Oregon Health & Science University

Postdoctoral Fellow

Job Locations US-OR-Portland
Requisition ID
Position Type
Regular Full-Time
Position Category
Job Type
Knight Cancer Institute
Salary Range
8:30am to 5:00pm
Monday through Friday
HR Mission
School of Medicine
Drug Testable

Department Overview

The Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research (CEDAR) center is a collaborative institution within the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. The Knight Cancer Institute, known as one of the pioneers in personalized cancer medicine, is an international leader in research and cancer treatment. At CEDAR our mission is to detect and stop lethal cancers at the earliest stage because early detection saves lives. This is an ambitious goal, one that requires novelty, creativity, and innovation. We are comprised of biologists, chemists, biomedical engineers, computational scientists, and clinicians conducting groundbreaking translational cancer research to help people maintain a high quality of life and reduce cancer mortality, to create a global early detection community, and to have a positive impact on the Oregon economy.


Our Commitment to Diversity: CEDAR is committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community. We are dedicated to promoting inclusion and multiculturalism by having outstanding researchers of diverse backgrounds work together on multiple projects. We encourage high-risk, high-reward research projects because defeating cancer requires out-of-the-box thinking and new perspectives. Our research is milestone driven to ensure that each project is fulfilling its stated goals.


Every Knight Cancer employee is expected to embody our guiding principles:

  • We act BOLDLY—Breakthroughs require pushing the boundaries of science, exploring new frontiers, and thinking differently
  • We SUPPORT each other—Respect leads to trust, which leads to excellence
  • We work as a CONNECTED team — We must leverage our collective brain power to conquer cancer because no one individual can do it alone

About Portland: With a population of almost 2.3 million in the greater metropolitan area, Portland is a major cultural center in the Pacific Northwest. Portland is famous for its natural beauty and vibrant city life, and is one of the top 10 "Best Places to Live in the U.S.," according to US News & World Report. Situated at the confluence of Willamette and Columbia Rivers, Portland offers easy access to the Oregon Coast, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge. With a mild climate all year round, the city offers great parks, walkable neighborhoods and a sophisticated public transit system. Local music, food and drinks regularly draw national attention, yet the restaurants and entertainment remain accessible. 

Function/Duties of Position

CEDAR funds its own research projects, expediting the process of discovery. Our research is milestone-driven to ensure that each project is fulfilling its stated goals. CEDAR is currently seeking applicants to fill 1-2 postdoctoral positions in the area of cancer cell biology and in particular mechanisms of cell state. CEDAR offers a unique opportunity for outstanding, driven, and creative postdoctoral fellows to perform cutting edge and high-risk research, ranging from understanding basic cancer biology to developing novel technologies to aid detection.


We are hiring a highly motivated Postdoctoral Scholar. As a CEDAR postdoc, you will work closely with Dr. Jungsun Kim and other CEDAR researchers to elucidate mechanisms that govern the establishment of cancer cell identity by utilizing a cellular reprogramming approach. Cell fate, or identity, is well-maintained through multiple chromatin states established by master transcription factors (TFs) and chromatin regulators. Dysregulation of the determination of cell identity may lead to tumorigenesis, and indeed dysregulated master TFs in cancer cells can dictate a cancer cell’s epigenetic landscape and cell state. A defined set of TFs can reprogram somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by rewiring the reversible epigenetic landscape of “starting” somatic cells, which is established by cell fate decisions during normal development. This led to the intriguing possibility that TF-mediated reprogramming may offer a tool to rewire and reverse aberrant epigenetic alterations in cancer cells. Indeed, we demonstrated a proof-principle of a pancreatic cancer reprogramming model that provides a human cell model for unprecedented experimental access to different stages of human pancreatic cancer. Using this system, we uncovered a regulatory network and a secreted or released protein that can discriminate early resectable stage I pancreatic cancer patients as well as all stages of PDAC from healthy controls (Kim et al., 2013 Cell Reports; Kim et al., 2017 Science Translational Medicine).  


In this role you will conduct high rigorous research to define the early epigenetic changes that take place during cancer progression and will work to address the following questions; i) to what extent and how reproducibly aberrant cancer transcriptional networks can be destabilized through TF-mediated reprogramming, ii) how cells that fail reprogramming regain an aggressive tumor phenotype, and iii) what chromatin regulators maintain a cancer cell state. Addressing these questions will provide novel insight into how cancer cells establish and maintain cancer identity. Techniques you will use include next-generation sequencing (NGS) based tools such as ChIP-seq, RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, and single cell RNA-seq (Soufi et al; Cell 2015, Soufi et al; Cell 2012).



1. Kim J and Zaret KS et al., Science Translational Medicine 2017 Jul 12;9 (398)

- Highlighted by Ray K. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2017.111.

- Highlighted by Talha Burki in Lancet Oncology News, 2017 July 20 

- Featured in the CBS News, U.S.News & World Report, MSN Canada, The Japan Times, New China News, La Razón, Correio Braziliense News, Science Daily, NCI Cancer Current, and so on.

-Selected as one of the Most Life-Changing Medical Breakthroughs of 2017 in Prevention magazine, 2017 Dec issue; The New Times magazine, 2017 Dec 25

2. Kim J and Zaret KS. The EMBO Journal 2015, 34: 739–747

3. Kim J and Zaret KS et al., 2013 Cell Reports 2013, 3: 2088–2099

-Highlighted in the Editor’s Choice in Science, vol 341, page 319, 2013 July 26 Featured in ESC & iPSC NEWS published by Connexon Creative, 2013 June 26 Highlighted in the Inside Life Science published by NIGMS, 2014 January 8

Required Qualifications

  • MD, MD/PhD, or PhD with experience in molecular biology
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work as part of a collaborative team are crucial.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team while being collaborative in resolving problems
  • Passion for science and inquiry
  • Ability to synthesize one’s own results and others to formulate hypotheses
  • Ability to use tact and diplomacy to maintain effective working relationships

Preferred Qualifications

  • Knowledge and experience in cancer biology, cellular reprogramming, stem cells, epigenetics, next-generation-sequencing based techniques, and bioinformatics tools are highly desirable.
  • At least 1 first author paper during graduate school.

Additional Details

Apply online. Please be sure to upload a Cover Letter and Resume/CV.


Effective Oct. 18, 2021, all OHSU employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have an approved medical or religious exception. If you are hired by OHSU after Oct. 18, you will need to be fully vaccinated (or obtain an approved exception) prior to starting work, and need to provide proof of vaccination (or approved exception) within 10 days of starting work.


All are welcome

Oregon Health & Science University values a diverse and culturally competent workforce. We are proud of our commitment to being an equal opportunity, affirmative action organization that does not discriminate against applicants on the basis of any protected class status, including disability status and protected veteran status. Individuals with diverse backgrounds and those who promote diversity and a culture of inclusion are encouraged to apply. To request reasonable accommodation contact the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Department at 503-494-5148 or aaeo@ohsu.edu.

As an organization devoted to the health and well-being of people in Oregon and beyond, OHSU requires its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


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