Molecular Engineering Research Lead
Philadelphia, PA 
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Job Description

Join the Spark Team

We were born of innovation, springing from the curiosity, imagination and dedication of remarkable scientists and healthcare visionaries. Our shared mission is to challenge the inevitability of genetic disease by discovering, developing, and delivering treatments in ways unimaginable - until now.

We don't follow footsteps. We create the path.


Summary

The Molecular Engineering Research Lead will manage one or more research programs as part of the Discovery group within Translational Research. S/he will be responsible for expanding and/or developing novel capabilities related to directed evolution and molecular design.

  • Directing and overseeing discovery programs, facilitating translation from in vitro through in vivo proof-of-concept in small and large animal models with an objective to engineer capsids, therapeutic proteins/antibodies in support of current and future gene therapy programs.
  • Providing leadership within a group of scientists/research associates.
  • Initiating and overseeing cross-functional programs within the company and collaborations with external academic and industry partners.
  • Establishing and managing project timelines and ensuring work is completed according to schedule.
  • Training and developing staff at varying levels of experience.
  • Writing study reports, manuscripts and presenting results at appropriate scientific meetings.

(Summary Continued)

The Molecular Engineering Research Lead position supports translational research of gene therapies including:

  • Developing novel biological engineering and screening strategies to generate a pipeline of capsids and vector entities with unique tropism properties and therapeutic proteins with enhanced profiles.
  • Implementing various approaches that utilize large genetic diversity libraries and allow for assessment of variants in high throughput fashion to enable the development of improved molecular entities.
  • Delivering rigorous, interpretable and scientifically sound workflows to facilitate product development (e.g. generation and implementation of ideas, validation, in vivo proof-of-concept, etc.).
  • Independently evaluate and implement novel approaches to machine learning in research as well as cross-functionally with other parts of the organization including clinical development and manufacturing sciences.


Responsibilities

40% - Lead a team of scientists initiating and developing discovery programs through to preclinical development. Mentor and develop staff. Participate in evaluation of external BD and collaboration opportunities. Ensure departmental goals and objectives are met and aligned to the broader organizational goals and objectives.

30% - Devise and evaluate novel strategies to address limitations of current gene therapy approaches through protein design, engineering and evolution. Design and trouble-shoot experiments based on personal experience and literature review. Prepare and deliver scientific presentations at internal and external meetings.

10% - Set project priorities, plan workload, manage resource and personnel scheduling

10% - Prepare sample analysis reports, study reports, etc.

10% - Hands-on execution of experiments on the bench.


Requirements
  • Ph.D. in a relevant scientific discipline (e.g. biological engineering, synthetic biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, etc.).
  • Typically has 5-7 years of related work experience.
  • Subject matter expert in the fields of directed evolution, synthetic biology, molecular/biological engineering or applications of machine learning in biology.
  • Hands-on research experience with designing and generating genetic diversity libraries, high throughput screen and selection schemes, next-gen sequencing and machine learning methods.
  • Experience using various in vitro expression systems and in vivo models.
  • Experience in AAV gene therapy and/or in key therapeutic areas, such as hematologic, metabolic, ocular or CNS disorders is preferred.
  • Previous management or supervisory experience strongly preferred.
  • Strong publication record is a plus.
  • Experience managing external collaborations is a plus.

Competencies
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Experience with next-gen sequencing, barcoding, high throughput screening and other enabling technologies.
  • Able to advance multiple research projects in parallel.
  • Excellent communication skills (both oral and written).

 

Job Summary
Start Date
As soon as possible
Employment Term and Type
Regular, Full Time
Required Education
Doctorate
Required Experience
5 to 7 years
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