Postdoctoral Scholar – Research Associate – (Los Angeles, California, United States)

The Qin Laboratory in the Chemistry Department of University of Southern California invites applications for postdoctoral scholar positions supported by funding from NIH and NSF. The selected individual will use a combination of biophysical and biochemical techniques to investigate mechanisms of target recognition by the programmable CRISPR nucleases that are revolutionizing genome engineering. The appointment is available for three years contingent on satisfactory research progress, and salary will commensurate with qualifications.

Research in the Qin lab uses a combination of biochemical and biophysical tools to understand specific recognition of nucleic acids. A specialty of our group is the development and application of a biophysical method, called Site-Directed Spin Labeling (SDSL), which utilizes a stable radical (i.e., a spin label) and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy to obtain structural and dynamic information of bio-molecules. Our lab has developed new SDSL methods for investigating nucleic acids and protein-nuclei acid complexes in bulk solutions and at the single-molecule level. These SDSL tools have been successfully applied to investigate the high-molecular-weight CRISPR-Cas complexes, which encompass protein, RNA and DNA. Current projects focus on using spin-labeling, fluorescence spectroscopy, thermodynamics and enzyme kinetics analysis, systems biology methods, in vivo gene editing, and computation to investigate mechanisms of DNA target recognition by CRISPR-Cas9 and Cas12a. For more information, please visit

Preferred Qualifications: Candidate must have a Ph.D. in a relevant field, which includes but is not limited to Chemistry, Biophysical Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Molecular Biology. While all applications will be considered, candidates with prior experience on protein expression, mutagenesis, structural analyses, and protein-nucleic acid interaction are particularly welcome. Strong writing and communication skills, as evidenced by first author publications, are highly desirable.

Salary Range:

The annual base salary range for this position is $64,480 $70,928. When extending an offer of employment, the University of Southern California considers factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the candidate’s work experience, education/training, key skills, internal peer equity, federal, state and local laws, contractual stipulations, grant funding, as well as external market and organizational considerations.

Performs other related duties as assigned or requested. The university reserves the right to add or change duties at any time.

Required Documents and Additional Information:

  • Resume and cover letter required (may be uploaded as one file). Please do not submit your application without these documents.
  • Job openings are posted for a minimum of (5) five business days. This job may be removed from posting boards and filled any time after the minimum posting period has ended, so please apply on the same business day if interested.
  • USC has excellent benefits, including health benefits for staff and their family with access to the renowned university medical network; eligibility for retirement plans with employer contributions after six months of employment; tuition benefits for staff and their family; free Professional Development classes; central Los Angeles location with easy access to commuter trains, buses and free tram pick up services; discounts to sporting and other campus events.

Fixed-term, one year appointment.

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