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MD Anderson Cancer Center Postdoc Fellow - Immunology (Dr. Pauken's Lab) in MDA-On-Site, United States

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.


  • 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.

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

  • 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.


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


MD Anderson follows the NIH stipend levels as outlined by the Kirchstein - NRSA ( . This full-time trainee position will provide a salary between $56,484 to $68,604, dependent upon the years of postgraduate experience.

MD Anderson offers compensated trainees:

  • Paid medical benefits (zero premium) starting on first day for trainees who work 30 or more hours per week

  • Group Dental, Vision, Life, AD&D and Disability coverage

  • Paid Education Vacation and Sick Leave

  • Paid institutional holidays, wellness leave, childcare leave and other paid leave programs

  • Teachers Retirement System defined-benefit pension plan and two voluntary retirement plans

  • Employer paid life, AD&D and an illness-related reduced salary pay program

  • Health Savings Account and Dependent Care Reimbursement flexible spending accounts

  • Fertility benefits

  • State of Texas longevity pay

  • Extensive wellness, fitness, employee health programs and employee resource groups