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RAP opportunity at Naval Research Laboratory     NRL

Intercellular Signaling and Functional Nanomaterials at the Abiotic/Biotic Interface


Naval Research Laboratory, DC, Center for Bio/Molecular Science & Engineering

opportunity location
64.15.09.B8545 Washington, DC 203755321


name email phone
James B. Delehanty 202.767.0291


A postdoctoral research position is available in the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the US Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC ( This unique opportunity will enable the applicant to work on two projects:

The first project, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), involves the functional testing and validation of novel “biocontrollers” for the discrete and finite control of intercellular communication among distinct mammalian cell phenotypes. Epithelial cells stably expressing ligand and receptor pairs in the Notch and BMP signaling pathways will be used to understand feedback loops between “sender” and “receiver” cells in mixed cell populations. The ultimate goal is to maintain subset populations of cells in distinct states with spatial and temporal control.

The second project, funded by NRL’s Institute for Nanoscience, is at the intersection of nanomaterials/molecular and cellular biology/biophysics. The goal is to understand how to elicit fine control over nanoparticle (NP) bioconjugates for the purposes of biosensing, cellular labeling and imaging and controlled drug delivery. Various nanomaterials (semiconductor quantum dots, gold NPs, liquid crystal NPs), molecular biology, protein and peptide engineering, Förster resonance energy transfer and cell biology will be used to understand how to implement functional nanobioconjugates at the biotic/abiotic interface for cellular labeling, imaging and sensing. A more recent area of interest is nanoparticle actuation; the controlled release of nanoparticle-appended cargos to elicit prescribed responses in targeted mammalian cells. This position presents an opportunity to work with a highly interdisciplinary and productive group to create new types of nanomaterial-based sensors and drug delivery systems.

The successful candidate will possess a multidisciplinary skill set including proficiency in the following: protein and peptide bioconjugation, molecular and cellular biology (including a strong working knowledge of cell signaling pathways and gene regulation), mammalian cell culture, and fluorescence (including fluorescence microscopy and live cell imaging). Familiarity with various nanoparticle systems and resonance energy/charge transfer is strongly desired but not required.

The Naval Research Laboratory is the Department of Defense’s corporate laboratory for the Navy and Marine Corps. The Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering works at the interface of chemistry, biology, biophysics, and materials science to solve critical problems of importance to the Navy and DOD.

To apply, interested applicants should email a (1) CV and cover letter and (2) the names of three references familiar with the applicant’s research work to Dr. James B. Delehanty (



Nag OK, Naciri J, Oh E, Spillmann CM, Delehanty JB: Lipid Raft-Mediated Membrane Tethering and Delivery of Hydrophobic Cargos from Liquid Crystal-Based Nanocarriers. Bioconjugate Chemistry 27(4): 982-993, 2016

Rowland CE, Susumu K, et al: Electric Field Modulation of Semiconductor Quantum Dot Photoluminescence: Insights Into the Design of Robust Voltage-Sensitive Cellular Imaging Probes. Nano Letters 15(10): 6848-6854, 2015

Field LD, Walper SA, Susumu K, Oh E, Medintz IL, Delehanty JB: Modulation of Intracellular Quantum Dot to Fluorescent Protein Forster Resonance Energy Transfer via Customized Ligands and Spatial Control of Donor-Acceptor Assembly. Sensors 15(12): 30457-30468, 2015


key words
Cell communication; Nanoparticle; Fluorescence; Molecular biology; Microscopy; Quantum dot; Signaling;


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


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$94,199.00 $3,000.00
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