Research Fellow in Biology

Harvard University

United States




Title Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Evolutionary biology of Streptococcus pneumoniae
School Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Department/Area Epidemiology
Position Description
The Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health studies the frequency, distribution, and determinants of disease in humans, a fundamental science of public health. In addition to pursuing ground-breaking global research initiatives, we educate and prepare future medical leaders and practitioners as part of our mission to ignite positive changes in the quality of health across the world.

The Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD), within the Department of Epidemiology, is a key center for research and policy analysis on SARS-CoV-2 and has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. CCDD’s team, comprised of faculty, researchers, postdocs, and graduate students, focuses on innovative modeling techniques, interdisciplinary methods, and data analysis to understand infectious disease dynamics. 

To learn more about the CCDD and the affiliated labs, please see

The postdoctoral fellow would support Drs. Lipsitch and Hanage labs at the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics ( leading work to extend our understanding of the role of negative frequency-dependent selection in Streptococcus pneumoniae (see below). 

The postdoctoral research fellow will lead work to extend our understanding of the role of negative frequency-dependent selection in Streptococcus pneumoniae. This concept that Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) population structure is determined by a process of negative frequency-dependent selection on the accessory genome has been supported by both cross sectional and longitudinal comparisons, with the advent of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines providing a strong perturbation to test the hypothesis (1, 2). Many questions persist about the generality of this phenomenon, the mechanism by which it operates, the genes involved, and so forth. The postdoctoral research fellow will lead work to devise and apply approaches to answer these remaining questions with the scientific goal of understanding the mechanism, and the public health goal of improving predictions of evolutionary trajectories.  This work will be with Drs. Lipsitch and Hanage, and collaborators in other institutions.

1. Corander J, Fraser C, Gutmann MU, et al. Frequency-dependent selection in vaccine-associated pneumococcal population dynamics. Nat Ecol Evol. 2017;1(12):1950-60. doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0337-x
2. Azarian T, Martinez PP, Arnold BJ, et al. Frequency-dependent selection can forecast evolution in Streptococcus pneumoniae. PLoS Biol. 2020;18(10):e3000878. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000878
Basic Qualifications
Education Requirements
    • A doctoral degree in epidemiology, population genomics, or related subjected


Experience Requirements
  • Experience analyzing large numbers (1000s) of pathogen genome sequences, and an interest in evolutionary biology and its application to public health
  • Research experience and success in publishing papers
Technical Requirements
  • Bioinformatics, genome assembly or pop genetic modeling
  • Strong quantitative, analytical, and writing skills
Additional Qualifications
Preferred Experience and Skills Requirements
    • Familiarity with infectious diseases clinical practice, public health practice, surveillance strategies, and other related fields is a plus
    • Strong quantitative/statistical and/or coding skills and be 
    • Proficiency in a common programming language such as Python or R
    • Strong communication skills (written and verbal), takes initiative, self-directed, time management
    • Highly creative, ability to work independently and as part of a team, and excitement to work in a collaborative environment and within the larger research ecosystems


Additional Information: Per university guidelines, postdoc appointments are considered to be on-campus, full-time positions. Per university payroll tax guidelines all applicants must reside in an acceptable payroll states or be willing to relocate to: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Vermont or New York.
Special Instructions  
Contact Information
For additional questions about the position, please contact Laurie Coe, Director of Research and Administration, CCDD
Contact Email
Equal Opportunity Employer
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions or any other characteristic protected by law. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is committed to upholding the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our hiring processes. Women and individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.
Minimum Number of References Required 3
Maximum Number of References Allowed 3

Supplemental Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

Applicant Documents

Required Documents
  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Statement of Research
  4. Writing Sample 1
Optional Documents

In your application, please refer to


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