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The Espinosa Laboratory in the Cancer Division of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is seeking independent and creative postdoctoral fellows. The Espinosa Lab utilizes an integrated system of functional genomics and mechanistic studies aimed at making biological discoveries with clear translational potential. Most of our current studies are focused on harnessing the power of pleiotropic transcription factors for cancer treatment Examples of ongoing projects are:

  • Elucidation of gene networks governed by transcription factors involved in cancer. We employ functional genomics tools to elucidate the signaling cascades driven by cancer-relevant transcription factors such as p53 and HIF1A across different cell types and stimuli. We aim to elucidate molecular mechanisms that control the cellular response upon activation of these transcription factors, from enhancer priming to metabolic control, with the ultimate goal of harnessing these mechanisms for therapeutic purposes (e.g. Galbraith et al., Cell 2013, Allen et al., eLife 2014, Andrysik et. al., Genome Res 2017).
  • Mechanistic studies of transcriptional coactivators and chromatin regulators with oncogenic and tumor suppressive functions. Using a multidimensional approach, from biochemistry to functional genomics, we investigate the role of specific transcriptional coactivators and chromatin factors in cancer development. We are particularly interested in the role of the Mediator Complex in oncogenesis and tumor suppression (e.g. Donner et al., Mol Cell 2007, Donner et al., Nature Struct Mol Biol. 2010, Galbraith et al., Cell 2013, Perez-Perri et al. Cell Reports 2016).
  • Pharmacological manipulation of transcription factors and cofactors for therapeutic purposes. Our goal is to identify effective strategies to employ novel biologically targeted therapeutics modulating the activity of transcription factors, cofactors and chromatin regulators for cancer treatment. Presently, we are focused on several first-in-class drugs that modulate transcription factors, Mediator-associated kinases, and epigenetic readers (e.g. Sullivan et al., Nat Chem Biol. 2012, Andrysik et al., Cell Reports 2013).
  • Roles of Interferon signaling in Down syndrome and cancer. We are particularly interested in understanding how hyperactivation of Interferon signaling in people with Down syndrome may contribute to the clinical impacts of trisomy 21, including the lower incidence of solid malignancies and higher incidence of leukemias observed in this population (e.g. Sullivan et al., eLIFE 2016; Sullivan et al., Scientific Reports 2017).

Our hope is that these courses of study will lead to clinically actionable discoveries and ultimately improve patient outcomes as well as our understanding of human biology in general. All projects provide ample opportunity for gaining experience with genomic methods to study gene transcription, expression, and epigenetic regulation. We also frequently employ shRNA and CRISPR technology, along with a host of additional advanced molecular, biochemical, and genomic techniques.


Minimum Requirements:

  • Ph.D. in molecular biology or a related field
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English
  • Proven ability to work independently within a research lab
  • Experience with mammalian tissue culture

Desired or preferred:

Experience with molecular biology methods, such as:

  • RT/quantitative PCR
  • Western blotting
  • RNA interference
  • CRISPR / genome editing
  • Lenti/retroviral production and transduction
  • Flow cytometry
  • 3 years mammalian tissue culture experience
  • Experience with rodent models
  • Experience with generation and analysis of genomic sequence data
  • Experience with standard bioinformatics tools
  • Experience with statistical programming, such as R