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Zoonotic Transmission for Emerging Viruses

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rocky Mountain Labs, Hamilton, MT

Position Description:

With nationwide responsibility for improving health and well-being, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) oversees the biomedical research programs of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and those of NIH’s research Institutes. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—a major research component of NIH and HHS—is recruiting for the following positions:

Postdoctoral intramural research training awards (IRTAs)
Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), Hamilton, MT

Several postdoctoral IRTA positions are available in the Virus Ecology Unit within the Laboratory of Virology at the RML campus of NIAID in Hamilton, Montana. The laboratory studies the ecology of high- and maximum-containment RNA viruses and is currently focused on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Virus Ecology Section is interested in the identification and understanding of the drivers of zoonotic transmission for emerging viruses. The laboratory uses a combined field ecological and experimental laboratory approach to understand the emergence of novel viruses and develop successful medical countermeasures against these viruses. Fundamental experimental approaches of the laboratory include molecular-, cellular-, and immunological-based techniques along with animal models of pathogenesis and transmission. Studies are carried out in biosafety level (BSL) 2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 laboratories. The Virus Ecology Section considers diversity and inclusion the centerpiece of the team’s culture.

Successful applicants will be part of a diverse and multidisciplinary team focused on understanding the molecular and ecological determinants of spillover from bats to humans and the determinants for onward human-to-human transmission. Candidates are expected to study the underlying molecular and structural determinants involved in zoonotic and human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 and newly identified emerging viruses (including filoviruses and henipaviruses).

An overview of the Virus Ecology Section’s most recent SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 research includes:
  • Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1, NEJM 2020, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973
  • Respiratory disease in rhesus macaques inoculated with SARS-CoV-2, Nature 2020, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2324-7
  • Functional assessment of cell entry and receptor usage for SARS-CoV-2 and other lineage B betacoronaviruses, Nature Microbiology 2020, DOI: 10.1038/s41564-020-0688-y
  • A Novel Coronavirus Emerging in China — Key Questions for Impact Assessment, NEJM 2020, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2000929
  • ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine prevents SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia in rhesus macaques, Nature 2020

RML is a NIAID campus with excellent genomic, electron microscopic, and veterinary core support that enables scientists to completely focus on their research. Located in the scenic Bitterroot valley of western Montana, RML is surrounded by some of the best hiking, skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, and trout fishing in North America.

Visit NIAID Careers for more information about working in NIAID’s dynamic atmosphere!


Highly motivated candidates who have a strong background in molecular biology, genomics, computational biology, disease ecology field research, and infectious disease animal modeling are encouraged to apply. Experience working in high biological containment laboratories (BSL-3 or BSL-4) and experience with molecular biology—particularly reverse genetics or field ecology experience in infectious disease (including mathematical modeling)—would be considered an advantage.

Well-developed oral and written communication skills are essential. Candidates must hold a Ph.D. in virology, molecular biology, or another appropriate discipline and have less than three years of postdoctoral experience. Applicants may be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or international citizens (for an IRTA, visa requirements apply). Trainees will receive health insurance as well as a stipend (commensurate with experience).

To Apply:

Applicants should send their curriculum vitae (CV), a letter expressing career goals and interests, and three letters of reference with contact information no later than October 30, 2020, to Kay Menk, Laboratory Operations Specialist, Laboratory of Virology, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, 903 S 4th Street, Hamilton, MT 59840, 406-375-9624 (phone), 406-375-9620 (fax), or email


HHS, NIH, and NIAID are equal opportunity employers dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusion.