GW’S Center for Translational Medicine and Department of Surgery conducts innovative, fundamental basic science research. Our clinical and research interests have been to develop effective therapeutics targeting liver and gastrointestinal (GI) cancers with a focus on the TGF-Beta signaling pathway and its target genes as well as CEACAMs. We identify and validate tissue and blood-based combinatorial biomarker panels, derived from functional pathway-specific studies, to improve the early detection of liver and GI cancer as well as stratify populations according to their risk for developing cancers.

Over the past ten years, we have developed integrated approaches—combining bioinformatics analysis with in vivo mouse models, and in vitro biological and biochemical methods—to identify and validate the relevance of TGF-Beta-Smad3 signaling in liver and GI cancer. Alcohol-induced liver damage remains a major health issue and liver cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. We have revealed that TGF-Beta mutant mice are highly sensitive to the toxic effects of alcohol, and develop liver cancers. We hypothesize that TGF-Beta deficient mice resulting from Smad3 and Beta-2SP defect with impaired expression of key genes involved in DNA repair (FancD2), chromatin modulation (CTCF and Sirtuins) and stem cell homeostasis, are susceptible to alcohol-induced liver inflammation, injury, and cancer. We will test mechanisms by which the tripartite complex of CTCF, Smad3 and Beta-2SP regulates FancD2 expression and other targets, stem cell homeostasis in the liver, and the response to liver injury induced by alcohol, DEN and high fat diet. We will use a variety of in vitro molecular biological assays as well as transgenic mouse models to test our hypothesis and explore the underlying mechanism.

The Center is searching for a full-time Senior Research Assistant. This position aids the current researchers (Postdoctoral Scientist, Research Scientists and/or Lab Manager) in planning, executing, and analyzing biochemical, biological and microbiology experiments in the context of early detection of liver cancer and alcohol-induced liver damage experiments. The RA conducts experiments under the direct supervision of the Assistant professor/lab manager and receives mentoring and direct guidance from the Principal investigator in order to advance their career in academic research.

Responsibilities Include:
– Maintain Animal Husbandary: Breeding, tail clipping, DNA extraction, genotyping, mouse dissections, injection/inoculation of xenograft models.
– Cell culture: maintain/culture cells and freezing cancer cell lines, transfection/infection such as overexpression and knocking-down of target gene in cells, able to generate mouse embryonic fibroblasts and primary cell lines from the tumor tissues.
– Plasmid Cloning: Transfection into E. coli and purification of plasmid DNA (Miniprep and Midiprep) and restriction enzyme digestions, site mutagenesis, cloning and screening for desired clones.
– RNA extraction and cDNA synthesis and DNA extraction.
– Generation of induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells
– Optimizes, develops western blots assays, protein assays, QPCR, ChIP, as well as IHC assays.
– Places orders, organizes the lab suppliers, maintains and troubleshoots equipment.
– Plans and schedules experiments consistent with the timeline and objectives of ongoing research projects, participates in group meetings and presents data.
– Complies with Good laboratory Practice, Biosafety guidelines, keeps inspection records and generates standard operating procedures and reports, keep laboratory notes.
– Performs other related duties as assigned. The omission of specific duties does not preclude the supervisor from assigning duties that are logically related to the position.

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About George Washington University

The George Washington University (GW, GWU, or George Washington) is a private research university in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1821 as Columbian College, the university has since grown to comprise fourteen undergraduate and graduate colleges and schools, including the School of Media and Public Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, Law School, and School of Public Health. George Washington’s main campus is located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood with two satellite campuses located in the Foxhall neighborhood of Washington, D.C. and in Ashburn, Virginia. It is the second oldest and the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia.