Postdoc - Postdoctoral Fellow - Cystic Fibrosis Research

Lake County, Illinois
Sep 25, 2021
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
About AbbVie
AbbVie’s mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people’s lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women’s health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Postdoc- Postdoctoral Fellow – Investigate the Structure-Function Relationship of CFTR Using CFTR Modulators: Evaluate the MoA and Understand their Clinical Translation  - CF

The Postdoctoral Program is designed for true investigational and experimental research. Participants will be mentored by renowned industry scientists and collaborators at AbbVie and focused on delivering cutting-edge advancements in Discovery, Development Sciences and BioPharma. The enriching training program offers a balance of structured learning and work experience which fosters a learning environment to advance individual development with accessibility to high-level knowledge building across the drug development continuum. Technical expert that will investigate, identify, develop, and optimize new methods/ techniques to address critical project needs. Continuously seek to improve existing laboratory methods and processes. Read and adapt literature to accomplish assignments. Demonstrate mastery of broad range of experimental techniques and methods of data analysis.


To be successful, we need outstanding individuals willing to challenge themselves to find the best solutions for our patients. The AbbVie Postdoc program is one way we are doing just that.


Through our Postdoc program, we are hiring postdocs from key academic institutions for preferred areas of science in the U.S., while providing a unique opportunity for participants to build a solid career foundation in the pharmaceutical industry while building the AbbVie brand as an employer of choice for scientific talent. The program offers a balance of structured learning and work experience, with accessibility to high-level knowledge building across the drug development continuum. This assignment is expected to be two years and no more than three years.

We are looking for the incoming Postdoc class to join AbbVie as the company is positioning itself for another significant year of growth and of the continuing advancement of its patient-driven science and its strategic priorities. In a collaborative, resource rich environment, you and your scientific mentor will be exploring, targeting, investigating, and evaluating key areas of novel research with a publication as the end point. We have an exceptional postdoctoral opportunity within a cross-functional group engaged in developing novel small molecule CFTR modulators.  The cross functional team encompasses experts from the fields of protein biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology and cell biology and are part of the early Discovery organization at Abbvie. These groups are located at the Abbvie headquarters in Lake Bluff area, north of Chicago and are actively working on basic research that provides clues about how to treat diseases and potential ways to target the symptoms or underlying causes. 

The Postdoc will join the team engaged in the development of small molecule modulators of the CFTR protein that is known to be the root cause of human disease of Cystic Fibrosis.  The project aims to  understand the mechanism of action and the potential clinical translation of triple CFTR combination modulators using structure-function studies. The studies proposed here will use cryo-EM to understand how the modulators bind and augment the channel activity of  pathogenic CFTR (with missense, e.g., F508delCFTR and nonsense, e.g., W1282X CFTR mutations). Structural studies will be complemented with existing in-house experts for detailed biochemical and functional investigations to derive a (i) detailed understanding of the mechanism of corrector activity by modulators, and (ii) the potential for clinical translation of these structure findings. Together, the structural and translational studies proposed here will provide ample opportunities for a postdoctoral associate to achieve competency in biomedical sciences.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Utilize existing or develop novel techniques for normal CFTR protein expression and purification with assistance from in-house protein purification group
  • Further utilize these techniques for other key mutations of interest in the CFTR protein
  • Design experiments to understand the function of the purified CFTR protein in collaboration with existing in-house group
  • Perform structural and biochemical studies of human CFTR disease mutants using cryogenic-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) in collaboration with existing in-house group
  • Maintain a high level of productivity in the laboratory setting
  • Effective writer and communicator of research materials
  • Demonstrate the ability to resolve any key issues by effectively utilizing available information and technical expertise
  • Proactively seek out new information in the literature and incorporate this into individual project(s) as well as the overall program
  • Publish research in peer-reviewed journals and present work at scientific conferences aligned with business objectives
  • Demonstrate a high degree of responsibility in maintaining scientific standards, and safe laboratory practices for self and reporting staff, if any
  • Generate new research strategies to effectively address the Postdoc project needs
  • Collaborate with functional and technical experts to facilitate scientific achievement


Basic qualifications:

  • Successful completion and defense of a PhD in basic sciences (Pharmacology/Cell and Molecular Sciences/Membrane proteins and Structural Biology as desired or preferred skills) OR 1-3 years Postdoc experience with these defined fields from an accredited and nationally ranked University.
  • Extensive experience in protein expression, purification, biochemistry and molecular biology techniques
  • Demonstrate scientific initiative and creativity in research or development activities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to resolve key project hurdles and assumptions by effectively utilizing available information and technical expertise.
  • Demonstrate the ability to independently design and execute experiments, interpret data, and identify appropriate follow-up strategies.
  • Excellent communication, leadership, and project management skills.
  • Demonstrated scientific writing skills and strong verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to independently design and execute experiments, interpret data, and identify appropriate follow-up strategies.
  • Proven track record of teamwork, adaptability, innovation, initiative, and integrity.
  • Global mindset to thrive in a diverse culture and environment.
  • Ability to multitask and work within timelines.
  • Record of publication in prestigious journal (s).
  • Demonstrated strong expertise in catalytic methodology discovery and development, with a proven record of synthetic problem-solving skills.
  • Work authorization in the U.S.
  • Three letters of recommendation (including one from the Thesis Advisor)
  • Letter of intent to pursue Postdoc


  • Hands-on experience in the area of membrane protein expression, purification, and biochemistry
  • Knowledge and experience with molecular biology techniques is also desirable

Key Leadership Competencies:

  • Builds strong relationships with peers and cross functionally with partners outside of team to enable higher performance
  • Learns fast, grasps the "essence" and can change course quickly where indicated
  • Raises the bar and is never satisfied with the status quo
  • Creates a learning environment, open to suggestions and experimentation for improvement
  • Embraces the ideas of others, nurtures innovation and manages to reality

Significant Work Activities
Continuous sitting for prolonged periods (more than 2 consecutive hours in an 8 hour day)
Job Type
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Equal Employment Opportunity
At AbbVie, we value bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds to develop new and innovative solutions for patients. As an equal opportunity employer we do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy), physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, protected veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic.