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Postdoctoral Fellow - Noncoding RNA Structure and Recognition with Cryo-EM

About the position

A fully funded postdoctoral position is available in Dr. Jinwei Zhang’s lab in NIDDK, NIH in the vibrant main campus in Bethesda, MD near Washington DC. The lab is broadly interested in elucidating the structural mechanisms of large, complex noncoding RNAs and their interactions with proteins and other RNAs.

The incoming fellow will primarily use single-particle Cryo-EM and RNA design and engineering methods to investigate highly structured viral RNAs, gene-regulatory riboswitches, long noncoding RNAs and circular RNAs. See and selected publications below for details.

  • Suddala K.C., et al., & Zhang, J. (2023) Direct observation of tRNA-chaperoned folding of a dynamic mRNA ensemble. Nat. Commun., 14, 5438.
  • Bou-Nader C., et al., & Zhang, J. (2022) Structural basis of R-loop recognition by the S9.6 monoclonal antibody, Nat. Commun., 13, 1641.
  • Bou-Nader C., et al., & Zhang, J. (2021) HIV-1 Matrix-tRNA complex structure reveals basis for host control of Gag localization., Cell Host & Microbe, 29, 1421–1436.
  • Suddala K.C & Zhang, J. (2019) High-affinity recognition of specific tRNAs by an mRNA anticodon-binding groove, Nat. Struct. & Mol. Biol., 26, 1114–1122.
  • Li S. et al., & Zhang, J. (2019) Structural basis of amino acid surveillance by higher-order tRNA-mRNA interactions, Nat. Struct. & Mol. Biol., 26, 1094–1105.

The lab has frequent, dedicated access to state-of-the-art equipment in Cryo-EM (multiple Glacios and Krios microscopes), X-ray crystallography (Mosquito, Dragonfly, Rock Imager, Akta Pures, Synchrotron access), biophysics (fluorescence and lifetime, ITC, CD, DSC, BLI, AUC, DLS, SEC-MALS, thermophoresis, mass photometry, etc), fermentation, genomics and sequencing (RNA-seq, CLIP-seq), advanced mass spec and proteomics (e.g. crosslinking mass spec) at core facilities with hands-on training by dedicated PhD-level staff scientists.

Incoming fellows are also encouraged to bring or develop your own ideas that you could grow into research programs that you can then take to your independent PI positions. The NIH, NIDDK, and LMB are committed to the continued education and career development of our diverse trainees through numerous courses, seminars and workshops offered by OITE, FAES, and NIDDK.

Apply for this vacancy

What you'll need to apply

Please email a cover letter indicating preferred start date, CV, a brief summary of research interests, accomplishments, and career goals, and names and contact information for at least three references to:

Contact name

Jinwei Zhang

Contact email


Interested candidates must have received (or be expecting) a Ph.D. or M.D. within the past five years in molecular biology, structural biology, biochemistry, RNA biology, or a related discipline, have excellent oral and written communication skills, and be strongly self-motivated to design, lead, and participate in innovative and rigorous research projects. Prior experiences in structural biology are not required, as training will be provided.

Disclaimer/Fine Print

The NIH is dedicated to building a community in its training and employment programs and encourages the application and nomination of qualified women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.