Research Post Doc Fellow - Heuckeroth Laboratory

Philadelphia, PA, US, 19104

​Location: LOC_ABRAMSON-Abramson Building 

Req ID: 224919

Shift: Any

Employment Status: Regular - Full Time 


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We strongly encourage all candidates of diverse backgrounds and lived experiences to apply. 

Job Summary

We are recruiting for a postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Dr. Robert O. Heuckeroth at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Our goal is to find new ways to diagnose, treat and cure people with intestinal motility disorders. We focus on enteric nervous system and intestinal smooth muscle biology, but many cell types, nutrients, and microbes impact bowel motility so studies cover diverse topics. To pursue this work we use mouse models, human tissues and cells, stem cells, primary culture, biochemical methods, imaging, RNAseq, gut microbiome and metabolome data, coupled to human genetics and clinical information. We value rigorous quantitative work, innovation, and routinely pursue collaborative studies to take advantage of diverse skills needed to understand bowel motility. Our multidisciplinary team includes basic scientists and clinical GI motility experts at the Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility as part of a newly established Frontier Program at CHOP.

Bowel motility refers to coordinated patterns of contraction and relaxation needed to digest and absorb nutrients and to eliminate waste. To perform these tasks, intestinal smooth muscle is controlled by pacemaker cells and the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS has ~20 neuron types and ~ 4 types of glia. These ENS cells respond to stretching, gentle brushing of the epithelial surface, and to luminal nutrients in collaboration with enteroendocrine cells. Based on this sensory information the ENS “decides” on appropriate motility patterns and also controls intestinal blood flow and epithelial function. In addition, there are complex interactions between the ENS and bowel immune cells that appear relevant for bowel motility disorders and other types of bowel disease.

When cells that control bowel motility work well, we are unaware of their activity and can pursue our life goals. Unfortunately, for many people, bowel motility is not normal, causing difficulty swallowing, early satiety, abdominal distension, vomiting, constipation, and growth failure. Life-threatening bowel motility disorders include achalasia, gastroparesis, chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, and Hirschsprung disease.


The postdoctoral fellow will, under the direction/guidance of a mentor (principal investigator), assume responsibility for a specific, on-going research project.  The postdoc experience will serve to extend, refine and enhance skills necessary for professional and career development, and will enable the individual to broaden his/her scientific background by acquiring new research capabilities. It is expected that this individual will conduct independent scholarly research, and will contribute directly to the overall research goals of the project and the research group.  Postdocs will be expected to participate in project planning, recording and interpretation/evaluation of data, and communication of results. Postdocs will also be expected to acquire technical, lab management, and manuscript/grant writing skills; and participate in seminars, lectures, poster sessions and presentations at national meetings.  Postdoctoral fellows also may be required to supervise junior lab members, develop new methods and protocols for research, and assist with the development of other research projects in the lab.

Job Responsibilities

  1. Conduct independent scholarly research and develop new methods and protocols
  2. Participate in project planning, recording and evaluation of data
  3. Acquire technical, lab management and grant writing skills
  4. Participate in seminars, lectures, poster sessions and presentation at national meetings
  5. Supervise junior lab members
  6. Assist with other research projects

Required Education and Experience

  • A terminal degree PhD, MD, DVM, etc.
  • According to the CMS (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services) a copy of diploma or transcript is required as proof of academic achievement for all non-laboratory personnel performing non-waived POC testing

To carry out its mission, CHOP is committed to supporting the health of our patients, families, workforce, and global community.  As a condition of employment, professionals working onsite—at any CHOP location, for any portion of time—must be vaccinated for COVID-19. Learn more. 

CHOP also requires employees who work in patient care buildings to receive an annual influenza vaccine. Employees may request exemptions for valid religious and medical reasons.  Start dates may be delayed until candidates are immunized or exemption requests are reviewed.  

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Nearest Major Market: Philadelphia

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