The development of novel molecular tools for identification of circulating biomarkers has potential to improve early detection, intervention, and treatment of cancer. Circulating exosomes represent a valuable source of stable tissue/cellular-specific biomarkers. These membranous vesicles (40-100 nm diameter) actively released by normal and cancer cells, have been shown to establish long-distance communication by transporting proteins, metabolites, DNA, and RNA molecules (mRNAs, long non-coding RNA, and microRNAs). The laboratory has developed methods for purifying tissue-specific exosomes and established a next-generation sequencing protocols to evaluate the small-RNA of these extracellular vesicles. We have identified circulating prostate cancer biomarkers and are interested to develop novel methods to repackage exosomes and treat cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. The successful candidate will refine our immunopurification assay to work with breast cancer cells and purify the content of their circulating exosomes. Using murine xenograft models the candidate will follow the process of metastasis to understand the contribution of exosomes and their contents to the formation of metastatic niches. Experience with general molecular biology, mouse models, next generation sequencing, as well as a high attention for detail will be essential assets. The candidate will also have the opportunity to develop molecular assays, work with state-of-the art technologies and equipment.
The Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), was established by Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) as an academic basic and translational research enterprise to rapidly translate science innovation to the clinic to improve outcomes for patients with cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune disease and other acute and chronic diseases. The CDI has grown rapidly since its origins in 2019, and now has 18 labs, 150 scientists and support personnel, who are supported by more than 85 grants and contracts. Areas of expertise include genomics, epigenetics, drug resistance, stem cell biology, drug discovery, diagnostics and biomarker development, and pharmacology.
A day in the life of a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biomarkers at Hackensack Meridian Health includes:
- Design, develop, and test molecular assays for immuno-purification of circulating exosomes.
- Establish sensitive and reproducible procedures for detection of circulating biomarkers.
- Design and conduct animal studies using murine xenograft models.
- Perform data analysis and interpretation.
- Present results in internal and external research forums.
- Participate in grant and manuscript writing, as appropriate.
Education, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required:
- Hold a Ph.D. Degree from an accredited graduate level institution.
- Minimum publication or in preparation of two articles as first author in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal.
- Excellent analytical and presentation skills.
Education, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Preferred:
- Preferred methodologies include next-generation sequencing, immuno-purification, RNA/DNA extraction, digital droplet PCR, PCR and qPCR analysis, cell culture, mouse handling, and data analysis.