Experience the best of biomedical research startups and traditional academia
As a CEDAR postdoc, you are part of a team of scientists at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, one of the nation’s best cancer centers. Our doctors and scientists are pioneers in targeted therapy and cancer early detection. We provide complete care on the leading edge of discovery.
Why postdoc at CEDAR?
- Perform cutting edge and high-risk research ranging from understanding basic cancer biology to developing novel technologies to aid detection.
- Determine your own interests, be empowered to direct your own research, and have access to exceptional opportunities for mentorship, leadership, collaboration, and funding.
- Design your own fellowship based on your professional ambitions. CEDAR supports the startup approach of patent development and fail-fast projects alongside the traditional approach of manuscript writing and publishing. You choose your own path by identifying your own collaborators, joining other interesting projects, submitting your own project proposals, and overseeing your own research projects.
- Accelerate your path to independence. To expedite our process of discovery, CEDAR offers generous internal funding mechanisms open to researchers including postdoctoral scholars.
- Access opportunities to interface and collaborate with SMMART (Serial Measurements of Molecular and Architectural Responses to Therapy), the Knight Cancer Institute's unique clinical trials platform, to work on projects relevant to both early cancer detection and precision medicine. Make a new molecule or repurpose an existing one, and see it tested in the clinic by a multidisciplinary team you've helped to assemble. Alongside CEDAR, SMMART is a pillar of the Knight Cancer Institute.
- CEDAR postdocs are matched with a senior scientist or Faculty as a professional GROW advisor to help you navigate CEDAR, develop your research portfolio, consider future career plans, and tailor your professional development.
- Postdocs can take advantage of resources and opportunities (i.e. workshops, seminars, etc.) to boost professional development. CEDAR postdocs receive:
- Up to $800/year in professional development funds to explore new and interesting techniques and expertise, encourage innovation, and advance their professional/career development.
- Up to $2,500/year in travel and conference funding to present research, network, and explore new and interesting techniques and ideas to advance CEDAR’s mission and guiding principles.
- OHSU’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs strengthens the research training for all postdoctoral scholars, ensures a consistent and superior postdoctoral experience, and prepares postdoctoral scholars for any professional endeavor they wish to pursue.
- OHSU Fellowship for Diversity in Research (OFDIR) is a competitive program whose goal is to increase the diversity of the community of scholars devoted to academic scientific research at OHSU. Successful candidates will receive mentored scholarly and research training as well as grant writing assistance to prepare them for a faculty position in a major university.
- The Training Future Faculty (TFF) Program supports teaching excellence by providing training to postdocs through workshops, peer coaching, and professional development in education. For more information e-mail email@example.com
First-year postdocs at CEDAR earn a salary that exceeds the minimum set by the National Institutes of Health and all postdocs receive annual increases.
CEDAR draws researchers from across the United States and all over the world. Click the map below to learn more.
CEDAR offers a unique opportunity for postdoctoral fellows to perform cutting-edge and high-risk research, ranging from understanding basic cancer biology and mechanisms to developing novel approaches and technologies for detection, computational analysis or therapeutic intervention. Learn about some of our research programs with training opportunities below.
Luiz Bertassoni, D.D.S., Ph.D.
The Knight Cancer Precision Biofabrication Hub is a collaborative initiative and research facility within the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research center (CEDAR) and the Knight Cancer Institute, that is a result of the interdisciplinary work of many OHSU/Knight Cancer Institute investigators around the broad theme of complex models of cancer.
The hub focuses on precision engineering strategies to replicate the complexity, heterogeneity and dynamics of the tumor microenvironment in three-dimensions. To accomplish this, the hub counts on a multidisciplinary team of in-house experts on tissue engineering, microfluidics, microfabrication, bioprinting, cancer cell biology and materials science.
Current projects are focused on engineering of the tumor microenvironment with single cell spatial resolution, fabrication of vascularized and innervated models of early- and late-stage tumors on-a-chip, development of integrated multi-organoid platforms for drug and biomarker discovery in high-throughput, and many other projects. The long-term vision of hub is to replicate the high complexity of individual patient tumors with precision, reproducibility and throughput, as to enable the next generation of engineered cancer digital twin models for drug/biomarker discovery without necessitating patient cohorts.
Theodore P. Braun, M.D., Ph.D.
Braun is a physician scientist at Oregon Health & Science University who focuses on leukemia epigenetics. Specifically, he studies the epigenetic changes that occur in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying these diseases. He investigates how DNA methylation and histone modifications contribute to disease development and progression, as well as how epigenetic changes can be used as biomarkers for diagnosis and treatment. His research also involves the development of novel epigenetic therapies for AML and MDS, including the use of small molecule inhibitors and targeted gene therapies.
Alexander Davies, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Davies' research interests center on the dynamics of inter and intra-cellular signaling in the tumor microenvironment. Signaling interactions between malignant and non-malignant cells of the tumor microenvironment play a central role in the pathogenesis and drug response of diverse cancer types. Such signaling interactions are dynamic, meaning that they vary in time and space domains within a tumor. For example, the regional abundance of immune cells, blood vessels, and/or fibroblasts in a tumor can go up or down over time resulting in flux of the local signaling microenvironment and differential tumor cell behaviors.
To investigate dynamic signaling, we utilize live cell microscopy and fluorescent biosensors to quantitatively measure single tumor cell signaling and gene expression dynamics in the context of novel tissue and tissue-like microenvironments we have developed. By pairing these approaches with computation and quantitative modeling, we aim to better understand how dynamic tumor-microenvironment interactions contribute to single cell heterogeneity and plasticity, cancer progression, and drug response.
Rebekka Duhen, Ph.D.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer in women (9.2%) and the third in men (10%). Slow growing polyps often precede colorectal cancer. Novel, non-invasive approaches are needed to complement and improve current screening approaches and management of CRC. Rebekka Duhen's team is interested in dissecting the T cell subsets present in early colorectal lesions, their role in the progression from adenoma to carcinoma and the possibility of detecting these cells in the blood of patients. This work will provide insight on the role of the immune system in recognizing and responding to neoantigen mutations and pathogenic or commensal bacteria in CRC. The earlier we can detect this immune response, the earlier we can interfere with the onset, development and/or potentially recurrence of the cancer using vaccination approaches, immune therapies and/or surgical interventions.
Mark Flory, Ph.D.
The CEDAR proteomics group, led by scientist Mark Flory, Ph.D., has collaborated with San Francisco Bay Area company Seer to implement the company’s proprietary Proteograph™ Product Suite. The Proteograph Product Suite leverages proprietary engineered nanoparticle technology to enable unbiased biomarker discovery. In combination with mass spectrometry analysis, Seer’s Proteograph Product Suite for the first time enables deep proteomic sampling of highly complex liquid biopsy specimen types, including plasma and serum, to be feasibly performed in highly scaled, large cohort studies. Notably, CEDAR was the first client in the world to deploy the Seer Proteograph Product Suite and its automated workflow. As an early technology adopter, CEDAR has now initiated multiple studies using the technology and has presented several posters and oral presentations in collaboration with Seer at major conferences. Those conferences include the American Society of Mass Spectrometry and the Human Proteome Organization. The collaboration also provided an opportunity for Flory and colleagues to co-author with Seer a 2022 peer-reviewed publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
CEDAR’s collaboration with Seer continues with a focus on proteomic biomarker discovery to improve early cancer detection. In one ongoing study, CEDAR is using a combination of the Seer Proteograph platform and a Bruker timsTOF mass spectrometry system, another proteomic capability recently implemented in CEDAR and overseen by Flory. The CEDAR team is using the system combination to interrogate over 900 patient serum specimens for identification of new proteomic blood signatures in a major cancer indication. This discovery-mode study is one of the largest of its kind in the proteomics field, and is anticipated to reveal candidate signatures for clinical translation to improve patient care and therapeutic outcomes.
Cristiane Miranda Franca, D.D.S.,Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Franca is a dentist-scientist with Ph.D. in oral pathology, post-doctoral training in tissue engineering, and microfluidics. She has clinical experience in diagnosing and managing cancer patients' oral complications. Her scientific goal is to advance the current knowledge to enable an early diagnosis of head and neck cancer, guide risk stratification, and unveil targets to control malignant progression. To that end, her research interests are to investigate, understand and potentially regulate the interplay among cells, the extracellular matrix, local immune responses, and biomaterials. Currently,
Franca is part of the Knight Cancer Precision Biofabrication Hub in the Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center (CEDAR), developing her work at the interface of engineering and biology in four major areas: (a) head and neck cancer, with particular emphasis on the role of the extracellular matrix in early cancer cell transformation, migration, and metastasis, (b) development of organs-on-a-chip and microfluidic devices to model bio-interfaces and early cancer biology, (c) development of immunomodulatory materials for translational applications. She has authored or co-authored more than 70 publications on the topics above. Her work has been funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), Collins Medical Foundation, the International Association for Dental Research via the Mind the Future award, and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).
Stuart Ibsen, Ph.D.
There is an unmet clinical need to develop a blood test to stratify patients with pancreatic cysts into categories of high-probability and low-probability for having PDAC, where high-probability patients would benefit from a tissue biopsy. Currently, no blood-based PDAC biomarkers exist. Our research evaluates the efficacy of using biomarkers carried by tumor-derived exosomes to differentiate patients with pancreatic cancer from patients with benign pancreatic disease. We use high conductance dielectrophoresis-based technology to simultaneously recover these cancer-derived nanoparticles from volume limited patient plasma. Tumor-derived nanoparticles offer a new source of potential PDAC related biomarkers. The challenge is that traditional nanoparticle recovery methods for each nanoparticle type require plasma volumes that are too large to be supported with currently available PDAC patient plasma samples. Our work now shows that high conductance dielectrophoresis (DEP) techniques can recover sufficient amounts of nanoparticle derived biomarkers to detect precancerous lesions as well as differentiate early and late stage PDAC from controls and requires only 30 µl of plasma. The significance of this research is that the knowledge generated will lead to validation of a panel of nanoparticle-associated biomarkers capable of differentiating PDAC from benign pancreatic disease. Our research supports the rationale for clinical development of a nanoparticle-based diagnostic blood test to identify patients with pancreatic cysts that would benefit from the tissue biopsy procedure.
A second focus of our work is the development of antibodies with controllable binding kinetics. In their natural form, antibodies are always in an “on-state” and are capable of binding to their targets. This leads to undesirable interactions in a wide range of therapeutic, analytical, and synthetic applications. Modulating binding kinetics of antibodies to turn them from an “off-state” to an “on-state” with temporal and spatial control can address this. We have developed a method to modulate binding activity of antibodies in a predictable and reproducible way by designing a blocking construct that uses both covalent and noncovalent interactions with the antibody. Exposure to specific wavelengths of light or protease activity will cleave the construct and activate the antibody to its “on-state”. These can be used to reduce side effects from immunotherapy which can be highly beneficial for early-stage cancer treatment.
Ellen Langer, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
The 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is only 10 percent, the lowest of all major cancers. There is an urgent need to understand the biology underlying pancreatic tumor development so that we can better prevent, detect, and treat this disease. Cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME) alter their phenotypes in response to new tumor growth, and these cells can play a critical role regulating early tumor development and progression to malignant disease. Using cell culture, mouse models, and 3D bioprinted human tumor tissues, Ellen Langer and team are interrogating how TME cells in distinct states influence early pancreatic cancer development, with a particular interest in the role of cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs).
Their goal is to better understand the mechanisms of crosstalk and plasticity between neoplastic and non-neoplastic cells in order to identify and target the tumor-promoting functions of the TME. Current projects include: 1) defining a role for the prolyl isomerase PIN1 in the plasticity and function of pancreatic cancer CAFs, 2) characterizing the dynamic changes in stromal cell states and functions in vivo during early pancreatic cancer development, and 3) building advanced in vitro models to interrogate vulnerabilities in the early pancreatic tumor microenvironment.
Thuy Ngo, Ph.D.
The Ngo group develops and deploys technologies to expand the liquid biopsy toolbox for deep phenotype characterization at epigenetic, transcriptomic, and proteomic levels. We aim to identify molecular signatures and biological pathways associated with natural disease’s progression and treatment-induced responses, evolution, and adaptation in cancer and patients at risk for cancer. We develop methods to deeply analyze circulating cell-free RNA (cfRNA), multiplexed single extracellular vesicles (EVs), and epigenetic marks carried by cell-free nucleosomal DNA complexes. We currently have an ongoing research program to analyze longitudinal blood samples from patients and mice with liver diseases, hepatocellular carcinoma, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and breast cancer during early progression and treatment. We apply machine learning approaches to analyze and integrate multiplexed data in order to monitor disease progression, provide precise diagnoses, stratify treatment selection, and predict treatment response.
Hisham Mohammed, Ph.D.
Mohammed’s team is dedicated to advancing the understanding of breast cancer by investigating epigenetic factors that drive its initiation and progression. We have a particular interest in exploring the role of hormones and how underlying genetic and epigenetic heterogeneity influence hormone response, which is crucial for the development and progression of breast cancer. Utilizing cutting-edge single-cell multi-omic and computational tools, we generate comprehensive and detailed insights into the complex molecular mechanisms at play. Our trainees have the opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking research and make a significant impact in the field of breast cancer, while gaining expertise in the latest wet lab and computational methodologies.
Joshua Moreau, Ph.D.
Moreau is an assistant professor in the Division of Oncological Sciences, Department of Dermatology, and a member of CEDAR. He aims to explore the earliest interactions between cancers and the immune system, within the tissues where cancer cells arise. A major research focus is to understand how tissue resident lymphocytes (B and T cells) in barrier organs such as the skin integrate microenvironmental signals to orchestrate anti-cancer immunity. Combining multiomic approaches with functional immunology to dissect biological mechanism, his work investigates the basic biology of skin resident lymphocytes and the role of these cells during cancer pathogenesis.
Jessica L. Riesterer. Ph.D.
Understanding cancer nanobiology is key to finding the earliest perturbations in tumor formation and proliferation. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) can be utilized on human tissue samples to view tumors and the surrounding microenvironment at high resolution, providing both sub-cellular detail with views of the macro-scale in the same image forming a “Google Earth”-type map of the tissue. When coupled with a Focused Ion Beam (FIB-SEM), very thin slices (4 nm-thick) can be cut from the tissue, imaged at 4 nm/pixel, and sliced again. When thousands of slice images are serially collected, as shown in the figure, a three-dimensional volume can be reconstructed to form a model showing the most intimate spatial relationships of key sub-cellular structures and interactions between neighboring cells. These models begin to assist in linking tumor phenotype to genotype, and elucidate cellular structures that could be potential therapeutic targets.
Joshua C. Saldivar, Ph.D.
Saldivar's group studies how nuclear processes such as DNA replication, transcription, and repair are coordinated during the cell cycle. We integrate powerful microscopy approaches with cutting-edge sequencing technologies to uncover the elegant and dynamic biology of chromatin and how it both controls and is controlled by the cell cycle. These dynamics become disrupted in cancer and destabilize genetic and epigenetic information resulting in cell state instability and malignant transformation.
Carolyn Schutt Ibsen, Ph.D.
Our research focuses on developing innovative responsive biomaterial platforms for tumor modeling, tissue engineering, and precision therapeutics. We utilize advanced materials and 3D bioprinting to create dynamic in vitro tumor models that can recapitulate spatial architectures of the tumor, and can also be genetically manipulated over time to simulate cancer progression in the 3D context. Using these models, we aim to elucidate how environmental inputs and neighboring cells influence early cancer development, and predict how an individual patient's tissue responds to oncogenic stimuli and environmental stress. Our model systems leverage cutting-edge stimuli-responsive biomaterials, including pioneering the development of 3D tissue models that can be remotely manipulated with spatiotemporal control using ultrasound waves. Our recent work includes the development of 3D-programmable scaffolds for interrogating HER2 overexpression in engineered mammary microenvironments. We are also integrating precision sensors of metabolic state into these 3D models to interrogate the microenvironment at the single-cell and subcellular level. Additional projects are developing the next generation of stimuli-responsive drug delivery vehicles that can be remotely-activated to deliver precision cancer therapeutics, reducing the side effects of conventional chemotherapy. Together, our work leverages responsive biomaterial strategies to advance our understanding of cancer progression and develop precision therapeutics to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
Sean Speese, Ph.D.
My main love as an experimental cell biologist is the use of various fluorescence and electron microscopy imaging modalities to peer into fixed and live cells, and I have spent the last 25 years of my career acquiring many skills in these arenas. One of my many roles at CEDAR includes helping other researchers with all their imaging needs, including: labelling, image acquisition and image analysis/quantification. I currently have a number of ongoing projects with various groups at CEDAR where we are exploring the use of the PELCO BioWave microwave to improve our tissue labelling and tissue clearing speeds, in an effort to increase our cellular imaging capabilities and experimental throughput.
While my first love is microscopy, as an experimentalist I also strongly believe you cannot be blindly devout to any one set of techniques. In particular I have long felt that the field of pathology needs a quantitative “overhaul” and movement away from subjective assessment of tissue sections stained with dyes and chromogens. To address this, I have undertaken a large project at CEDAR to develop a digital spatial tissue section platform that will utilize NGS readouts to quantify 100’s of biomarkers in parallel from a single tissue section. We believe that this system will offer increased speeds, lower costs, better normalization across institutes and a more quantitative approach with a higher dynamic range than standard fluorescence microscopy methods. Our ultimate goal is to implement this platform in a precision oncology setting.
Gurkan Yardimci, Ph.D.
Yardimci Lab develops interpretable machine learning method and algorithms to characterize the epigenomes, transcriptomes and 3D organization of chromatin in cancerous and healthy cells using single-cell multiomics data. We are interested in studying transcriptional regulation/misregulation through unsupervised identification of regulatory elements, transcription factor activity, structural variation and determinants of 3D genome folding, with a vision for integration of multiple modalities into holistic view of healthy and diseased cell states.
Adem Yildririm, Ph.D.
Our research focuses on the development of translational nanomaterials for early cancer detection and therapy. One of our primary focuses is developing ultrasound-responsive nanoparticles as cavitation seeds for ultrasound imaging and therapy. We utilize these robust and biodegradable nanoparticles for several applications, including background-free ultrasound imaging, targeted ablation of solid tumors, and amplification of circulating tumor DNA levels to improve liquid biopsy for cancer. We are also interested in understanding the underlying mechanisms of tumor targeting and accumulation of nanomaterials. Recently, we discovered that self-assembled nanostructures of amphiphilic peptides could target a broad range of solid tumors by hitchhiking on lipoprotein trafficking pathways. Currently, we are evaluating these nanomaterials in preclinical studies for image-guided surgery of high-grade gliomas and chemotherapy of breast and colon cancers.
|Our commitment to scientific excellence has earned us the National Cancer Institute’s highest designation.||We’re proud of our ranking among the best cancer centers in the United States.||We met 36 rigorous standards to earn accreditation from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.|
At CEDAR, Abrar Samiea focuses on the role of tissue resident lymphocytes in cancer development and progression.
Meet more of our postdocs here.