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The Avgousti lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has an opening for a postdoctoral fellow. Our laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the mechanisms by which viruses hijack chromatin. Due to the major advancement in sequencing technologies and the expansion of the field of epigenetics, exploiting viruses to investigate chromatin biology has enormous potential. Our goal is to advance basic understanding of viral manipulation of chromatin and uncover new aspects of chromatin biology.
Much like the cellular genome, viral genomes are compacted in virus particles with small basic molecules to maximize space and be poised for gene expression. Some DNA viruses use cellular histone proteins to compact their genomes whereas others use small basic molecules. Adenoviruses encode their own histone-like protein, called protein VII, that forms a ‘beads on a string’ assembly with the viral genome. By examining protein VII in host chromatin, we discovered that protein VII sequesters the immune danger signal, HMGB1, in chromatin thereby dampening downstream inflammation (Avgousti et al, Nature 2016). This discovery sets the framework for deciphering how adenovirus manipulates host chromatin and more broadly how DNA viruses use histones or histone-like proteins for dual function: to compact their genomes and control host genomes.
We are looking for exceptional candidates with a recent PhD, a record of productive research (at least one first-author publication), with knowledge and experience in biochemistry and molecular biology. Virology experience would be preferred. Interested candidates should apply with a CV, a summary of research experience and interests, and contact information for three references.