Postdoctoral Researcher – Zhou lab

Postdocs Novato, California


The Buck Institute has an opening for a Postdoctoral Researcher to study proteostasis and mitochondria during stress, cellular aging, and the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the lab of Dr. Kai Zhou. The Zhou lab uses budding yeast as the main model organism to study the cell biology of aging with an emphasis on proteostasis and mitochondria. Proteostasis defect and mitochondrial dysfunction are two conserved hallmarks of aging and many neurodegenerative diseases, including AD. Budding yeast is an ideal model to study the cellular aging and rejuvenation processes, both happen at the same time along the axis of asymmetric cell division. We use multiple cutting-edge imaging methods, high-throughput screening, biochemistry, bioinformatics, and machine learning to address systematically the response of cellular proteome towards stress, aging and AD-related proteins. We also design new technologies and engineer new tools to solve the problems we face.

As proteostasis and mitochondrial components are conserved in all organisms, our strategy is to take advantage of high-throughput platforms to quickly discover new fundamental mechanisms in budding yeast and use novel mechanisms to guide further exploration in other animal models (e.g. fruit fly) for aging and ADs. We are interested in questions related to protein folding, protein misfolding/aggregation, phase separation, mitochondrial biogenesis and dysfunctions, as well as other cell biological questions, in response to stress, aging, and AD. Our goal is for the Postdoctoral Researcher to publish several high-profile papers and prepare projects they can take to their own lab in the future. Your success is the common interest we share! Please check the Zhou lab webpage for recent publications


  • Ph.D. or M.D. degree in biology or related fields
  • Published research in peer-reviewed journals
  • Strong interest in proteostasis, cell biology, and aging
  • Previous research experience in cell biology or yeast biology preferred, but not required


  • The starting salary for a new postdoc at the Buck is $65,610 in 2022, with a range up to $82,000 commensurate with postdoc level & experience
  • Exciting, dynamic work environment at the forefront of science using state-of-the-art techniques
  • Generous benefits package including health insurance, paid parental leave, generous vacation and 401(k) with 5% employer match
  • Collaborative environment – both for science and social activities

Please submit a cover letter addressing your past research experience, plans, and expectations for working in the lab. Also, include 1-2 paragraphs on specific questions related to our lab topics that you would like to pursue in our lab. This short research proposal will help us focus our time on the candidates that best match our lab interests. Please also include a current CV and three professional references. Please feel free to consult me via email ([email protected]).

Our success will ultimately change healthcare. At the Buck, we aim to end the threat of age-related diseases for this and future generations by bringing together the most capable and passionate scientists from a broad range of disciplines to identify and impede the ways in which we age. We are an independent, nonprofit institution located in Marin County, CA, with the goal of increasing human healthspan, or the healthy years of life. Globally recognized as the pioneer and leader in efforts to target aging—the number one risk factor for diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, macular degeneration, heart disease, and diabetes—the Buck seeks to help people live better longer. We are an equal opportunity employer and strive to create an atmosphere where diversity of identity, experience, and background are welcomed, valued, and supported. Candidates who contribute to this diversity are strongly encouraged to apply. The Buck Institute has an excellent postdoctoral research program. We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, a dynamic work environment, and new state-of-the-art facilities.

The Zhou lab is establishing a new research program related to aging. We apply genetics, cell biology, proteomics, biochemistry, imaging and bioinformatics to solve protein folding and aging–related questions. Our diverse lab of young scientists from many different countries enjoy making cool scientific discoveries. We believe this cultural diversity will enable us to push the frontier of science for humankind.

Related publications

  1. Zhou, C. The molecular and functional interaction between membrane-bound organelles and membrane-less condensates. Front. Cell Dev. Biol. Apr 25;10:896305.
  2. Liu, Q., et al., 2022. Tom70 regulates the transcription of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins. eLife. 2022 Mar 2;11:e75658.
  3. Domnauer, M. et al., 2021. Proteome plasticity in response to persistent environmental change. Mol Cell. 81(16):3294-3309.
  4. Ruan, *, Zhou, C.* et all., 2017. Cytosolic Proteostasis through Importing of Misfolded Proteins into Mitochondria. Nature 543 (7645), 443-446.
  5. Zhou C., et al. Organelle-based Aggregation and Retention of Damaged Proteins in Asymmetrically Dividing Cells. Cell 159, 530-542.
  6. Zhou C., et al. Motility and Segregation of Hsp104-associated Protein Aggregates in Budding Yeast. Cell 147:1186-1196.