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Postdoctoral Fellowship, Cell-based Therapies for Autoimmune Disease

City: Ottawa 

Organizational Unit: Human Health Therapeutics 

Classification: RO 

Tenure: Term 

Duration: 2 years

Language Requirements: English

The NRC Advantage




The National Research Council of Canada represents a powerful partnering option for anyone looking to push the boundaries of science and industry. In fact, as the Government of Canada's largest research organization supporting industrial innovation, the advancement of knowledge and technology development, we have become catalysts for innovation. For over a hundred years, the impact of our work with industry leaders and other government bodies has shaped Canada’s future. We partner with some of the most creative and solutions-driven minds in the world. 


And now, we want to partner with you. Be part of our collective force to come up with potentially disruptive solutions to Canada’s current and future technology challenges. Let your expertise and inspirations make an impact by joining the NRC.

The Program


The NRC’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program offers PDFs access to unique world-class facilities and the opportunity to work alongside multi-disciplinary teams of expert researchers and technicians on projects of critical importance to Canada. PDFs will carry out research on innovative research projects, with opportunities for career development (publications and/or industry interaction).


PDFs will be offered appointments to the staff of the National Research Council on a term basis and will be offered salaries and benefits currently available to Research Officers.

Salaries commensurate with experience are taxable and subject to other deductions. As a guide, the current annual PhD recruiting rate is $68,567. In addition PDFs will be allocated a travel fund to support their work.


Project Title


Synthetic Regulatory Cells: Reprogramming T cells for the Treatment of Autoimmune Disease

Your Challenge


Incidence rates for autoimmune diseases (e.g. inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis) are rapidly increasing in developed countries including Canada.  Many approved and experimental therapies rely on the suppression and/or modulation of the patient’s own immune system.  However, current therapies (e.g. small molecules, MAbs) usually act in a systemic non-targeted fashion, which increases the risk for off-target effects and decreases efficacy at the disease site. As a significant percentage of patients do not respond to currently approved treatments for autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a need for novel therapies exists.  We propose the development of a cell-based therapy for autoimmune diseases that would modulate the immune system in a more efficient and targeted manner.  Using a murine colitis model, the objective is to reprogram immune T cells to the regulatory phenotype and evaluate their ability to suppress auto-immune disease once re-administered in vivo.  In addition, their activity & specificity would be enhanced through the integration of targeting signals into the vector to direct cells to the disease site.   These synthetic regulatory T cells could provide a novel modality for the treatment of patients suffering from debilitating autoimmune diseases



Ph.D. in Immunology, Molecular Biology or equivalent.


For information on certificates and diplomas issued abroad, please see Degree equivalency



Experience in the fields of immunology, autoimmune disease and/or genomic editing/therapy.


Experience with one or more of the following techniques/models would be considered an asset:


1) Flow cytometry

2) Generation of plasmid constructs for viral vectors

3) Autoimmune mouse models

4) Immune cell trafficking

5) Utilization of CRISPR for gene editing


Successful candidates should be highly motivated, able to work independently or as part of a larger team.

Language requirements




Information on language requirements and self-assessment tests

Condition of Employment


Reliability Status

Who is eligible?


  • Fellowships will be for two years contingent on satisfactory progress achieved during the first year.
  • Candidates should have obtained a PhD (or equivalent) within the past three years (PhD received on or after July 1, 2016) or expect to complete their PhD within 6 months of appointment.
  • Fellows will work in a lab under the direct supervision of an NRC researcher.


Although preference will be given to Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents, Fellowships are open to nationals of all countries. The offer of a Fellowship does not ensure foreign nationals Permanent Residency in Canada. Non-Canadian candidates should apply for non-immigrant status (i.e. temporary status) and an employment visa.  For further information, please contact the closest Canadian High Commission, Embassy or Consulate in your area.

Application Requirements


In order to be considered for the program please include the following in your application, please note that you will need to attach the required documents as per the list below when submitting your application. Failure to do so will result in your application being excluded from consideration.  


  • Resume
  • Statement of Interest in the project (maximum one page in length)
  • PhD Transcript - an electronic copy is sufficient, it does not have to be an official version.
  • List of Publications
  • Three letters of recommendation (please note that you need to attach the letters to your application profile, your referees will need to provide you with their letters)


When submitting your application you can include the required documents in any attachment field such as «Second language evaluation results» or «Other attachments»



Relocation assistance will be determined in accordance with the NRC's directives.

Salary Range


From $52,854 to $149,416 per annum. 


The Postdoctoral Fellowships Program is unique to the NRC. It falls under the RO/RCO classification system which uses a person-based classification system instead of the more common duties-based classification system. Candidates are remunerated based on their expertise, skill, outcomes and impacts of their previous work experience.  As a guide, the current annual PhD recruiting rate is $68,567.



  • NRC employees enjoy a wide-range of benefits including comprehensive health and dental plans, pension and insurance plans, vacation and other leave entitlements.
  • Fellowships are open to nationals of all countries, although preference will be given to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada. Please include citizenship information in your application.
  • The incumbent must adhere to safe workplace practices at all times.



As an employer who values diversity in its workforce, we encourage candidates to self-identify as members of the following designated groups: women, visible minorities, aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities. Measures for accommodation are available to all candidates retained for further assessment.


Please direct your questions, with the requisition number (6539) to:


Telephone: 613-993-9173 

Closing Date: 22 May 2019 - 23:59 Eastern Time. As such, awards will be announced the end of June/beginning of July 2019. Successful fellows may commence their award at any time from July 15, 2019 to December 16, 2019.



For more information on career tools and other resources, check out Career tools and resources


Date Modified: 2019-03-27

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