Postdoctoral Fellowship at University of Rochester

Job Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Principal Investigator: Keith Nehrke/Gail VW Johnson

A postdoctoral position is available in the Nehrke ( and Johnson
(Gail Johnson Lab - University of Rochester Medical Center) laboratories at the University of
Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry to study how site-specific, Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-
relevant posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of tau exert toxic effects through their impact on
mitochondrial quality control pathways. This position is funded through a multi-PI R01 NIH grant.
This collaborative project utilizes both C. elegans and mammalian model systems to: (1)
determine the impact of AD relevant tau PTMs on mitochondrial stress responses and how this
influences healthy aging of neurons, (2) test whether tau with AD relevant PTMs alters mitophagy
and whether changes in mitophagy contribute to phenotypic severity, (3) address whether
enhancing mitochondrial quality control pathways is a viable therapeutic avenue. This will be
accomplished by using optogenetics to reversibly induce mitophagy or to accelerate lysosomal
acidification in model systems expressing AD relevant forms of tau followed by neuronal health
measures, and (4) address whether age-dependent neurodegeneration or changes in
mitochondrial quality control pathways persist after toxic tau clearance, we will tag the transgenic
tau proteins with an auxin-inducible degron (AID). These studies have already resulted in a strong
publication (PMID: 33168053). It is expected that the successful applicant will primarily be
involved in extending results from the C. elegans model system into mammalian primary neuron
systems. In the future, our studies will also include the use of mouse models to fully understand
how tau with AD-relevant PTMs impact mitochondrial function and neuron health in the context of

Candidates must hold a PhD that was awarded less than 3 years ago. A PhD in neuroscience or
a relevant field is preferable, and the candidate must be eligible for employment in the U.S. The
candidate should have experience with primary mammalian neuron culture model systems, basic
molecular biology methodologies and microscopy imaging techniques; experience with C.
elegans as a model system would be a plus.