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Host-Pathogen Interaction for Vaccine Development (SARS-CoV-2)

Duke University, Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Durham, North Carolina

Position Description:

The Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI) performs basic and translational research to fight against major infectious diseases. DHVI is seeking Postdoctoral Associates to join the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the resulting disease COVID19.  The Duke Human Vaccine Institute is an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental institute dedicated to the study of host-pathogen interactions that can be translated into biologics and vaccines. DHVI is composed of a team of highly interactive investigators that have expertise in mucosal and systemic immunology, virology, molecular and structural biology, computational biology, and animal medicine. With these expertises, the DHVI is working collaboratoratively to develop countermeasures against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

We are recruiting highly-motivated individuals with backgrounds in computational biology including computational protein design, computational genomics and transcriptomics, and/or  molecular simulation to join our team dedicated to the design of a protective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The Postdoctoral Associate will work independently to develop and apply computational biology methods to areas that include studying the antibody response in SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals, identifying and further improving antibodies for use as COVID19 therapeutics, and designing immunogens for use as components in a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The multi-disciplinary approach to vaccine development at DHVI will afford the Postdoctoral Associate exposure to many areas of vaccine research with a multitude of opportunities to contribute computational biology methods and analysis to the efforts to fight the COVID19 pandemic. Under the guidance of the Principal Investigator, the candidate will be responsible for developing methodology, performing data analysis, designing and executing experiments, presenting the results at internal and external meetings, and drafting scientific publications. These studies will have a large impact on vaccines that are translated to first-in-humans clinical trials.
More specifically, the Postdoctoral Associate will perform some or all of the following activities:
  • Computational protein design (with Rosetta or similar software) for development of immunogens for a protective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
  • Molecular simulation of coronavirus spike proteins to inform vaccine design.
  • Develop methodologies for the analysis of high throughput B cell repertoire sequencing data including transcriptomics data.
  • Computational design of antibodies to improve their ability to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 for use as antibody therapeutics.
  • Computational design of multimeric SARS-CoV-2 immunogens for use in vaccine studies.
  • Molecular simulation-based methods to estimate binding free energy changes in the interaction between antibodies and the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein.
  • Computational protein design of SARS-CoV-2 proteins for use in immunoassays.
  • Design, develop and implement computational programs to assist with the performance of the above activities.
  • Present scientific results at meetings and publish results in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Training in bioethics, laboratory management, and scientific writing.
  • Maintain accurate laboratory documentation of experiments, including raw experimental data and laboratory notebooks.


The position requires a MD or PhD in computational biology, bioinformatics, structural biology and biophysics, and biochemistry, or a related discipline and a strong record of publications in peer-reviewed journals. The candidate is expected to have a strong background in computer programming and familiarity working in a high-performance computing environment. Ideal candidates will possess excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to work in a highly collaborative team environment.

To Apply: 

Candidates should send a cover letter and current CV to:

Duke Human Vaccine Institute
(Please specify your interest by referencing “KS” in subject line of email)
Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employee opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, genetic information, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.