Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Using human iPSC-based cellular models to evaluate selective vulnerability to tau pathology in sporadic Alzheimer’s disease 1906534




Cambridge, Massachusetts




AbbVie's postdoctoral program is hiring postdocs from key academic institutions for preferred areas of science in the U.S. The successful candidate will conduct novel and impactful research over a two- to three-year period. High-impact publications and presentations at scientific meetings are expected outcomes. This assignment is expected to be for two years minimally and no more than three years.

AbbVie has established the Foundational Neuroscience Center (FNC) in Cambridge to investigate the fundamental biological mechanisms and develop therapeutic interventions for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Although it is widely understood that AD primarily affects neurons of the hippocampus and cortex, the mechanism underlying the selective vulnerability of these neurons to tau pathology remains unclear. Stem-cell technology offers the ability to convert stem cells from a single donor line into highly pure populations of different neuron subtypes representing both affected and unaffected neurons in AD. The tau biology group is seeking a highly motivated applicant with prior experience and expertise in cell biology and molecular neuroscience to leverage stem cell technology to test susceptibility to tau aggregation and to uncover the molecular signature characterizing vulnerability in a disease-relevant system.  The aim of this project is to differentiate human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) into neurons expressing markers of the forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain or peripheral nervous system, evaluate those neurons in our tau aggregation assay, and investigate mechanisms that underly the unique properties of each neuron subtype. 

Candidate Responsibilities:

  • Differentiate human induced pluripotent stem cells to different neuronal subtypes using published and internal protocols.
  • Use immunofluorescence and biochemistry techniques in combination with high content imaging and protein-based assays to characterize hiPSC-neurons with and without tau aggregates.
  • Collaborate with genomics experts to evaluate gene expression differences across hiPSC-neurons.
  • Generate reliable and reproducible data in a timely manner and present data to the team.
  • Read and apply relevant scientific literature.
  • Contribute to writing of publications, presentations, and patents.


Basic Qualifications:

  • Successful completion and defense of a Ph.D. in neuroscience, stem cell biology, or a related field.
  • Expertise in cell/molecular biology and biochemistry techniques (including culture of mammalian cells, transfection/transduction, immunofluorescence, fluorescent microscopy, high content imaging, qPCR, RNA-seq, western blotting).
  • Record of publication in peer-reviewed journal(s).
  • Familiarity with programs such as Excel, Word, Prism, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills including critical and analytical thinking.
  • Excellent communication, leadership, and project management skills.
  • Demonstrated scientific writing skills and strong verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to independently design and execute experiments, interpret data, and identify appropriate follow-up strategies.
  • Proven track record of teamwork, adaptability, innovation, initiative, and integrity.
  • Global mindset to thrive in a diverse culture and environment.
  • Strong organizational skills that facilitate planning, multitasking and working within timelines.
  • Highly motivated, detail-oriented, and curious of the science.
  • Desire to learn to novel neuroscience techniques.
  • U.S.-based work authorization.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Research background in neuroscience and/or stem cell biology.
  • Strong scientific background in neurodegenerative disease modeling and/or the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and their derivatives to model human disease.
  • Experience with human iPSC maintenance and differentiation of human iPSC to neurons.
  • Experience with automation.
  • Three letters of recommendation including thesis adviser and thesis committee members.

Key Leadership Competencies:

  • Builds strong relationships with peers and cross functionally with partners outside of the immediate team to enable higher performance.
  • Learns fast and can change course quickly where indicated.
  • Raises the bar and is never satisfied with the status quo.
  • Creates a learning environment, open to suggestions and experimentation to drive the science in the field of interest.
  • Embraces the ideas of others, nurtures innovation, and manages innovation to reality.