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Postdoctoral Opening at Harvard School of Public Health


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The Laboratory of Environmental Epigenetics at the Harvard School of Public Health (Departments of Environmental Health and Epidemiology; PI: Andrea Baccarelli) invites highly motivated applicants to a 2‐3 year Postdoctoral Fellow position in computational environmental epigenomics. The laboratory currently investigates the molecular mechanisms and biomarkers that reflect reprogramming of health and disease trajectories in response to common risk factors and environmental exposures. The postdoctoral fellow will work on a research project emphasizing the statistical designs and analysis of genome‐wide DNA methylation data in a large scale longitudinal epigenome‐wide investigation examining DNA methylation in cord blood DNA in relation to prenatal factors and childhood obesity.


Applicants should possess a Ph.D. in Epidemiology, Statistics/Biostatistics, Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, or other relevant disciplines. Strong quantitative skills and practical experience working with large scale datasets are also necessary. Experience with 450K Illumina BeadChip methylation and/or other DNA methylation data, as well as familiarity with the R statistical software are desirable.


In this project, we seek to identify novel epigenomic biomarkers on cord blood DNA that could be used to reconstruct at birth obesogenic fetal‐life experiences and to profile risks of childhood obesity and related cardio metabolic phenotypes. We are using state‐of‐art technology for methylomic screenings of ~486K methylation sites on cord blood DNA from Project Viva, a pre‐ birth cohort with validated prenatal exposures since early pregnancy and multiple collections of child behaviors and phenotypes until age 12. We will first identify DNA methylation signatures correlated with fetal‐life obesogenic risk factors, i.e. maternal obesity, high gestational weight gain, and low maternal intakes of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and vitamin D. We will then characterize DNA methylation signatures predictive of adverse post‐natal trajectories of body weight, adiposity and cardio metabolic phenotypes from early life until 12 years of age. We will examine whether associations identified between methylomics and obesity‐related outcomes are attenuated by healthful postnatal behaviors (lower consumption of sugar‐sweetened beverages and fast food; lower TV/screen time; higher physical activity; age‐appropriate sleep duration).


The fellow will work closely with Dr. Baccarelli, with other quantitative Ph.Ds in the laboratory, wet‐lab epigeneticists, as well as and with collaborators in the Program of Quantitative Genomics and Center for Health Bioinformatics at Harvard.


Interested individuals should send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, two sample publications, and the names/phone numbers of three people who could provide letters of reference by email to Andrea Baccarelli,; Address: Harvard School of Public Health, Building 1, Room 1304, 655 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115. Phone: 617.432.2095. The Harvard School of Public Health is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.