Postdoc Developing Targeted Protein Therapeutics for Acute Critical Illnesses

Website University of Pennsylvania

Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunity at U Penn:

Developing Targeted Protein Therapeutics for Acute Critical Illnesses


We engineer targeted therapeutics for the treatment of acute critical illnesses, such as ARDS (the acute lung inflammation that kills in COVID-19), sepsis, stroke, and more. We employ the tools of protein engineering and nanomedicine to conjugate affinity moieties (e.g., antibodies and their derivatives) to therapeutics, in order to localize them to their site of action. We test these in mouse models of acute critical illness, as well as large animal models, and in ex vivo human organs that were deemed unsuitable for organ transplant.


The current postdoc position will be funded by a grant to develop targeted therapeutics to treat cytokine storm. Cytokine storm (also called CRS) occurs when inflammatory cytokines reach very high systemic levels, and occurs in COVID-19, after CAR-T therapy, in sepsis, trauma, and other lethal conditions. Our novel solution aims to clear the toxic cytokines from the systemic circulation, while preserving moderate cytokine levels in the local tissue, where cytokines are key for fighting infection and cancer. While we are hiring for this grant, the postdoc will also be empowered to develop their own de novo projects and/or build off existing technologies in the lab (such as our 2021 papers recently published in Nature Nanotechnology and accepted at Advanced Materials).


The PI, Dr. Jake Brenner, is a physician-scientist who also takes care of patients in the ICU, so the candidate will have the opportunity to observe the diseases we work on in the hospital, and work with clinicians who provide patient samples. The co-PI, Dr. Patrick Glassman, PhD, is a new faculty member in Pharmacology with expertise in protein engineering and pharmacokinetic modeling. We regularly partner with existing companies and spin out our own start-ups, giving the opportunity to gain experience interacting with industry.


Qualifications: Highly motivated PhD or MD (or international equivalent) with experience in one or more of the following fields: molecular biology, bioengineering, chemistry, pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences, or a related field. Prior experience in protein engineering and animal models is preferred.


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Contact: If you are interested in this position, please email our principal investigator, Jake Brenner:


Jake Brenner, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor & Attending Physician

Depts. of Medicine & Pharmacology

University of Pennsylvania


[email protected]

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