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Postdoctoral Fellow - Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics

Postdoctoral Fellowships

Grand Rapids, MI
ID: 955-085


Van Andel Institute’s (VAI) laboratory of Gerd P. Pfeifer, Ph.D. is looking for a skilled and collaborative post-doctoral fellow to join the lab to study mechanisms relevant for the origins of human cancer. Our lab works on epigenetic pathways in cancer and other diseases with a focus on DNA methylation and DNA demethylation. We study the biochemical and genetic mechanisms that lead to aberrant DNA methylation patterns in cancer. The other major research direction in the lab is the quest to understand the mechanistic basis of diverse mutational signatures found in cancer genomes. Positions are available to work in either one of these areas.


Why choose the Pfeifer Laboratory?

  • The laboratory employs a multidisciplinary approach in numerous experimental systems, including cell-based models, a few animal models, cell biology, biochemistry, genomics, epigenomics, and bioinformatics.
  • The laboratory focuses on addressing the biological mechanisms, both genetic and epigenetic, that lead to the emergence of malignant cells. Cancer types of interest are lung cancer, melanoma, esophageal cancer, liver cancer and others.
  • To study the origin of cancer mutations, we developed a novel technique, circle-damage sequencing (CD-seq), which can be applied to many types of DNA damage.
  • Dr. Pfeifer is an established mentor. He has a strong track record in preparing trainees for a successful career in both academia and industry (over 30 trainees). His mentorship style is that the fellow should be self-motivated and may play leadership roles in the lab.
  • The Pfeifer Lab is within the Department of Epigenetics, which includes a collaborative group of internationally renowned scientists seeking to understand epigenetic processes and their relationship to human disease.


Necessary Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D. graduate with experience in any of the following areas: epigenetics, genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and/or cancer research.  At least one publication in these fields would be desirable.


Description of a Successful Candidate:

  • A self-motivated individual who can strive for good research productivity and take responsibility for independent management of a project.
  • A detail-oriented researcher who keeps a clear grasp of the big picture.
  • A team player who proactively shares knowledge and expertise with lab members.


Why join Van Andel Institute as a Postdoctoral Fellow?

Postdoctoral Fellows are full-time employees and receive a competitive annual salary beginning at $70,000.

Learn more about VAI's dedication to investing in postdoctoral trainees and the recently announced salary increase here

Postdoctoral fellows are a crucial part of Van Andel Institute’s efforts to improve the health and enhance the lives of current and future generations. 

Along with the competitive salary, our Postdoctoral Fellows are eligible for VAI benefits, including:

  • Medical, dental and vision coverage
  • Employer-sponsored life and AD&D insurance
  • Additional voluntary life and AD&D insurance for employees and dependents
  • Short-term and long-term disability insurance
  • Flexible-spending accounts for health and child/elder care
  • 401 K retirement savings plans with employee/employer contributions
  • Paid vacation, holidays, personal days
  • Relocation Assistance


VAI recognizes that selecting where to complete a postdoctoral fellowship is a significant decision for postdoctoral fellows. VAI has a dedicated Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, which provides a comprehensive professional development program.


The Institute is located in fun, affordable and family-friendly Grand Rapids, MI. Located on the banks of the Grand River, Grand Rapids offers all the big-city excitement you'd expect from a million-resident metropolis, featuring hundreds of restaurants and nightspots, theaters, museums, sports and concerts. The safe and clean downtown is surrounded by an eclectic mix of walkable neighborhoods. 


With a medical and life sciences industry boom, strong entrepreneurial activity, dedication to green building and living, and innovative employers, Grand Rapids' diverse economy continues to grow, offering exceptional career opportunities, green building and living, and innovative employers. 


Application Process:

If you possess these attributes and desire to help us drive science from the bench to the clinic; we would welcome speaking with you and encourage you to apply today by completing the following:


  • Qualified applicants should provide a cover letter outlining research experience and interests, a curriculum vitae, and the names and contact details of two or three references, to Prof. Gerd P. Pfeifer at with the subject heading “postdoc.”


At Van Andel Institute, the health and safety of our people is our number one priority. As a condition of employment at Van Andel Institute, all employees are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. “Full vaccination” is defined as two weeks after both doses of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks since a single-dose vaccine has been administered.


VAI is committed to achieving excellence through increasing diversity. We actively encourage applications from women, persons of color, persons with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups.


Van Andel Institute is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) Employer. 


As Van Andel Institute is a drug and alcohol-free employer, all prospective new employees undergo a urinalysis/drug test as part of our pre-employment process.  This is a 7-panel drug screen and it includes testing for Marijuana, Cocaine, Amphetamines, Opiates, PCP, Barbiturates, and Benzodiazepines.

This position is located at 333 Bostwick Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI. View the Google Map in full screen.