About the Position We are looking for a recent college graduate to work on our NSF-funded project studying molecular mechanisms of epigenetics. This "post-baccalaureate" position is intended to prepare students for applying to a PhD-level graduate program as soon as Fall 2021 for Fall 2022 matriculation. The position will be primarily full-time bench research, with opportunities for coursework, skills training, and career development. Lab training will include biochemistry, molecular genetics, and cell biology. Dr. Johnson is dedicated to preparing this post-bac researcher for a successful graduate school application and career. Past undergraduate trainees are now PhD students at CU-Anschutz, Princeton, UPenn, Dartmouth, Duke. Our lab is highly-interactive and an inclusive environment for all individuals.
We highly encourage applications from students who missed an opportunity for an intense independent research experience in the last year. For example, those who applied for a Summer research fellowship at a research-intensive institution for 2020, but where that program was cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic. Alternatively, planned hands-on bench research on your campus for your final year in college was prevented due to COVID restrictions.
Eligibility requirements: - US citizen or permanent resident who has graduated from college Spring 2021 or Fall 2020. - Intending to apply to PhD-level graduate school in Fall 2021 or Fall 2022. Details: - One-year stipend of $33,800, health insurance included. - Travel costs to Denver included, up to $500. - Start dates are flexible, August-September 2021.
To Apply (as soon as possible, no later than June 18th): E-mail Dr. Johnson directly with a CV, including college GPA, and a list of two references with e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Please describe the relationship of the references to the applicant. References should notified ahead and be able to specifically describe the applicant's relevant coursework. Ideal references are faculty/lecturers that the applicant engaged with as an undergraduate. At least one reference must describe aptitude for lab work, either from lab courses or from on-campus independent research. In your e-mail, please describe your interest in our lab's work, interest in eventually applying to graduate school, and your circumstances that prevented you from gaining a much-needed research experience in the last year that would have made you a more-competitive candidate for graduate school.
About the Project OVERVIEW: Heterochromatin is a genomic structure that represses transcription in a manner that is epigenetically maintained through cell division, contributing to stable cell differentiation in all eukaryotes. Establishment of a heterochromatin domain involves site-specific initiation and subsequent spreading across large regions of the genome, incorporating repressor proteins that stably associate with chromatin. Spreading is coupled to the conversion of histone modifications at the “leading edge” and eventual transition to the stable heterochromatin state. This mechanism requires two main modes of action for the heterochromatin machinery: dynamic spreading and stable repressive association with chromatin. While much is known of the components of heterochromatin in multiple systems, we do not understand at molecular resolution how the machinery coordinate the transitions through the steps of the mechanism. This project harnesses our purified budding yeast heterochromatin system that fully recapitulates the dynamic conversion of histone modifications and the formation of a stable repressive heterochromatin state. Our previous work in this system has generated models for many steps in the mechanism that we are poised to test at a new level of molecular resolution. We will use advanced cross-linking mass spectrometry, combined with “designer” chromatin to capture the heterochromatin machinery in the multiple modes of action that drive formation of an epigenetic repressive genomic structure. The wealth of genetic and biochemical tools available will allow us to identify the most important molecular interactions for heterochromatin assembly, generating a new level of mechanistic understanding of this fundamental genomic regulatory system.