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COVID-19 Pathogenesis and Innate Response to Vaccine Adjuvants

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Silver Spring, Maryland

Position Description:

A postdoctoral position on Viral Pathogenesis and Immunobiology is available in the Laboratory of Retrovirus Research, CBER, FDA.

Severe COVID-19 is associated with activation of coagulation systems leading to thrombosis and disseminated intravascular coagulation and dysregulated immune responses manifested in the form of a cytokine storm, i. e. high levels of inflammatory cytokines, C-reactive protein, and pyrogenic mediator, PGE2. The ongoing research involves study of the mechanism of cytokine storm in severe COVID. Particularly, we are interested in the role of Immunoglobulin (Ig) Immune Complexes formed by anti-SARS CoV-2 antibodies (spike-IgG IC) as triggers of production of pyrogenic and inflammatory cytokines by innate cells and a cross talk between spike-IgG IC and members of coagulation cascade. The information gained in this research will help define the mechanism of inflammatory response underlying the pathogenesis of COVID-19 and will contribute to the evaluation of safety of IgG treatments.
Additional project includes development of an in vitro model to evaluate the cell response to respiratory viruses and mucosal vaccines. Human bronchial epithelial cells are grown at the Air Liquid Interface (ALI), where the basal surface of the cells is in contact with liquid culture medium and the apical surface is exposed to air. This model is being developed to study the mechanisms by which the bronchial epithelial layer may be compromised due to infection with respiratory viruses including SARS CoV-2 or RSV, and the mechanisms and triggers involved in respiratory epithelial cell regeneration. This system also provides a unique tool to identify signaling pathways responsible for innate responses in bronchial epithelial cells to mucosal vaccines and identify critical parameters that determine mucosal vaccine safety.


Highly motivated candidates should be within 3 years of their PhD degree. Candidates with research experience in biochemistry, cell biology, and protein chemistry are encouraged to apply.

To Apply:

Interested applicants should send curriculum vitae, bibliography, together with list of three of reference by email to:
Hana Golding, Ph.D.

Marina Zaitseva Ph.D.

Eligibility: This position is only open for US citizens, permanent residents (Green Card holders) or individuals residing in US for at least 3 years in past 5 years on a valid US visa.