Careers at UHN

Job Description

Postdoctoral Researcher (Temporary Full Time) - Toronto, Ontario

JOB TITLE - Postdoctoral Researcher

Job Posting #: 926458


Site: Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, UHN

Department: Cancer Biology & Imaging Program

Reports to: Principal Investigator

Hours: 37.5 per week

Salary: To commensurate with experience and consistent with UHN compensation policy

Status: Temporary Full Time (1 year) with option to extend beyond 1 year and convert to
permanent position

Posted Date: November 9, 2023

Closing Date: Until Filled

The University Health Network, where “above all else the needs of patients come first”, encompasses Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the Michener Institute of Education. The breadth of research, the complexity of the cases treated, and the magnitude of its educational enterprise has made UHN a national and international resource for patient care, research and education. With a long tradition of ground breaking firsts and a purpose of “Transforming lives and communities through excellence in care, discovery and learning”, the University Health Network (UHN), Canada’s largest research teaching hospital, brings together over 16,000 employees, more than 1,200 physicians, 8,000+ students, and many volunteers. UHN is a caring, creative place where amazing people are amazing the world.

Position Summary 

The DaCosta Research Lab at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PMCC) (DaCosta Lab) is currently seeking a Postdoctoral Researcher to join our preclinical pancreatic cancer research team.
The successful applicant will be part of a research group that uses intravital fluorescence microscopy imaging in live animals to study pancreatic cancer initiation, biology, progression, and response to novel radiotherapeutic treatment strategies using advanced animal models of cancer, within the mouse pancreas. The successful applicant will help to study the pancreatic tumor microenvironment in an orthotopic setting, with a focus on tumor vasculature, hypoxia, immune cells, stroma, and other key aspects in vivo. An important area to investigate when in this role will include the study of novel radio-sensitizers and their role in pancreatic treatment response. A key additional focus area will be on the use of immune- and cell therapies for treatment of pancreatic cancer.
The successful applicant will also collaborate extensively with other labs across UHN, as well as external collaborators. The position status is temporary full-time (1 year) with the potential to extend to permanent full-time based on the candidate’s performance and compatibility with the research team and lab objectives. The ideal candidate will have a clear career plan to become a principal investigator or independent scientist seeking an academic faculty position.


  • Perform rodent microsurgeries to inoculate cells, install imaging devices, or other procedures as necessary
  • Intravital imaging of rodents using various techniques, including but not limited to widefield imaging, confocal and multi-photon microscopy, bioluminescent imaging (BLI), computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Develop and conduct experiments evaluating new pancreatic cancer treatment strategies, such as immunotherapies, small-molecule inhibitors, transplantations, and radiation
  • Propose new research directions and create projects
  • Troubleshoot, evaluate, and adjust protocols as necessary to improve data quality or in response to experimental needs
  • Maintain experimental cell lines and develop new reporter variants as necessary
  • Run molecular biology protocols, including but not limited to immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, ELISA, qPCR, and Western Blot
  • Maintain complete and accurate documentation of data generated and work performed on behalf of the lab
  • Adhere to Quality Control and Quality Assurance programs to support the effective operation of the lab, and to maintain appropriate laboratory standards
  • Aid in writing competitive peer-reviewed research grants relevant to the lab
  • Write and publish peer-reviewed scientific publications regarding this research
  • Co-supervise graduate and summer students with the Principal Investigator and other PDRs


  • Completion of a doctoral degree (PhD) from a recognized institution
  • Strong background (minimum 3 years) in cancer biology and immunology, with a publication record, is required
  • Excellent track record of publication productivity in medium to high impact journals in the field
  • Track record in writing successful competitive peer-reviewed research grants
  • Excellent animal handling and microsurgery skills are required
  • Experience with animal microsurgery considered an asset
  • Strong familiarly with molecular and cellular laboratory techniques, e.g. cell culture, virus transduction, ELISA, flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, is require
  • Experience with in vivo imaging techniques, particularly confocal and/or multi-photon microscopy is highly preferred
  • Well-developed computer skills and/or the ability to learn new computer programs for analyzing imaging data (e.g. IMARIS, HALO, ImageJ) are an asset
  • Excellent problem recognition, critical thinking, organizational, detail-focused, and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work independently and as a team member
  • Excellent verbal, presentation, and written communication skills
  • Experience in supervising and mentoring undergraduate and/or graduate students
  • Experience in managing research projects effectively, on time and within budget.

Why join UHN?

In addition to working alongside some of the most talented and inspiring healthcare professionals in the world, UHN offers a wide range of benefits, programs and perks. It is the comprehensiveness of these offerings that makes it a differentiating factor, allowing you to find value where it matters most to you, now and throughout your career at UHN.

  • Competitive offer packages
  • Government organization and a member of the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP
  • Close access to Transit and UHN shuttle service
  • A flexible work environment
  • Opportunities for development and promotions within a large organization
  • Additional perks (multiple corporate discounts including: travel, restaurants, parking, phone plans, auto insurance discounts, on-site gyms, etc.)

Current UHN employees must have successfully completed their probationary period, have a good employee record along with satisfactory attendance in accordance with UHN's attendance management program, to be eligible for consideration.

Vaccines (COVID and others) are a requirement of the job unless you have an exemption on a medical ground pursuant to the Ontario Human Rights Code.

UHN is a respectful, caring, and inclusive workplace. We are committed to championing accessibility, diversity and equal opportunity. Requests for accommodation can be made at any stage of the recruitment process. Applicants need to make their requirements known in advance.  Any information received related to an accommodation will be addressed confidentially.

University Health Network thanks all applicants, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

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