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ORISE Fellowship to Study Neonatal Germinal Center Responses to Vaccines

Akkoyunlu Lab, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research of the United States Food and Drug Association, Silver Spring, Maryland

Position Description:

Background: The inability of neonates and infants to elicit adult-like immune responses to pediatric vaccines renders this population vulnerable to infectious diseases until they receive the full 3 to 4 doses during the first 15 months of life. Our laboratory is investigating the immunobiological mechanisms responsible for the suboptimal vaccine responses in early age. The goal of these studies is to improve the efficacies of pediatric vaccines using adjuvants targeting the pathways responsible for the blunted immune responses.

Project description: We are using neonatal mice from immunocompetent as well as various transgenic mice to dissect the steps involved in the activation of innate cells as well as the generation of follicular helper T (Tfh) cells and germinal center B cells in response to vaccines. The candidate will participate in experimental design, immunization and analyzing cellular and molecular responses to vaccines in addition to writing manuscripts and presenting her/his work in national and international meeting.

Location/Facilities:  The laboratory, located on the White Oak Campus in building 52/72, is equipped with standard immunology, biochemistry and molecular biology equipments. CBER core facilities include Flow cytometry, Microscopy and Imaging, NextGen sequencing, Oligonucleotide synthesis, Peptide synthesis, Mass spectrometry analysis, among others.

Eligibility: This position will be appointed initially for 1 year with the potential for renewal, contingent on excellent performance and future funding, via a fellowship from ORISE (see and  Candidates must be within 5 years of receiving their highest degree and must have lived in the U.S. for a minimum of 3 of the last 5 years. U.S. citizens, non-citizens with permanent resident status, or non-citizens that are eligible for a J-1 visa are eligible for ORISE positions (please note: only J-1 visas are acceptable). Stipends correspond roughly to U.S. government GS scales, are commensurate with education and experience, and include an allowance for mandatory health insurance.


  • Doctoral degree in immunology, molecular biology, biochemistry or a related discipline, received within the last five years
  • Excellent command of multi-color flow cytometry and standard immunology techniques including aseptic tissue processing and cell culture
  • Previous mouse handling experience is a must
  • Ability to work with others in a team environment
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Publication record in peer-reviewed journals  

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 Mustafa Akkoyunlu,