Postdoctoral Fellow and Graduate Student with Dr. Toshifumi Yokota: Neuromuscular Diseases

The laboratory of Dr. Yokota at the University of Alberta is currently accepting applications for postdoctoral, undergraduate, and graduate student positions. We are seeking highly motivated individuals who have recently obtained a Ph.D. (within 3 years), as well as enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students.

Our laboratory is internationally renowned for its groundbreaking work in the field of genome-editing/antisense technology. Our research group focuses on investigating and developing treatments for muscular dystrophy and rare genetic diseases using a combination of experimental and computational approaches. We employ cutting-edge techniques such as antisense oligonucleotides, delivery technologies, CRISPR/Cas9, and machine learning to advance our understanding of these conditions and develop innovative therapeutic strategies. By joining our lab, you will have the opportunity to work in a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary environment.

We actively collaborate with world-class researchers and industry partners, providing unique opportunities for career development and networking. For example, in collaboration with Sarepta Therapeutics, we examined the effects of peptide-conjugated antisense oligonucleotides in a large animal model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (see Echigoya et al. PNAS. 2017). Moreover, our partnership with Dr. Pieter Cullis from the University of British Columbia, a renowned figure in biochemistry and recipient of the Gairdner International Award, is yielding innovative strides in developing lipid nanoparticles for antisense oligonucleotide delivery. This collaboration is particularly focused on treating genetic diseases, and further details can be found on the Muscular Dystrophy Canada website. (see These partnerships not only enhance our research capabilities but also provide invaluable opportunities for career development and networking in the field.

Trainees in our research group will have the opportunity to gain a diverse skill set encompassing various areas of research. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive training that equips our trainees with the necessary skills to excel in their individual projects and prepare them for successful academic research careers or other health-related career paths. This includes in silico drug design, muscle cell culture (both human and animal cells), working with animal models, conducting muscle physiology studies (such as exercise studies), histology techniques, confocal/two-photon laser microscopy, molecular analysis (such as RNA-seq and quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR analysis), molecular cloning, protein biochemistry, and proteomics analysis. By acquiring proficiency in these techniques, our trainees will develop a strong foundation of skills that are essential for conducting cutting-edge research in the biomedical field. These skills will not only contribute to their academic research endeavours but also open up opportunities for careers in non-academic health-related fields.

We take pride in the success of our past trainees, who have gone on to secure faculty positions in research universities, including the University of Alberta, the University of Victoria, the University of Vermont, and Nihon University. Additionally, several of our trainees have pursued rewarding careers in the life science industry, working with esteemed companies such as Eli Lilly, Roche, and Chugai Pharmaceutical. We are committed to providing a supportive and enriching training environment, where trainees can expand their knowledge, refine their skills, and foster their professional growth. We believe that the comprehensive training offered in our laboratory will empower trainees to pursue fulfilling careers and make significant contributions to the field of health and life sciences.

Full-time graduate students joining our research group will receive a competitive stipend, which is guaranteed to be equal to or greater than the minimum amount determined yearly by the graduate committee. The specific stipend amount may vary depending on the program, but it is typically around $25,000 - $30,000 per year. We understand the financial challenges that graduate students may face, and we are committed to providing financial support to ensure a productive and fulfilling research experience. The stipend for graduate students will be covered by research grants from the principal investigator (PI) in cases where the student has not received sufficient external scholarships or funding.

We value and prioritize the academic and professional growth of our graduate students. Therefore, priority will be given to those who are interested in pursuing Ph.D. degrees and are committed to advancing their research careers in the biomedical field.

If you are passionate about making a difference in the lives of patients with muscular dystrophy and genetic diseases, and if you are eager to contribute to cutting-edge research in a dynamic and supportive research team, we encourage you to apply. To apply, please submit your CV, a brief statement of your research interests and career goals, and the contact information of three references. We look forward to reviewing your application and considering you for a position in our laboratory.

Department of Medical Genetics 
Maternal and Child Health Scholarship Program (MatCH Program)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute (NMHI)


Jan 2024