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Research Fellow, RNA Biology

National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD

Position Description:

A postdoctoral position is available in the RNA Biology Laboratory, Center for Cancer Research – Frederick, MD, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The candidate will perform basic research on small RNA functions.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play critical roles in both mammalian development and human diseases such as cancer. The goal of our program is to study how miRNAs themselves are regulated, and to apply gained insights into developing effective treatments for cancer. Using genetic studies in living cells and animals, together with biochemical and next-generation sequencing (NGS) approaches, our laboratory focuses on elucidating mechanisms of miRNA biogenesis and the roles which miRNAs play in tumorigenesis.

We are interested in studying how sequence alterations at miRNA 5' and 3' ends diversify miRNA function. We became interested in this problem through the study of miRNA isoforms (isomiRs). We obtained insights into how 5' isomiRs are generated [1] and uncovered a way in which 3' uridylation confers miRNAs with new specificities [2]. We also revealed mechanisms how 3' uridylation impacts miRNA stability [3, 4]. Combining biochemical approaches with high-throughput sequencing, the successful candidate will continue revealing novel biological functions of isomiRs in the context of cancer, which may lead to translational applications.

Recent publications from our group:

  • Differences between Pri-miRNA Paralogs Promote Alternative Drosha Cleavage and Expand Target Repertoires. Cell Rep. 2019 Jan
  • 3′ Uridylation Confers miRNAs with Non-canonical Target Repertoires. Mol Cell. 2019 Jun
  • AGO-bound Mature miRNAs are Oligouridylated by TUTs and Subsequently Degraded by DIS3L2. Nat Commun. 2020 Jun
  • TENT2, TUT4, and TUT7 selectively regulate miRNA sequence and abundance. Nat Commun. 2022 Sep


Interested candidates must have a Ph.D. and/or an M.D. and have less than 5 years postdoctoral experience. Students who recently received their degree are particularly encouraged to apply. Applicants must have a strong background in molecular biology and biochemistry. Experience with RNA research and/or deep sequencing data analysis is a strong plus.

To Apply:

Send a cover letter, CV and contact information for references to Shu Gu, Ph.D. at

We provide competitive stipend which is commensurate with research experience and accomplishments.

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.