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Pfizer Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cell Cycle Biology in La Jolla, California


Pfizer Oncology R&D is working to change the trajectory of cancer by translating breakthrough discoveries in cancer research into the best medicines imaginable for cancer patients. The Cell Cycle Biology group is assembling a cross-disciplinary team of postdocs with expertise in biochemistry, cell biology, mathematics, and systems pharmacology. Based in La Jolla, California, this team will work collaboratively to leverage unprecedented chemical and biological discovery platforms to further our understanding of basic cell cycle control mechanisms in normal and pathological contexts.

Cancer cells are defined on the most basic level by unrestricted cell division. Along with cyclins, cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) family members regulate the cell cycle and thus control many aspects of mammalian physiology and pathology. Small molecule inhibitors targeting CDK4/6-cyclin D complexes have recently been approved for the treatment of hormone-positive breast cancer in combination with anti-hormonal therapy. Ibranceā„¢ (palbociclib) along with other CDK inhibitors has unique chemical and functional profiles with regards to molecular mechanisms of action as well as distinct clinical findings. Understanding how these therapies modulate the CDK/cyclin complexes and their functions within the cellular context will be critical for developing future treatments with durable response. The Postdoctoral Fellow will seek to resolve the molecular complexity of CDK\cyclin dynamics and substrate specificity during the tumor cell cycle and elucidate molecular principles governing normal and neoplastic modulation of cell cycle transition. A foundation for this work will be delineating the molecular composition of relevant CDK complexes using a comprehensive platform of cyclin\CDK purified proteins, structural biology, enzymatic and cellular activity assays, cellular chemical biology, and medicinal chemistry resources. Cell model systems will serve as initial biological contexts to interrogate, followed by expansion into larger collections of models to test generalizable principles to ultimately aide optimal patient selection strategies for distinct CDK inhibitors.


  • Collaborate closely with postdoctoral team, experimental, and computational scientists to explore fundamental research questions with an emphasis on novel discoveries that will result in high impact publications

  • Participate in design of targeted in vitro and in vivo experiments to address key questions about the role and molecular interactions and functional roles of canonical and non-conical CDK/cyclin complexes

  • Develop and utilize cell-based and/or disease model systems to functionally validate experimental observations

  • Organize, interpret, and analyze data, and identify areas where key knowledge is lacking

  • Proactively seek out new information in the literature and incorporate this into their scientific hypothesis and experimental plan

  • Effectively communicate data and results at internal and external meetings/conferences

  • Good understanding of cell cycle and signaling pathways and interest in metabolomics, proteomics, transcriptomics

  • Produce high impact publications in peer reviewed journals


  • Recent Ph.D. in molecular biology, cell biology, or a related field

  • Significant experience with an array of molecular and cell biology methods, including cloning and vector construction, qPCR-based expression analysis, development of cell-based assays, mammalian cell culture and lentiviral production, ELISA, flow cytometry, western blot, RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9 functional genomic methods, and/or fluorescence microscopy

  • Familiarity with computational tools for analyzing genetic and genomic data

  • Excellent communication and organizational skills, willingness to learn new skills, and demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a team

  • Demonstrated research productivity by first-author publications in peer-reviewed journals

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