The Project Scientist makes significant and creative contributions to a research or creative project in his or her academic discipline. The appointee possesses the subject matter expertise and the creative energy necessary to function at a high level of competence. The appointee will participate in activities to increase, improve, or upgrade competency. Appointees with Project (e.g., Scientist) titles may engage in University and public service. They do not have teaching responsibilities. Although the Project Scientist is expected to work independently under the general guidance of an academic member with an independent research program (i.e., Professor, Professional Researcher, Specialist in Cooperative Extension, etc.), he or she is not required to develop an independent research program or reputation. He or she will carry out research or creative programs with supervision by an individual in an academic title that carries with it automatic Principal Investigator status. The Project Scientist does not usually serve as a Principal Investigator but may do so by exception.
I. RESEARCH (85% effort)
Research Activity (70%)
Abnormal telomere shortening causes a wide range of human diseases due to stem cell depletion, while overactive telomerase is found in the vast majority of human cancers. The Xu lab synthesizes molecular genetics, cell biology and biochemical approaches, with cultured mammalian cells, to understand how telomerase functions to maintain telomere lengths in proliferating cells. The candidate will make original, creative and fundamental contributions to active research projects in telomere biology. This will be done in collaboration with P.I. Lifeng Xu, members of her laboratory and outside researchers. The candidate will consult with the P.I. on all aspects of such activities, and will engage in them only after consultation and approval. The candidate will be responsible for project outlines and implementation, including experimental design, coordination with collaborators and contractors, data reduction and final report. She/he will supervise students and technicians and help them with proper employment of equipment, appropriate use of techniques and methodology, interpretation of results, trouble shooting, and future directions. Specifically, candidate will work on the following projects:
a. Investigate how mammalian cellular factors orchestrate telomerase activity at telomeres. The extension of telomeres by telomerase can be regulated at two separable steps: telomerase recruitment and telomerase activation. Although the control of telomerase recruitment has been studied extensively in the past several years, molecular basis of telomerase activation is poorly understood. Recently, we have identified a region on TPP1 that is directly involved in stimulating telomerase processivity. The ongoing research in my lab also supports the idea that both the shelterin protein TPP1 and POT1 are required for activating telomerase at telomeres. Characterizing the mechanisms of telomerase activation will provide essential knowledge about the orchestrated telomere extension by cellular factors during the cell cycle and under specific developmental stages. Completing this project will suggest ways to manipulate telomerase function in human cells, and have profound implications for human cancer and aging research.
b. Characterize cellular factors whose inactivation rescues cells from telomere shortening triggered senescence. The Xu lab has carried out a genome-wide knock out screen for genes whose inactivation rescues cells from a telomere shortening triggered senescence. This screen was accomplished utilizing an engineered human cell line in which telomerase is abundantly expressed and assembled, but unable to extend telomeres. We have obtained a list of candidate proteins involved in triggering deleterious cellular responses upon critical telomere shortening. Completing this project will uncover novel proteins that play a role in telomere maintenance, while these roles may or may not be telomerase dependent.
These projects require specific skills, knowledge, and experience in the analysis of telomerase activity and telomere metabolism in cultured mammalian cells.
The candidate will publish research results in peer-reviewed journals, books and other outlets either independently or in collaboration with the P.I. or other members of the research team.
Grant Acquisition (5%)
The candidate will assist in securing project funding by researching, writing and editing grant requests and progress reports in collaboration with the P.I.
II. PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE AND ACTIVITY (10%)
The candidate will participate in relevant conferences, and the review of research proposals and scientific publications as appropriate. Project results will be presented at seminars, meetings and conferences in university and other public settings.
III. UNIVERSITY AND PUBLIC SERVICE (5%)
The candidate will engage in University service activities such as guest lecturing and committee service as appropriate. She/he will also help the PI supervise undergraduate and graduate students.
The University of California, Davis commits to inclusion excellence by advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do. We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community.
Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UC Davis positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available http://www.uscis.gov/e-verify.
UC Davis is a smoke & tobacco-free campus (http://breathefree.ucdavis.edu/). If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact the recruiting department.
UC Davis is the home of the Aggies — go-getters, change makers and problem solvers who make their mark at one of the top public universities in the United States. Since we first opened in 1908, we’ve been known for standout academics, sustainability and Aggie Pride as well as valuing the Northern California lifestyle. These themes are woven into our 100-plus-year history and our reputation for solving problems related to food, health, the environment and society.Our 5,300-acre campus is in the city of Davis, a vibrant college town of about 68,000 located in Yolo County. The state capital is 20 minutes away, and world-class destinations such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and the Napa Valley are within a two-hour drive.