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2016 Charbonneau Postdoctoral Scholar Recruitment Drive

Submitted by srtariqu on Wed, 04/13/2016 - 12:15pm

2016 Charbonneau Postdoctoral Scholar Recruitment Drive

The Charbonneau Cancer Institute is currently recruiting post-doctoral scholars for a variety of different research projects. If you are interested in any of the projects described in detail below, please email the indicated contact for that project as soon as possible, including your current CV and availability. This recruitment drive will end on July 29th, 2016, although applicants should not wait until this deadline, as positions may be filled earlier – so email now!

Deadline to Apply:
July 29, 2016

General Cancer Research Projects

DNA repair and Cellular Aging Research Specific Projects

Brain Tumor Research Specific Projects

Childhood Cancer Research Specific Projects

General Cancer Research Projects

Submitted by srtariqu on Wed, 04/13/2016 - 3:07pm

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The MATCH study: Mindfulness and Tai Chi/Qigong for Cancer Health

Contact for this project: Dr. Linda Carlson lcarlso@ucalgary.ca

Project Title: The MATCH study: Mindfulness and Tai Chi/Qigong for Cancer Health

Supervisor(s): Dr. Linda E. Carlson, RPsych

Supervision and Lab Space: This project represents a collaboration between the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute at the University of Calgary and CancerControl Alberta Psychosocial Oncology. The post-doctoral scholar will be working on this project at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD$50,000 per year (with additional benefits on top of this). The candidate will be expected to apply for independent award funding within the first year of the project.

Project Summary: More than half of all cancer patients experience high levels of distress, anxiety and depression, and debilitating symptoms including fatigue, pain and sleep disturbances. To overcome these difficulties, over 50% of patients use complementary therapies, including mind-body therapies such as meditation and tai chi/Qigong.  This project is the first to directly compare these popular therapies. Participants: This preference-based randomized comparative-efficacy trial is open to all types of patients (stage I-III) post-treatment with significant distress. A total of 600 participants will be recruited in Calgary and Toronto.  

Interventions: Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery is a standardized 8-week group program with 2-hour weekly session and a 6-hour weekend retreat focusing on intensive training in mindfulness meditation practices and gentle Hatha yoga. The TaiChi/Qigoin program is based on traditional Chinese Tai Chi practices stemming from a Qigong framework, which are increasingly taught in the West. Outcomes: Primary outcomes will be mood, stress symptoms and quality of life. Other self-reported outcomes include sleep quality, pain and fatigue. Biological outcomes include cytokine production, telomere length and telomerase activity, gene expression, salivary cortisol, blood pressure, heart rate variability and health economic data. The fellow will work on study recruitment, data collection, analysis and writing publications.

Eligibility: Candidates with experience in clinical cancer research, integrative oncology, health or clinical psychology, medicine, nursing or behavioral science will be ranked highly and given priority. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with their PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents are given priority (if all other qualifications are equal).

Impact of G protein signaling on the development and progression of thyroid cancer

Contacts for this project:  Dr. Ralf Paschke ralf.paschke@ucalgary.ca or Dr. Marcus Eszlinger markus.eszlinger1@ucalgary.ca

Project Title: Impact of G protein signaling on the development and progression of thyroid cancer

Supervisor(s): Dr. Ralf Paschke and Dr. Markus Eszlinger

Supervision and Lab Space: The post-doctoral scholar working on this project will work within Paschke & Eszlinger laboratory space. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD$50,000 per year (with additional benefits on top of this). The candidate will be expected to apply for independent award funding within the first year of the project.

Project Summary: Thyroid tumors are the most common endocrine cancers with the highest incidence rates. TSH suppressive thyroid hormone treatment is a mainstay of thyroid cancer treatment. However, the experimental evidence for this is weak and the   impact of the different G protein pathways that are triggered by the TSHR on thyroid cancer latency, extent and penetrance is poorly understood due to the lack of appropriate model systems. Therefore, this project will use thyroid cancer knock in and knock out mouse models and constitutive activation of G proteins and their phenotypic characterization to delineate the TSH triggered  G protein signaling pathways with an impact for the development and progression of thyroid cancer and to determine new targets for potential treatment options. 

Eligibility: Candidates with experience in handling and characterization of transgenic mouse models will be ranked highly and given priority. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with their PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents are given priority (if all other qualifications are equal).

Pre-surgical molecular diagnosis of RAS mutation positive indeterminate Fine Needle Aspiration Cytologies of the thyroid

Contacts for this project: Dr.  Ralf Paschke ralf.paschke@ucalgary.ca or Dr. Markus Eszlinger markus.eszlinger1@ucalgary.ca

Project Title: Pre-surgical molecular diagnosis of RAS mutation positive indeterminate Fine Needle Aspiration Cytologies of the thyroid.

Supervisor(s): Dr. Ralf Paschke and Dr. Markus Eszlinger

Supervision and Lab Space: The post-doctoral scholar working on this project will work within Paschke & Eszlinger laboratory space. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD$50,000 per year (with additional benefits on top of this). The candidate will be expected to apply for independent award funding within the first year of the project.

Project Summary: Thyroid nodules are frequent clinical findings. However, only very few nodules are malignant. In this context indeterminate fine needle cytologies (FNACs) lead to many diagnostic surgeries to establish a diagnosis. The Paschke/Eszlinger lab has devised a method to test indeterminate FNAC samples for a large number of known mutations to exclude mutation negative patients from diagnostic surgery. Whereas most detected mutations are specific for malignancy, many RAS mutation positive samples are histologically benign. Therefore, the aim of this project is to compare RAS positive histologically benign and RAS  positive histologically malignant samples by exome sequencing, comparative genomic hybridisation and miRNA profiling to fill this diagnostic gap by identifying further genetic markers to complement our current mutation testing for RAS positive samples.

Eligibility: Candidates with experience in bioinformatics or microRNA quantification using qPCR and the Nanostring platform will be ranked highly and given priority. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with their PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents are given priority (if all other qualifications are equal).

Identifying and validation of potential driver genes in prostate cancer

Contacts for this project: Dr. Tarek Bismar tarek.bismar@cls.ab.ca

Title of Project: Identifying and validation of potential driver genes in prostate cancer

PI: Tarek Bismar, MD clinician scientist

Brief Description of the project: Our laboratory is one of the few translational labs investigating molecular signatures of prostate cancer (PCA) in Canada. We utilize both patients’ samples collected from our institution along with in-vitro and in-vivo experiments to assess and validate our signatures and novel genes combined with state of the art bioinformatics approach. We have access to more than 2000 prostate samples which are annotated with detailed clinical outcome data and already assembled onto several unique tissue microarrays. Currently our lab focuses on identifying and catheterizing novel genes in relation to molecular subtypes of PCA, mainly ERG, PTEN and SPINK1 genetic aberrations. Utilizing Oncomine database and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) PCA cohort, we have identified several novel genes implicated in cancer in general and PCA.

Predicting PCA progression remains one of the major issues facing clinicians and currently there are no reliable makers that can be implemented clinically to assist physicians in their daily decisions. Our lab is currently investigating signatures in two scenarios, the active surveillance population and in patients exhibiting neuroendocrine differentiation post hormonal and radiotherapy which are known to be one of the most aggressive forms of PCA.

Required education and experience:

  1. Qualified post doc fellows should have experience in various invitro cellular models and be able to work independently and compete for external funding alongside other lab members under the supervision of the PI.
  2. The candidate should demonstrate strong motivation and interest in performing research and generating hypothesis.
  3. The student should have excellent organizational/communication skills.

The post doc will have the ability to interact with various fellows within the Alberta prostate cancer research initiative (APCaRI) network and also McMaster University. The candidate will have opportunities to present at provincial and national meetings.

Eligibility: Candidates with experience in the below will be ranked highly and given priority

  1. Culture and maintain cell lines in vitro.
  2. The successful candidate able to perform proliferation, migration and invasion assays
  3. Knowledge in cell transfection, siRNA and molecular cloning, CO-IP and luciferase experiments etc
  4. Knowledge in bioinformatics, FISH or IHC is of added value, but not necessary needed at the start.

DNA repair and Cellular Aging Research Specific Projects

Submitted by srtariqu on Wed, 04/13/2016 - 3:29pm

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Mechanisms of DNA double strand break repair

Contact for this project: Dr. Susan Lees Miller leesmill@ucalgary.ca

Project Title: Mechanisms of DNA double strand break repair

Supervisor: Dr. S.P. Lees-Miller

Supervision and Lab Space: This project is to work on the biochemistry and molecular cell biology of DNA double strand break repair within the Robson DNA Science Centre within the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute at the University of Calgary. The post-doctoral scholar working on these projects will work within the Robson DNA Science Centre laboratory space. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD$50,000 per year (plus benefits). The candidate will be expected to apply for independent funding within the first year of the project.

Project Summary: The project is to investigate the mechanism of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and the interplay between NHEJ and homologous recombination in mammalian cells and is part of a multi-centre, NIH-funded project entitled Structural Biology of DNA Repair Machines. This project will focus on the biochemistry and molecular cell biology of DNA double strand break repair with opportunities for collaboration on the structural biology of DNA double strand break repair. 

Eligibility: Candidates with experience in protein purification, molecular biology, mammalian tissue culture and cancer biology and a strong publication record will be ranked highly and given priority. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with a PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.

Targeting ATM-deficient tumours with PARP inhibitors

Contact for this project: Dr. Susan Lees-Miller leesmill@ucalgary.ca or Dr. Gwyn Bebb gwyn.bebb@ahs.ca

Project Title: Targeting ATM-deficient tumours with PARP inhibitors

Supervisor(s): Dr. S.P. Lees-Miller and Dr. D.G. Bebb

Supervision and Lab Space: This project represents a collaboration between the Lees-Miller and Bebb laboratories at the Robson DNA Science Centre within the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute at the University of Calgary. The post-doctoral scholar working on this project will work within assigned Robson DNA Science Centre laboratory space. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD$50,000 per year (plus benefits). The candidate will be expected to apply for independent funding within the first year of the project. 

Project Summary: Our laboratories have previously reported that mantle cell lymphoma and gastric cancer cell lines with loss or mutation of the DNA damage response protein kinase ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) are sensitive to the poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, olaparib (see PMID numbers 20124459, 22416035 24841718 and 25935535). In this project, we will extend these findings to cell line and animal models of other ATM-deficient cancers including lung, colorectal, prostate and breast.

Eligibility: Candidates with experience in mammalian tissue culture, molecular and cancer biology and a strong publication record will be ranked highly and given priority. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with a PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.

Structure-based mechanisms of DNA double strand break repair

Contact for this project: Dr. Gareth Williams gareth.williams2@ucalgary.ca

Project Title: Structure-based mechanisms of DNA double strand break repair

Supervisor(s): Dr. Gareth Williams

Supervision and Lab Space: This is one of two projects on the structural and cell biology of DNA double strand break repair available at the Robson DNA Science Centre within the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute at the University of Calgary. The post-doctoral scholar working on these projects will work within the Robson DNA Science Centre laboratory space. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD $50,000 per year (with additional benefits on top of this). The candidates will be expected to apply for independent funding within the first year of the project. 

Project Summary: The project is to use X-ray crystallography and small-angle X-ray scattering to investigate structure-based mechanisms of homologous recombination repair (HRR), and is part of a multi-centre, NIH-funded project entitled Structural Biology of DNA Repair Machines.

Eligibility: Candidates with experience in structural biology, protein purification, molecular biology, and cancer biology will be ranked highly and given priority. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with their PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.

Brain Tumor Research Specific Projects

Submitted by srtariqu on Wed, 04/13/2016 - 3:49pm

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Epigenomic landscapes in cancer stem cells from pediatric brain tumor patients

Contacts for this project: Dr. Jennifer Chan jawchan@ucalgary.ca or Dr. Marco Gallo marco.gallo@ucalgary.ca

Project Title: Epigenomic landscapes in cancer stem cells from pediatric brain tumor patients

Supervisor(s): Dr. Marco Gallo, PhD, and Dr Jennifer Chan, MD

Supervision and Lab Space: This project represents a collaboration between two laboratories in the Clark H Smith Brain Tumour Centre at the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute, University of Calgary. The post-doctoral scholar working on this project will benefit from close interactions between basic and clinician scientists, and a strong emphasis on translational opportunities. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD$50,000 per year (plus additional benefits). The candidate will be expected to apply for independent award funding within the first year of the project.

Project Summary: Histones and histone variants compose the nucleosome, which is the fundamental unit of chromatin structure. Recent publications showed mutations in the histone variant H3.3 in one third of pediatric glioma patients. The role of H3.3 in initiation of pediatric gliomas has not been completely elucidated, and such studies have been hampered by lack of appropriate tumor models. We have access to patient-derived pediatric glioma cultures, with and without H3.3 mutations. The successful postdoctoral fellow will use these pre-clinical models to investigate the role of H3.3 and other histone variants in modulating chromatin architecture and cancer stem cell properties in pediatric gliomas. The candidate will become proficient in modern epigenomic techniques, including chromatin immunoprecipitation, chromatin conformation assays, and next generation sequencing. There will be opportunities to learn analysis tools for next generation sequencing data, which is a fundamental skillset in the post-genomic era.

Eligibility: Candidates with experience in patient-derived cell culture, protein work, next generation sequencing and basic bioinformatics will be ranked highly and given priority. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with their PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents are given priority (if all other qualifications are equal).

Studying the regulation of cell and tissue growth

Contact for this project: Dr. Savraj Grewal grewalss@ucalgary.ca

Project Title: Studying the regulation of cell and tissue growth

Supervisor(s): Dr. Savraj Grewal

Project Summary: The main focus of our lab is to study the control of growth using Drosophila as a model system. We use a combination of molecular, genetic and proteomic approaches to investigate the cell-cell signalling pathways and the genetic mechanisms that control how cell, tissue and body growth are regulated during development. For more details on our lab’s research, visit our lab web page: www.thegrewallab.com

Supervision and Lab Space: Our lab is a member of the Clark Smith Center, a Brain Tumour Research Program at the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute in Calgary, Alberta. We are also members of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD$50,000 per year (with additional benefits on top of this). The candidate will be expected to apply for independent award funding within the first year of the project.

Eligibility: Candidates with experience in any area of molecular, cellular or developmental biology are encouraged to apply. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with their PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents are given priority (if all other qualifications are equal).

The role of the tumour microenvironment in glioma progression and treatment resistance

Contacts for this project: Dr. Donna Senger senger@ucalgary.ca or Dr. Stephen Robbins srobbins@ucalgary.ca

Project Title: The role of the tumour microenvironment in glioma progression and treatment resistance.

Supervisor(s): Dr. Donna Senger and Dr. Stephen Robbins, Scientists

Supervision and Lab Space: This project represents a collaboration between Drs. Senger and Robbins laboratories at the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute with association with the Clark Smith Brain Tumour Centre at the University of Calgary. The post-doctoral scholar working on this project will work within open concept laboratory space within Health Research Innovation Centre. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD$50,000 per year. The candidate will be expected to apply for independent award funding within the first year of the project.

Project Summary: Despite a deeper molecular understanding of brain tumors such as glioblastoma survival rates are still measured in months with very few cases of long-term survival. This project focuses on the brain environment and how it impacts brain tumor progression. While there are a large number of potential contributing factors for clinical failure we propose that the unique microenvironment for which the glioma cells reside within the brain is a major contributor to the complexity and challenges of treating this disease. The tumor microenvironment consists of cells, soluble factors, signaling molecules and extracellular matrix that can be co-opted by the cancer cells to fuel tumor growth as well as contribute to therapeutic resistance. This project is in line with the emerging shift in therapeutic emphasis from the glioma cells that contain numerous genetic mutations to one of modulating and/or targeting the normal cellular environment to suppress tumor growth and prolong overall survival of glioma patients.

Eligibility: Candidates with documented evidence of research productivity (publications) will be ranked highly and given priority. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with their PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents are given priority (if all other qualifications are equal).

Childhood Cancer Research Specific Projects

Submitted by srtariqu on Wed, 04/13/2016 - 3:50pm

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Investigating the in vivo consequences of exogenous bone morphogenetic proteins in an orthotopic mouse model of osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma

Contacts for this project: Dr. Michael Monument mjmonum@ucalgary.ca or Dr. Frank Jirik jirik@ucalgary.ca

Project Title: Investigating the in vivo consequences of exogenous bone morphogenetic proteins in an orthotopic mouse model of osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma.

Supervisor(s): Michael J. Monument MD, MSc and Frank Jirik MD

Supervision and Lab Space: This is a collaborative research project involving the Monument and Jirik laboratories at the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute at the University of Calgary. Dr. Monument’s lab is a part of the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders Research Program. The post-doctoral scholar working on this project will work within shared laboratory space within the Monument and Jirik lab. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD$50,000 per year (with additional benefits on top of this). The candidate will be expected to apply for independent award funding within the first year of the project.

Project Summary: Bone sarcomas such as osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma are rare primary bone malignancies with a predilection for paediatric patients. After surgical resection, limb salvage options are extremely challenging. Often allograft bone is used to reconstruct bone loss; however bone healing with these constructs can be unpredictable. Exogenous recombinant bone morphogenetic proteins, rhBMP-2, rhBMP-7 can augment bone healing, however the safety of these products in the setting of a bone sarcoma reconstruction remains unclear. This project will involve testing exogenous BMPs in an animal model of intra-osseous bone sarcoma growth and dissemination. The goals of this project will be to determine if the exogenous application of BMPs influence bone sarcoma growth and metastatic spread. Experiments will involve tissue culture, cloning, animal surgery and handling, in vivo imaging and genomic sequencing. There is considerable translational potential with this project.

Eligibility: Candidates with experience in translational cancer research and skills in tissue culture and animal handling will be ranked highly and given priority. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with their PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents are given priority (if all other qualifications are equal).

Determining the role of inflammation in organ-selective metastasis

Contacts for this project:  Dr. Donna Senger senger@ucalgary.ca | Dr. Stephen Robbins srobbins@ucalgary.ca

Project Title: Determining the role of inflammation in organ-selective metastasis

Supervisor(s): Dr. Donna Senger and Dr. Stephen Robbins, Scientists

Supervision and Lab Space: This project represents a collaboration between Drs. Senger and Robbins laboratories at the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute at the University of Calgary. The post-doctoral scholar working on this project will work within an open concept laboratory space within HRIC. The initial appointment will be for two years at a salary rate of CAD$50,000 per year. The candidate will be expected to apply for independent award funding within the first year of the project.

Project Summary: Cancer is a leading cause of death and most patient’s die from metastases rather than from their primary tumour.  This is largely based on the fact that most metastases are resistant to conventional therapies. There are many clinical examples of cancers with organotropic metastasis. For example breast cancer has the propensity to metastasize to the bone, lungs and liver, sarcomas favour lung metastasis while colorectal and pancreatic cancers tend to metastasize to the liver. This project builds from our previous work to address the fundamental research question regarding cancer metastasis, what features of specific cancer types, and the tumour microenvironment in which they grow, enable cancer cells to metastasize or spread to selective organ sites? Currently we are investigating the role of the vascular endothelium and the innate immune system in regulating organ-selective metastasis.

Eligibility: Candidates with documented evidence of research productivity (publications) will be ranked highly and given priority. Candidates must be within 3 years of graduating with their PhD or MD. International applicants are welcome, although Canadian citizens and permanent residents are given priority (if all other qualifications are equal).