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Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Computational Biology and Precision Oncology in Lung Cancer

Job Description


Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is an independent, nonprofit organization providing adult cancer treatment and groundbreaking research focused on cancer and infectious diseases. Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Washington.

With a track record of global leadership in bone marrow transplantation, HIV/AIDS prevention, immunotherapy and COVID-19 vaccines, Fred Hutch has earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading cancer, infectious disease and biomedical research centers. Fred Hutch operates eight clinical care sites that provide medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy and related services, and network affiliations with hospitals in five states. Together, our fully integrated research and clinical care teams seek to discover new cures to the world’s deadliest diseases and make life beyond cancer a reality.

At Fred Hutch we value collaboration, compassion, determination, excellence, innovation, integrity and respect. These values are grounded in and expressed through the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. Our mission is directly tied to the humanity, dignity and inherent value of each employee, patient, community member and supporter. Our commitment to learning across our differences and similarities make us stronger. We seek employees who bring different and innovative ways of seeing the world and solving problems. Fred Hutch is in pursuit of becoming an anti-racist organization. We are committed to ensuring that all candidates hired share our commitment to diversity, anti-racism and inclusion.

The laboratories of Dr. Gavin Ha and Dr. David MacPherson have a joint postdoctoral research position open in the Computational Biology Program of the Public Health Sciences and Human Biology Divisions. We are seeking a highly motivated individual who is interested in developing and implementing innovative computational and analytical approaches to study the genetics and epigenetics of lung cancer from tumor and liquid biopsies. Candidates who are excited about large/complex ‘omics’ data analysis of cancer genomes, computational methods development, and liquid biopsy research are encouraged to apply. Projects can be completely computational or could also involve wet-lab components, depending on the interests and experience of the applicant.  The position has a competitive salary and great benefits. 

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on transformative and leading-edge research study in lung cancer research using circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) from liquid biopsies. This project will involve analysis of ctDNA and methods development to exploit liquid biopsies for detecting and studying small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), discovering new ctDNA biomarkers of treatment response, and to advance precision oncology. For examples of recent studies, see PMID:29109393 , PMID: 36399432 , PMID: 36463275 .  

Dr. Ha’s laboratory develops computational approaches to study cancer genomes from tumors and liquid biopsies, such as circulating tumor DNA. He is a recipient of an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, an NCI Transition Career Development Award, a Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award, and a V Foundation Scholar Grant.

Dr. MacPherson is a leading expert in the biology of SCLC whose lab uses in vivo models to identify new therapeutic approaches for this aggressive cancer type.

Responsibilities The goals of this collaboration are to uncover mechanisms of treatment resistance, to identify blood-based genetic biomarkers, and to translate these findings to help improve clinical applications. We aim to develop novel liquid biopsy assays to apply to SCLC patients and allow us to identify biological correlates of treatment responses.  We work in an interdisciplinary team environment with many local and external experts. All of our projects involve partnering with investigators who have diverse expertise in molecular and experimental biology, cancer biology, and clinical research.

See the lab websites for more information:  https://research.fredhutch.org/macpherson/en.html and https://gavinhalab.org/ .

Qualifications Applicants must have a PhD and/or MD (or equivalent) with training in one of these disciplines: 

  • Computational biology, bioinformatics, computer science, data science, statistics, computer/electrical engineering, physics, or other related fields.

Applicants should have some or all of the following skills and experience: 

  • Machine learning and interpretable/explainable artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Work well in team environments, have strong communication/organization skills and is detail-oriented
  • Highly motivated individual who think independently but also enjoy working in a dynamic, collaborative, multidisciplinary team
  • Strong programming experience (R, Python, Matlab, Java, C/C++, Perl or other languages for research)
  • Experience with cancer data analysis is preferred
  • A background in cancer biology is considered a strong asset
  • For candidates interested in wet-lab work, experience in molecular biology is expected
  • Experience with analyzing sequencing data is considered a strong asset
  • Experience with high performance computing environments and cloud computing environments is a plus
  • Applicants must have a demonstrated publication track record

Candidates with strong interest and/or expertise in any of these research areas are highly encouraged to apply: 

  • Cancer genomics and epigenetics, liquid biopsies, tumor evolution/heterogeneity
  • Application of explainable AI, statistical modeling, algorithm design, machine learning to study cancer and genetics
  • Analysis of large, complex genome, epigenome, and transcriptome data

To apply, please submit your application with the following: 

  • Cover letter with a statement of research accomplishments and interests
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Names and email addresses of three references
  • Two representative publications or preprints (if available)

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirement, with exceptions only for approved medical or religious accommodations. As a condition of employment, newly hired employees must, prior to their first day of employment:
Provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ; OR
Initiate the accommodations process to request a religious or medical accommodation (medical accommodations require a healthcare provider’s certification).

A statement describing your commitment and contributions toward greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism in your career or that will be made through your work at Fred Hutch is requested of all finalists.

The annual base salary range for this position is from $65,484.00 to $100,000.00 and pay offered will be based on experience and qualifications.  

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center offers employees a comprehensive benefits package designed to enhance health, well-being, and financial security. Benefits include medical/vision, dental, flexible spending accounts, life, disability, retirement, family life support, employee assistance program, onsite health clinic, income-based child care subsidy, tuition reimbursement, paid vacation (22 days per year), paid sick leave (up to 30 calendar days per occurrence of a qualifying reason), paid holidays (13 days per year), and paid parental leave (up to 4 weeks).


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