Job Category

Faculty Non Bargaining

Job Title

Postdoctoral Research Fellow



Sorensen Laboratory | Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine | Faculty of Medicine (Poul Sorensen)


Job description

The Sorensen laboratory is seeking a highly-motivated postdoctoral fellow with leadership ability and a strong background in one or more of the following fields, namely molecular biology, immunology, and mouse modeling studies. Expertise in bioinformatics analysis is a definite asset. This is a full-time position under the supervision of Dr. Poul Sorensen at the British Columbia Cancer Research Institute in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, part of the University of British Columbia, a consistent top 40 worldwide university. The work focuses on functional characterization of pathways involved in tumor cell adaptation to diverse stresses of the tumor microenvironment (TME), including metabolic stress, and how such adaptation leads to disease progression, in high-risk childhood cancers (e.g. PMIDs: 34021002; 35365367; 37611092; 25965573; 31668005; 33908607; 32406909; 25800057). The goal is to use this information to identify and implement novel therapies, including immunotherapeutic targets, for the treatment of these diseases, including Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma, neuroblastoma, and CNS tumors. The position start date is flexible but is available immediately for the successful candidate.

This position is located within a health-care facility. Therefore, this position requires successful verification of full vaccination against Covid-19 provided prior to the start date, as required by the provincial health mandate.

Job summary

The work performed in the Sorensen laboratory seeks to utilize basic science approaches to uncover new treatment options in high-risk pediatric cancers, particularly in the targeting of metastatic disease.

The topic areas include but are not limited to the following;

  • utilizing proteomics, especially surfaceomic analysis, to identify novel immunotherapy targets for the development of antibody-based therapies in the treatment of high-risk pediatric cancers;
  • extensive use of in vitro and in vivo CRISPR screening to identify and functionally validate high-value pathways of interest from multi-omic studies;
  • therapeutic targeting of altered metabolic pathways in pediatric cancers;
  • elucidation of mechanisms of tumor cell stress adaptation in the TME, including metabolic reprogramming, and how this confers metastatic competence; and
  • the role of RNA binding proteins, stress granules, and altered mRNA translation in tumor cytoprotective responses.

Moreover, this position will provide opportunities to collaborate with international leaders in the field of pediatric basic, translational, and clinical research, including immunotherapy and antibody engineering. The selected fellow will initially be supported by grant funds, but will be strongly encouraged to apply for independent fellowship funding, and existing funding is of course an asset.

Organizational status

The PDF will be employed by the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. The Sorensen Laboratory is located at the BC Cancer Research Institute in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The candidate will report directly to the primary Investigator, Dr. Sorensen. The position requires to use a high degree of leadership, initiative, tact and professional judgement in carrying out responsibilities related to the research. Excellent writing skills are critical.

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC is a hybrid, academically intensive Department within the UBC Faculty of Medicine whose activities span a broad spectrum of teaching, research, and academic service, often performed in the milieu of clinical practice, and are ultimately devoted to improving the care, treatment, and well-being of patients.  The Department offers academic degrees at the bachelor’s (Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLSc)) and graduate (MSc, PhD) levels with the graduate program, one of the largest in the Faculty of Medicine, which has been recognized by UBC for its quality. The Department plays a major role in the MD undergraduate program and offers an accredited residency-training program. Faculty members participate across a spectrum of research from basic investigative to translational to clinical applied research and are recognized locally, nationally and internationally for their excellence. 

Work performed

  • Develop and implement research plan to validate and prioritize therapeutic targets in high-risk childhood cancers, based on omics data, including surfaceomic data.
  • Provide leadership, strategic direction, and translational research pertaining to the development of novel immunotherapy for the treatment of high-risk childhood cancers
  • Design and conduct animal experiments, molecular and cellular biology analysis, and bioinformatics analysis of CRISPR screening and other omics experiments. 
  • Prepare and present results at internal and external meetings and write manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Identify funding opportunities as well as write grant proposals
  • Lead and mentor junior trainees/students in the laboratory

Consequence of Error/Judgement

This is a senior research position with a critical role in the development of this emerging field. The PDF is accountable for the quality and integrity of the research and data, including analyses and interpretation, as well as the effective and efficient management of research projects and deliverables. This position requires innovation, strategic planning, and adaptability. Incorrect decisions or actions may damage the reputation of the laboratory, lead to loss of credibility in this field, and be financially costly.

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