Postdoctoral Fellow – University of Colorado

The University of Colorado seeks a full-time Postdoctoral Fellow to work in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Endocrinology, at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado.   

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (UC-AMC) is the largest academic health center in the Rocky Mountain region which brings together on the same campus for the first time three hospitals and educational, administrative, and research facilities for all six health science schools of CU Denver. UC-AMC includes 256 acres (1.0 km2) of land with a total of over 7 million square feet of indoor space dedicated to cutting-edge clinical, research, and educational pursuits. UC-AMC includes a total of 3 hospitals (Children’s Hospital Colorado, University Hospital, and the Rocky Mountain Regional Veterans Affairs Medical Center), a plethora of dedicated research buildings housing such resources as the Adult Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC), the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, and 6 comprehensive schools and colleges (School of Medicine, School of Dental Medicine, School of Pharmacy, School of Public Health, College of Nursing, and Graduate School for various fields in the biological and biomedical sciences). A biotechnology park also sits adjacent to the Medical Campus and its close proximity helps facilitate close collaboration between investigators at the University and industry. The UC-AMC was awarded >$1.2 billion in federal, state, international, and foundation funding sources in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, making it the 3rd year in a row exceeding $1 billion in annual sponsored research funds and representing a 15.5% growth rate.

The Bjornstad Research Group is a well-funded and innovative team at UC-AMC that investigates and seeks to understand the development of complications (e.g., heart and kidney disease) in obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, among other diseases. We aim to understand the causes of complications, and ultimately translate the findings into therapies and preventive strategies.

The Bjornstad Research Group is seeking a full-time postdoctoral fellow with a strong background in omics analysis (e.g., proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics and lipidomics), biomarker analysis and/or MRI or PET data analysis (experience in all of these areas is not expected or needed). Successful applicants must be motivated, reliable, and mature, able to multi-task and learn new tasks quickly, and have strong interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills (both verbal and written). Our team seeks to understand the metabolic, molecular and hormonal determinants of kidney and heart disease in children and adults with obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Our team is actively working on multiple clinical projects and trials collecting omics data from blood, urine and tissue (e.g., kidney) as well multimodal MRI and PET data, and we are seeking a postdoctoral fellow to make significant contributions to data analysis and manuscript writing. The postdoctoral fellow will also be responsible for assisting with MRI and omics data collection and management of large cohort studies and mechanistic trials. This position is ideal for individuals interested in pursuing an independent research career in an academic setting, and the fellow will be fully supported in the pursuit of independent funding (e.g., NRSA fellowship [T32], K Award [K01]).

Postdoctoral Research Project: The fellow would join a team of physician-scientists, epidemiologists, statisticians and scientists conducting research in pediatric and adult cohort studies evaluating novel risk factors and determinants of heart and kidney disease in obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as mechanistic trials examining how weight loss surgery and new therapies improve heart and kidney function.

Manuscript Preparation, Analysis, and Publication: The fellow is expected to focus his/her/their efforts on a well-defined research project. The fellow will be responsible for manuscript preparation, analysis, and publication of data generated from the postdoctoral research project. In addition to these papers, the trainee will assist Dr. Bjornstad and collaborators with literature review, statistical analysis, and manuscript development of additional papers.

Grant Writing: The fellow will assist Dr. Bjornstad in developing new grant ideas and applications for internal and external grants involving cohorts and trials directed by the Bjornstad Research Group.

Other Responsibilities: The fellow will assist with general statistical needs of the Bjornstad Research Group and study collaborators including consulting on appropriate analytical strategies, implementation of analyses in trainee’s choice of statistical packages, interpretation of results, and assisting with writing analysis and results sections of grants and manuscripts. Mentorship of undergraduate and graduate students may be incorporated into the trainee’s responsibilities as those opportunities become available. The position requires planning, executing, and troubleshooting analyses with minimal supervision on a daily basis.

This position reports directly to Petter Bjornstad, M.D., and will work closely with Laura Pyle, PhD in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Endocrinology.

The trainee may be responsible for supervision of undergraduate and graduate students who work directly with him/her/them on projects within the Bjornstad Research Group.

Processing and analysis on multi-modal MRI data, including the programming and implementation of automated scripts.
MRI data management for studies in active data collection
Processing and analysis of omics data including coding and implementation of pipelines
Assistance with preparing NIH progress reports
Manuscript development, including as first author
Research proposal development

Strong coding and analytical proficiency in R, SAS or Python
Interest in biomarker, multi-omics and/or functional imaging analysis
Interest in obesity, diabetes, kidney and heart disease
Ability to work independently with limited supervision
Excellent communication and organizational skills

Doctoral degree with training in omics AND/OR functional imaging (data acquisition, management, and analysis) AND/OR cardiovascular/renal physiology is required
Proficiency in programming using R, SAS or Python
Strong statistical analysis skills

Interest in obesity, diabetes, kidney and heart disease
Experience with biomarker discovery and multiomics analysis
Experience with MRI experimental design and data acquisition
FSL, FreeSurfer, fMRIprep, MATLAB, linux, and/or SPM, Circle, FireVoxel
Experience with machine learning analyses, version control and other reproducible research methods, high performance computing environments

Starting salary of $54,835 per year according to FY22 NIH guidelines for full-time employment for a post-doctoral fellow with 0 years of experience, or greater commensurate with number of years of experience.

The postdoc will receive $5,000 to purchase a computer/workstation, and there will also be separate funds provided for travel.

The postdoc will have access to the following datasets (brief descriptions):

Study NameDescriptionType of Data
TODAY (n~500)Longitudinal study in adolescents and young adults with youth-onset type 2 diabetes (T2D) with 15-year follow-up data.Clinical dataAdjudicated events (complications)Proteomics (SOMAScan 7K)MetabolomicsBiomarkers
Teen-LABS (n~160)Longitudinal study in youth with obesity with and without T2D before and after metabolic bariatric surgery.Clinical dataProteomics (SOMAScan 7K)MetabolomicsBiomarkers
Pima Indian Studies (n~200-300 depending on procedure)Longitudinal study in Pima people with T2D with 20-30+ years of follow-up dataClinical dataProteomics (SOMAScan)MetabolomicsLipidomicsWhole genome sequencingMorphometric and transcriptomic data (including single-cell RNA seq.) from kidney tissue Hard outcomes (kidney failure, death)
Local youth-onset type 2 diabetes (T2D) studies (n~50)Harmonized cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in youth-onset T2DRenal physiology data (iohexol and p-aminohippurate clearance data)Hyperglycemic and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp dataArginine stimulation test dataKidney, heart, liver, and brain MRI dataKidney PET scans (11C-acetate)Kidney biopsy data (morphometric, single-cell RNA seq data, spatial metabolomics)DXA scan for body compositionProteomicsMetabolomicsBiomarkersClinical data
Local youth-onset type 1 diabetes (T1D) studies (n~110)Harmonized cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in youth-onset T1DRenal physiology data (iohexol, p-aminohippurate and dextran clearance data)Hyperglycemic and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp dataKidney and brain MRI dataKidney PET data (11C-acetate)Kidney biopsy data (morphometric, single-cell RNA seq data, spatial metabolomics)DXA scan for body compositionProteomicsMetabolomicsBiomarkersClinical data
Polycystic kidney disease (n~30)Cross-sectional studies in adults with polycystic kidney diseaseRenal physiology data (iohexol and p-aminohippurate clearance data)Hyperglycemic clamp dataKidney MRI dataKidney PET data (11C-acetate)BiomarkersClinical data

In addition to the above, there are also mechanistic trials and ongoing studies including an accelerated longitudinal study in 100 youth to determine the effects of sexual maturation of kidney structure and function, which will provide additional data and opportunities.

To apply: