Torbett Laboratory


Post-doctoral position in chemical biology and structural virology.

Bruce Torbett’s Group at The Scripps Research Institute has 2 open post-doctoral positions and we are
accepting applications. We study HIV biology and viral-host cell interactions. The overall goal of our HIV
research is to understand at the biophysical, biochemical, structural, and evolutionary level, the system
interdependency of interacting HIV macromolecules and their assemblies which shape the HIV life cycle.
The Torbett lab research encompasses 3 interrelated areas:

1. Understanding HIV inhibitor resistance through genetic and structural studies. Our studies focus
on understanding the biochemical and structural role of inhibitor-mediated mutations that shape
protein structural stability and function, while contributing to HIV fitness. To accomplish these goals
we have developed a novel sequencing methodology to determine epistatic interactions among
HIV loci during inhibitor resistance evolution in viral isolates from patients and biochemical/
biophysical/structural methods for interrogating function of HIV protease and its substrates in Gag.
Findings from these studies will allow insights into biochemical and structural mechanisms that
result in viral inhibitor resistance and may allow insights into the prediction of inhibitor resistant viral
areas to target with small molecules.

2. The structural and biophysical interactions of HIV Gag and Gag-Pol polyproteins with their host cell
proteins during HIV trafficking and assembly in HIV infected cells. Viruses require host cell
dependency proteins that necessitate their lifecycle. We are investigating the composition,
dynamics, and function of mass spectrometry identified cellular proteins that contribute to Gag
maturation and trafficking from translation through the cell to involvement with the ESCRT pathway.
Our findings will provide insights as to host proteins that chaperone the HIV and contribute to
assembly. These studies will provide information on novel protein-viral interactions that may be
targeted by small molecules for therapeutic effects. In this regard, we are utilizing Sulfur(VI)
Fluoride Exchange (SuFEx) chemistry to identify novel sites on HIV proteins for the purpose of
understanding function and potentially for therapeutic targeting.

3. Basic, fundamental problems in lentiviral vector gene delivery to human hematopoietic stem cell
and progenitor cell (CD34+ cells) and methods of gene correction. A limitation to efficient lentiviral
vector gene delivery is the inherent resistance of CD34+ stem cells to lentiviral vector entry. We
have identified small molecules that increase lentiviral vector transduction (entry and lentiviral
integration) of CD34+ stem. We are using these small molecules as chemical probes to uncover
novel viral resistance factors in hematopoietic stem cell and progenitor cells. Our findings will
improve lentiviral gene delivery to hematopoietic stem cells for basic and clinical applications.

Please go to the HIV Interactions in Viral Evolution, and for additional information on our research programs.

We are looking for individuals with: 1) Biochemistry/protein chemistry training with mass spectrometry
experience and with some virology or microbiology training. 2) Molecular biology/genetics, and sequencing
experience with some training in virology or microbiology. 3) Chemical biology and mass spectrometry
experience and with some virology or microbiology training.

The applicant should be no more than 2 years out of their PhD program.

 Apply Here:



Department of 
Immunology and Microbiology

The Scripps Research Institute

Director, Molecular Basis of Viral PathogenesisTraining Grant

Director, CFAR Protein Expression and Proteomics Core

Co-Director, HIV Interaction and Viral Evolution (HIVE) Center

Co-Director, UCSD Center for AIDS Research (CFAR)


10550 North Torrey Pines Road, MEM-131
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: (858) 784-9123
FAX: (858) 784-7714