Postdoctoral Researcher or Research Associate – Zhou lab

Postdocs Novato, California


Cellular and organismal aging using Drosophila as a model system


The Zhou lab at the Buck Institute has an opening for a Postdoctoral Researcher or Research Associate to study the connection between cellular and organismal aging, neuroscience & behavior, as well as age-related diseases (e.g., AD and ALS) using fruit flies as a model.  

Cellular aging, with conserved hallmarks including proteostasis defect, mitochondrial/lysosomal dysfunction, and epigenetics changes, is well studied among different cell types. However, beyond these cellular aging phenotypes, the mechanism that leads to organismal-level aging, including cognitive function decline, gastrointestinal track malfunction, and stress vulnerability, is less understood. 

The Zhou lab, which has a well-established system to study aging mechanisms at the cellular level, recently started to systematically understand how cellular aging leads to organismal aging. We adopt Drosophila as a model system to study how aging hallmarks in different cell types (e.g., neurons) contribute to organismal aging. In addition to powerful genetics in Drosophila, we leverage an array of cutting-edge techniques, encompassing advanced imaging methods, behavior screening, biochemistry, and machine learning, to assay physiological aging. 

Our objective is for you to succeed and publish high-profile papers that will help you fulfill your future career goals. This is a great time to join our lab since one of several ongoing fly projects is wrapping up. Please check the Zhou lab webpage for recent publications.  


  • Previous research experience working with fruit flies is preferred, but not required 

  • Strong interest in cell biology, behavior, and aging 


  • 2024 Postdoc salary range: $70,000 - $80,000 commensurate with level & experience; Research Associate salary range: $50,000 - $85,000 commensurate with education & 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 a 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 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 upload a current CV and 3 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. 

Related publications 

  1. Liu, Q., et al. 2023. Nascent mitochondrial proteins initiate the localized condensation of cytosolic protein aggregates on the mitochondrial surface. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2023 Aug; 120(31) e2300475120 

  2. Zhou, C. The molecular and functional interaction between membrane-bound organelles and membrane-less condensates. Front. Cell Dev. Biol. Apr 25;10:896305. 

  3. Liu, Q., et al., 2022. Tom70 regulates the transcription of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins. eLife. 2022 Mar 2;11:e75658. 

  4. Domnauer, M. et al., 2021. Proteome plasticity in response to persistent environmental change. Mol Cell. 81(16):3294-3309. 

  5. Ruan, *, Zhou, C.* et all., 2017. Cytosolic Proteostasis through Importing of Misfolded Proteins into Mitochondria. Nature 543 (7645), 443-446. (*equal contribution) 

  6. Zhou C., et al. Organelle-based Aggregation and Retention of Damaged Proteins in Asymmetrically Dividing Cells. Cell 159, 530-542.  

  7. Zhou C., et al. Motility and Segregation of Hsp104-associated Protein Aggregates in Budding Yeast. Cell 147:1186-1196.