent research projects that support and/or furthers the scope of our laboratory goals as determined by the PI, whom the scientist will regularly report to with continuous updates.  The scientist will be responsible for overseeing daily operations and coordination of projects in close conjunction with all laboratory personnel.  The scientist will participate in teaching laboratory methods to first-time post-docs, research fellows, and students.  This is a leadership role within the daily operations of the lab and the scientist needs to be highly proficient as a “go-to” technical resource.  Another important aspect of this position is ongoing career development which entails grant writing to obtain additional extramural funding to support our portfolio of lab projects.  There will be specific guidance in grant-writing. 

The scientist will work closely with a full-time research biologist both in collaboration of research projects and in lab-critical administrative tasks of IRB-approval, animal protocols, budget, etc.  Our laboratory has two post-doctoral researchers at any given time.  The laboratory is part of a clinical/research fellowship that can add research fellows rotating into the laboratory over variable timespans.  Routinely, our lab hosts student trainees from all levels for specified research experiences that support the NIH educational mission.  

We emphasize a team-based approach.  Individuals with self-motivation, excellent communication skills, patience to teach and a willingness to collaborate will be most successful in this environment.  The scientist needs to be adaptable to our ongoing scientific evolution, so independent learning is a critical skill for success.

Qualifications and Job Details

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

Required and Preferred Skills

Required Skills

Qualified candidates should have a Ph.D. in a Biological science area or the equivalent background (M.D., M.B.B.S., etc) with five or more years of post-doctoral experience.  A background and working knowledge in molecular and cellular biology is required.  Familiarity with basic techniques including DNA/RNA isolation, cell culture techniques western-blot, quantitative PCR, immunohistochemistry, ChIP, retroviral or lentiviral transfections, FACS sorting, NGS genomic profiling and data analysis, and working with animals is a must.  Knowledge and/or direct experience in bioinformatics, systems biology, biostatistics, mutation detection, microarray analysis, omics-seq (RNA, small RNA, ATAC, etc.) methodology, microRNA or other non-coding RNA, single-cell technologies is preferred. 

Preferred Skills

Unusual expertise such as chemistry, materials science, bioengineering, computer science, etc. would be considered valuable assets.  Alternatively, previous research experience in immunology, cancer or stem cell biology, and/or epigenetics would be highly advantageous.

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
  • Three References
  • Cover Letter
  • Summary of Research Experience
Contact Information
Contact Name
Jan Pappas
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.