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MD Anderson Cancer Center Postdoctoral Fellow in Houston, Texas

A postdoctoral fellow position is currently available in the lab of Dr. Kristen Pauken in the Department of Immunology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The goal of the Pauken lab is to understand how perturbing immune regulation by administering PD-1-based immunotherapy impacts CD8+ T cell fate and function both in the setting of protective anti-cancer responses and pathogenic immune-driven toxicities. Our long-term goal is to develop strategies to uncouple the protective benefits of PD-1 immunotherapy from the pathogenic side effects, making immunotherapy safer and more effective for patients. The Pauken lab heavily utilizes preclinical mouse models to interrogate immunological mechanisms involved in protective vs. pathogenic immune responses. Therefore, this position requires working with live mice. By integrating mouse models, high dimensional biological datasets, and functional validations, successful candidates are expected to identify key signals required for different CD8+ T cell developmental trajectories (e.g., tolerance vs. exhaustion) and how skewing of CD8+ T cell differentiation using immunotherapy can impact host outcomes in the setting of cancer and immune-related adverse events.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

1.) To understand the cellular and molecular drivers of CD8+ T cell differentiation, either in the context of protective anti-cancer responses or pathogenic self-reactive responses.

2.) Determine how anatomical location shapes CD8+ T cell differentiation in the setting of either protective anti-cancer responses or pathogenic self-reactive responses.

3.) Identify how existing immunotherapy approaches (including PD-1 inhibitors) act on protective vs. pathogenic CD8+ T cell subpopulations in order to develop novel strategies for improving the efficacy of immunotherapy without compromising on safety.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Ph.D. in life or physical science (examples: immunology, biology, cancer biology, bioinformatics, computer science, physics)

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