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RAP opportunity at Air Force Science and Technology Fellowship Program     AF STFP

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Investigating Francisella tularensis (Tularemia)


US Air Force Academy, Life Sciences Research Center

opportunity location
13.04.05.C0768 US Air Force Academy, CO 808406200


name email phone
Armand L Balboni 413.923.8775
Odaro John Huckstep 719-244-4538


The primary mission of the Life Sciences Research Center (LSRC) is to support United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), United States Air Force (USAF) and Department of Defense (DoD) research directives that serve the Warfighter. The LSRC is leading a Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) funded public-private partnership to perform pre-clinical research to advance a Francisella tularensis (Tularemia) vaccine candidate to Investigational New Drug (IND) status. 

Francisella tularensis is a Gram-negative bacterium with a wide natural geographic range that most frequently infects lagamorphs and rodents by both vector-borne and zoonotic pathways.  Community acquired human infections are relatively uncommon, but the CDC has deemed Francisella tularensis a Category A pathogen due to its potential for use in bioterror applications.

Candidates for this position should hold a PhD in a clinical science with solid bench experience or a PhD in a relevant basic science (Pharmaceutical/Biomedical Science, Biology, Biochemisty, Immunology, Chemistry, etc.).  With support of the LSRC leadership, the candidate is expected to develop a research and publication plan for investigations relevant to the field of Tularemia.  This project does not need to focus on vaccine development but may leverage data and products derived from the core vaccine development effort.  Possible project aims for this position include but are not limited to:  assays assessing immunological correlates of protection, prevalence and surveillance studies of wild-type Francisella Tularensis, and genotyping studies of wild-type Francisella Tularensis.

In addition to core research work, the candidate will receive mentorship and support in developing their own teaching and mentorship skills through mentoring and teaching (~20% time) USAFA cadets.


Shoudy LE, Namjoshi P, Giordano G, et al. The O-Ag Antibody Response to Francisella Is Distinct in Rodents and Higher Animals and Can Serve as a Correlate of Protection. Pathogens. 2021;10(12):1646. Published 2021 Dec 20. doi:10.3390/pathogens10121646

Lindgren H, Eneslätt K, Golovliov I, et al. Vaccine-Mediated Mechanisms Controlling Francisella tularensis SCHU S4 Growth in a Rat Co-Culture System. Pathogens. 2020;9(5):338. Published 2020 Apr 30. doi:10.3390/pathogens9050338

Smith MM, Van Hemert C, Atwood TC, et al. A SEROLOGIC SURVEY OF FRANCISELLA TULARENSIS EXPOSURE IN WILDLIFE ON THE ARCTIC COASTAL PLAIN OF ALASKA [published online ahead of print, 2022 Oct 27]. J Wildl Dis. 2022;10.7589/JWD-D-21-00162. doi:10.7589/JWD-D-21-00162

key words
Tularemia; Francisella; drug development; vaccine; immunology; correlates of protection; vector borne; molecular biology; pharmacology


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$95,000.00 $5,000.00

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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