Postdoctoral intramural research training awards (IRTAs)

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

  • Research Scientist
  • Other
Job Type/Arrangement:
  • Full Time

Department of Health and Human Services

National Institutes of Health

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

With nationwide responsibility for improving health and well-being, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) oversees the biomedical research programs of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and those of NIH’s research Institutes. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—a major research component of NIH and HHS—is recruiting for the following positions:

Postdoctoral intramural research training awards (IRTAs)

Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), Hamilton, Montana

A postdoctoral IRTA position on transmission and development of countermeasures against emerging viruses is available in the Virus Ecology Unit within the Laboratory of Virology at the RML campus of NIAID in Hamilton, Montana. The laboratory studies the ecology of high- and maximum-containment RNA viruses and is currently focused on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Virus Ecology Section is interested in the identification and understanding of the drivers of zoonotic transmission for emerging viruses. The laboratory uses a combined field ecological and experimental laboratory approach to understand the emergence of novel viruses and develop successful medical countermeasures against these viruses. Fundamental experimental approaches of the laboratory include molecular-, cellular-, and immunological- and aerobiology-based techniques along with animal models of pathogenesis and transmission. Studies are carried out in biosafety level (BSL) 2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 laboratories. The Virus Ecology Section considers diversity and inclusion the centerpiece of the team’s culture.

Successful applicants will be part of a diverse and multidisciplinary team focused on understanding the molecular and ecological determinants of spillover from natural reservoir species (e.g., bats and rodents) to humans and the determinants for onward human-to-human transmission. Candidates are expected to study the underlying molecular and structural determinants involved in zoonotic and human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 and newly identified emerging viruses (including coronaviruses, arenaviruses, filoviruses, and henipaviruses) and the development of pre-emptive transmission blocking technologies.

An overview of the Virus Ecology Section’s most recent research with regards to transmission includes:

•    Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1, NEJM 2020, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973

•    Functional assessment of cell entry and receptor usage for SARS-CoV-2 and other lineage B betacoronaviruses, Nature Microbiology 2020, DOI: 10.1038/s41564-020-0688-y

•    A Novel Coronavirus Emerging in China — Key Questions for Impact Assessment, NEJM 2020, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2000929

•    Intranasal ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/AZD1222 vaccination reduces viral shedding after SARS-CoV-2 D614G challenge in preclinical models. Sci Transl Med 2021 doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abh0755

•    SARS-CoV-2 disease severity and transmission efficiency is increased for airborne compared to fomite exposure in Syrian hamsters. Nature communications 2021 doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-25156-8

•    Increased aerosol transmission for B.1.1.7 (alpha variant) over lineage A variant of SARS-CoV-2. Nature Microbiology 2022


Highly motivated candidates who have a strong background in molecular biology, computational biology, aerobiology, and infectious disease animal modeling are encouraged to apply. Experience working in high biological containment laboratories (BSL-3 or BSL-4), experience with molecular biology (reverse genetics), and experience in emerging infectious disease (including mathematical modeling) would be considered an advantage.

Well-developed oral and written communication skills are essential. Candidates must hold a Ph.D. in virology, molecular biology, or another appropriate discipline and have less than 3 years of postdoctoral experience. Applicants may be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or international citizens (for an IRTA, visa requirements apply). Trainees will receive health insurance as well as a competitive stipend(commensurate with experience).

To Apply

Applicants should send their curriculum vitae (CV), a letter expressing career goals and interests, and three letters of reference with contact information to Kay Menk, Laboratory Operations Specialist, Laboratory of Virology, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, 903 S 4th Street, Hamilton, MT 59840, 406-375-9624 (phone), 406-375-9620 (fax), or email

RML is a NIAID Campus with excellent genomic, electron microscopic, and veterinary core support that enables scientists to completely focus on their research. Located in the scenic Bitterroot Valley of western Montana, RML is surrounded by some of the best hiking, skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, and trout fishing in North America.

Visit NIAID Careers for more information about working in NIAID’s dynamic atmosphere!

HHS, NIH, and NIAID are equal opportunity employers dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Education Requirement:
Hamilton, Montana
Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases
Kay Menk,