Department of Pediatrics and Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
We are looking for a postdoctoral fellow who will strive to make a meaningful impact on maternal and child health by contributing to leading-edge research aimed at improving pain management.
Pain management is often under-emphasized, yet inadequate pain relief can interfere with a mother’s ability to care for her child, and can disrupt sleep, impact behaviour and cause vomiting in children. In light of the current opioid crisis, there is increased urgency to balance both safety and effectiveness of opioid-based analgesics, while simultaneously limiting the use of opioids. Given the resulting hesitancy associated with prescribing opioids, we are likely undertreating pain in women and children.
Safe and effective pain management is influenced by individual genetic differences that dictate both how we feel pain and how we respond to specific analgesics. Using pharmacogenomics, the study of how genetic variability contributes to individual drug responses, we are identifying genetic factors that can help predict an individual’s need for, and subsequent response to, opioid and non-opioid analgesics.
As part of the multi-disciplinary Canadian Pharmacogenomics Network for Drug Safety (CPNDS) based at the University of British Columbia, the candidate will work closely with clinicians, scientists and patients across Canada to develop a pipeline from genetic discoveries to predictive genetic testing to help select the safest and most effective analgesics for women and children based on their unique genetic signatures.
The candidate will lead projects focused on improving pain management through pharmacogenomics, where the candidate will work toward the following goal:
- Establish a C. elegans platform to discover and validate genetic factors that contribute to differences in pain perception and response to opioid and non-opioid analgesics
- Encompassing discovery of novel genetic components of pain/nociception (e.g., influencing noxious mechanosensensation) and response to analgesics (e.g., morphine)
- Working to validate roles for novel genetic factors, uncovered through genetic association studies, that contribute to differences in pain perception and response to opioid and non-opioid analgesics
The candidate will conduct research at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute where they will have access to state-of-the-art molecular biology, genotyping, sequencing and analysis platforms housed within CPNDS-developed laboratories for drug safety research and implementation.
The candidate will report directly to Dr. Catrina Loucks, a geneticist experienced in the use of the simple roundworm C. elegans to validate genetic discoveries. The candidate will also benefit from close collaborations with CPNDS-trained clinicians at 32 Canadian centres to support patient recruitment, highly experienced lab managers/technicians, Dr. Bruce Carleton (clinical pharmacologist), Dr. Colin Ross (geneticist) and Dr. Shahrad (Rod) Rassekh (pediatric oncologist), who together have extensive expertise/success in drug safety and effectiveness research spanning genetic discoveries, validation of findings using a variety of model systems and incorporation of predictive genetic testing into clinical care.
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. The period of funding is 2 years; however, an extended appointment of at least 3 years is preferred given the complexity of the work involved. An extended appointment is dependent on the ability to successfully secure additional grant/trainee funding, where the CPNDS and CPNDS-trained postdoctoral fellows have been extremely successful in the past.
UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. All qualified persons are encouraged to apply. UBC is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, personal of any sexual orientation or gender identity, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. However, Canadian and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.
Applicants with a background in, and enthusiasm for, C. elegans research, molecular biology, pharmacogenetics/pharmacogenomics, medical genetics, genomics/bioinformatics, data science, clinical pharmacology or other related fields are encouraged to apply. If interested, please submit a cover letter detailing research interests, curriculum vitae, writing sample and three references to: Dr. Catrina Loucks, MSc, PhD | Assistant Professor | email: firstname.lastname@example.org with “Postdoc Position – C. elegans” listed in the subject line.
This offer is conditional upon successful completion of a Criminal Record Check.
This posting is for the UBC Vancouver campus in British Columbia, Canada.
Please refer to reference number HS-55236 during correspondence about this position.
Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.
About UBC’s Faculty of Medicine
Every day across British Columbia, trainees and researchers at the UBC Faculty of Medicine are turning skills into jobs, investments into discoveries, and discoveries into solutions that are transforming health for everyone.
The UBC Faculty of Medicine offers a diverse array of training opportunities including cutting-edge research experiences in the biosciences, globally recognized population health education, quality health professional training, as well as several certificate and online training options. The Faculty of Medicine is home to more than 1,700 graduate students housed in 23 graduate programs (14 of which offer doctoral research options). Year after year, research excellence in the Faculty of Medicine is supported by investment from funding sources here at home and around the globe, receiving approximately $1.6B in total research funding in the last five years.