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Protective Immunity to Pandemic Influenza Viruses

Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland

Position Description:

A postdoctoral contract position is available in the Laboratory of DNA Viruses at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research of the U.S. FDA (CBER/FDA).  CBER is located on the FDA’s White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, MD and is a unique environment in which to conduct research related to the development and evaluation of vaccines.

The current research focus of the laboratory includes two major objectives: 1) to facilitate development and evaluation of pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines, and 2) to identify and evaluate vaccination strategies that can enhance protective immune responses to influenza.

The postdoctoral research position will support a research project that will focus on identifying H7N9 hemagglutinin epitopes that are important for an effective vaccine response.  Studies will include characterization of a library of mouse monoclonal antibodies to H7 for their ability to neutralize virus and provide passive protection against H7 influenza challenge, evaluation of modified vaccinia virus Ankara vectors expressing the HA from several different strains of influenza H7 for their ability to protect mice against various H7N9 challenge viruses, and the use of H7N9 escape viruses, isolated during mAb characterization, in neutralization experiments to determine whether current vaccines elicit protective antibody responses against specific defined HA epitopes.  The ideal candidate will have a recent PhD degree in microbiology, molecular biology, and/or immunology, and substantial bench research experience related to the laboratory’s work.  Independence, initiative, and excellent organizational, writing, and interpersonal skills are especially desirable.  M.S.-level candidates with strong applicable experience may also be considered.  Experience with influenza and/or other viruses, cell culture, molecular biology techniques, and mouse infection models are of particular interest.

This position will be appointed for approximately 1 year with potential for renewal, contingent on future funding and excellent performance via a contract mechanism.  Stipends correspond roughly to U.S. government GS scales, commensurate with education and experience.


Eligible candidates should have a recent PhD or MD and must be within 5 years of receiving their highest degree.  The position is open to U.S. citizens, non-citizens with permanent resident status, or non-citizens residing in the U.S. for at least 3 of the last 5 years on a valid U.S. visa.

To Apply:

Qualified candidates should send in electronic format: a brief cover letter outlining research interests, research experience, and future goals; a detailed curriculum vitae that illustrates laboratory experience, responsibilities, and/or pertinent recent coursework; and names of at least 3 scientists or faculty as references with contact information, including e-mail addresses and phone numbers to Jerry Weir, Director, Division of Viral Products/CBER/FDA.

Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.