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Medicinal Chemistry & Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery

National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD and surrounding area

Position Description:

A postdoctoral fellowship in the field of medicinal chemistry is immediately available to carry out structure-based drug design and hit-to-lead optimization on several promising hits against polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1).  Plk1 is an attractive anti-cancer therapeutic target, whose upregulated activity is tightly associated with aggressiveness and poor prognosis for a wide spectrum of human cancers.
In efforts to discover novel Plk1-targeted anti-cancer therapeutic agents, we have performed high throughput screening campaigns and developed a multifaceted collaborative program by bringing together various expertise, including medicinal chemistry optimization, X-ray crystallography, in silico modeling, pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, and mouse tumorigenesis studies.  Once appointed, the fellow will primarily work in the synthetic chemistry lab under the direct guidance of Dr. Kenneth Jacobson (, a medicinal chemistry leader at NIH, and interact with Dr. Kyung Lee ( in the Laboratory of Metabolism, NCI.
The follow will also have an opportunity to collaborate with other teams at NIH involved in this interdisciplinary project covering PK/PD studies and xenograft mouse tumor assays.  Our initial study was published in J. Med. Chem. (Alverez CN, et al., 2020) and some of the compounds reported here are under patent. We are striving to generate a new class of anti-Plk1 cancer therapeutics.


Applicants should have (or expected to receive) a Ph.D. or its equivalent at the time of joining the lab or have achieved the degree less than 3 years ago.  Fellows who have an expertise in medicinal chemistry optimization of small molecule inhibitors are encouraged to apply.

To Apply:

To apply, please send CV and three names of references to Dr. Kyung Lee (
This position is subject to a background investigation. The NIH is dedicated to building a diverse community in its training and employment programs.