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Craniofacial Surgeon-Scientist Training Program

Plastic surgery is defined by innovations and innovators. Acceleration in advances ranging from genomics, cell/gene therapy, biomaterials, tissue engineering present new opportunities to solve problems we treat as craniofacial surgeons. To bridge this translation gap we seek to identify, recruit and nurture bridge-builders that will redefine the possibilities and standards of craniofacial care of tomorrow.


The Center for Craniofacial Innovation at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia sponsors the Craniofacial Surgeon-Scientist Training Program, that aims to provide unparalleled training and mentorship in craniofacial translation research. In this unique 2-year fellowship opportunity, the trainee will learn fundamental genomics and gene therapy approaches to tackle problems in craniofacial biology. A key component of the training is to develop academic and professional skills, which include communication, scientific writing, career planning, and grant writing. The Craniofacial Surgeon-Scientist Fellow will have ample opportunities to carry out cutting edge research, present at scientific conferences, draft and submit manuscripts and grants, and develop a mentorship team that will support the fellow during and after graduation.


  • Resident in good standing in a United States ACGME accredited surgical residency training program, in:  categorical surgery, plastic surgery, neurosurgery, oral-maxillofacial surgery, dentistry, otolaryngology, orthopedic surgery, ophthalmology and urology.

  • Excellent communication and writing skills.

  • Strong work ethic and collaborative ability.

  • Prior experimental research, computation or writing experience preferred but not required.

  • Passion for discovery and academic surgery career.



The interested applicant meeting eligibility please send the following to

  1. Cover letter stating career plan and research interest (1-page).

  2. Curriculum vitae.

  3. Residency program director’s letter of reference, stating the resident’s standing in the program, permission to carry out 2-years of dedicated professional development without clinical duty.



The candidate will be appointed as a full-time post-doctoral research fellow and receive full funding from the CHOP Center for Craniofacial Innovation, in 2024 the salary will be $65,000 with benefits. Applicants with funding from home institution or other sources preferred. A 2-year minimum term is required. A third year is possible for the fellow desiring additional training.


Important dates:

Application deadline 5pm, February 1, 2024.

Interviews in Feb 2024.

Decision on or before March 10, 2024

Fellowship begins July 1, 2024.

Please direct interest or questions to Center Director Eric C. Liao, MD, PhD at

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

The Liao Laboratory at the Center for Craniofacial Innovation at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute in affiliation with the Department of Surgery is seeking a highly motivated research fellow interested in craniofacial developmental biology and genetics.  It is a particularly exciting time to carry out these studies at CHOP as we are integrating data institution-wide, across research centers, clinical informatics, deep phenotyping, genomic and multi-omic analysis of massive biorepositories of congenital conditions, cancers and pediatric diseases. We are eager to make translational advances to realize the goal of precision medicine to improve the diagnosis and treatment of congenital and pediatric conditions.


We are specifically interested in recruiting a candidate with experience in human genetics, developmental biology or disease models.  We have a robust pipeline of identifying human genes that are associated rare craniofacial conditions, where we apply zebrafish, human iPSC/organoid or mouse models to dissect the developmental genetic basis of craniofacial malformations. 


The fellow will join a collaborative group of scientists who study the basic and translational biology of facial morphogenesis, cranial neural crest specification and development. In this instance, the fellow’s work will focus on functional genomics of human candidate genes implicated in orofacial clefts. We are interested in the basic biology of epithelial development, RNA splicing, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, neural crest cell specification, migration, differentiation and potential for regeneration. We integrate the approaches of developmental and stem cell biology, and use multi-disciplinary tools to explore human tissue regeneration and disease. 


We apply the latest technology in zebrafish developmental genetics with routine use of light sheet microscopy, dyamic imaging and measurement of cell forces, CRISPR/Cas gene targeting, single-cell RNAseq (long read), Cut&Run transcriptional analysis, cell transplants, FACS, live confocal labeling and imaging, transgenics, chemical screening, and many other experimental approaches. Our laboratory has a dedicated zebrafish facility outfitted with the latest imaging, injection and cell manipulation instruments. Researchers work in modern state-of-art 6,000 square feet of open format laboratory space consisting of 24 lab benches and desks, 2 microscope rooms, 2 procedure rooms, 2 cold storage and 4-degree procedure room.  Our lab currently consists of 2 research scientists, 5 post-docs, 1 MD/PhD candidate, 2 research technicians and 1 executive administrative assistant. The laboratory space fosters interactions with other researchers working in the Center, with ample opportunities to participate in scientific seminars and professional development.

The laboratory has stable funding with extramural grants and institutional support.  There will be opportunities for eligible candidates to compete for independent funding.


Job Requirements

The candidate should have a Ph.D. or an M.D./Ph.D. and research experience in human, mouse or zebrafish genetics. Additional experience with cell culturing, microscopy, computation biology, mouse genetics, development, cell, developmental, is desirable. Outstanding oral and written communication skills are necessary. Minimum of 3-year commitment is required.

Funding, Support, Wellness and Equity

I am committed to the mentorship and wellness of developing scientists and to cultivate a culture of collaborative scientific inquiry where the team provides diversity of perspectives, experiences and life experiences.  Our Center has been leading and contributing to CHOP efforts to recruit and cultivate colleagues of historically under-represented racial and ethnic groups, at all levels, from students and technicians to faculty members.


The post-doctroal fellow is well supported at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, with a number of mentorship, networking and career development opportunities within the lab, the Center and CHOP at large.  CHOP salary scale is competitive and the latest information can be found online. In 2023 the PGY1 level is $65,500 with benefits.


Please email your inquiry, current CV, statement of interest and career goals, to Eric Liao,

Research Tech II


A position for a research technician interested in craniofacial and neural crest stem cell biology and projects that combine basic and translational biomedical research. The laboratory is fertile training ground for students interested in 2-year term to learn science before application to graduate school (PhD, MD, DMD), or career in science. This position is full time and onsite, not remote work.  Please apply through the CHOP Job Site or email cover letter, resume and 3 letters of references to directly.

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