Innovation Scholar focus neglected diseases; Malaria, Chagas, Gut Health

Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases
Emeryville, California (US)
Competitive salary and benefits
September 06 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Open Innovation @ NITD was established to address fundamental questions in drug discovery for global health. As an incubator-style environment within the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD), Open Innovation @ NITD unites basic research with the infrastructure of a world-class pharmaceutical company.

You have expert knowledge in a particular field of biology, platform technology, or bioinformatics and are eager to apply your special skills to the field of global health. You are ready to work in an open, interdisciplinary, and collaborative environment and dedicated to finding new medicines that help to address major health problems that affect underserved populations in global settings.

The successful Open Innovation Scholar candidate will explore a high-risk, high-reward project with the potential to contribute to solving global unmet medical needs. Scholars will contribute ideas to tackle fundamental research questions or technology gaps, while Novartis will provide state-of-the-art research infrastructure and an extensive global network of scientists across a wide range of disciplines. This collaborative effort will contribute to new therapies for global health and further the independent career of the successful candidate.

Research areas of particular interest include (but are not limited to) i) liver stage malaria (especially the hypnozoite); ii) gut health, especially as it relates to environmental enteropathy and stunting in infants/children; iii) developing a better understanding of the gut microbiome’s role in drug response; and iv) developing a better understanding of dormancy in parasitic disease (e.g., Malaria, Chagas).

Examples of objectives to be addressed by the Open Innovation Scholar include:
• Characterization of biological mechanism(s) by which dormant parasites (e.g., hypnozoites) enter/remain latent and are triggered to reactivate.
• Development of new approaches to identify new drug targets for radical cure of malaria.
• Development of innovative approaches to better understand gut health biology that could lead to novel interventions for environmental enteropathy and stunting in infants and children.
• Development of novel approaches to screen for new chemical entities that help in GI regeneration using complex biological systems like intestinal organoid model.
• Development of cutting-edge approaches to understand and exploit the interaction between the gut microbiome and human host as it relates to growth and development in infants/children. Using innovative model systems to identify small molecule that elicit beneficial phenotypic changes or specific molecular signatures associated with health.
• Use of model microbiomes (representing global diversity as well as health and disease) to understand the gut’s biotransformation of drugs (analogous to CYP P450’s of the liver) into metabolically active, inactive, or toxic metabolites, and defining the model microbiomes.

The Open Innovation Scholar position is for a single 3-year term.

Please submit your CV and upload a one-page research plan to be considered.

Your Responsibilities:
• Develop and lead an independent research project with support and guidance from Novartis.
• Form and lead a scientific team (with up to two associates reporting to the Open Innovation Scholar).
• Apply personal scientific expertise to solve a global health challenge.
• Conduct research according to agreed budget and collaborate across disciplines to achieve goals of project.
• Communicate and publish research and results internally and externally.
• Develop long-term research strategy and apply for funding

What You’ll bring to the role:
• Ph.D. degree or equivalent in relevant discipline, ideally with at least 3-5 years of research experience.
• Well-developed interpersonal skills and collaborative spirit.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
• Innovative mindset, can-do attitude, and good leadership abilities.

Desirable Requirements:
• Experience working with relevant global health field is a plus (e.g., infectious diseases, host-pathogen interaction, Plasmodium or other parasites studied by NITD) - but not a requirement.

About NITD
Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, NITD is dedicated to fighting parasitic infectious diseases of high medical need in a dynamic working environment. NITD is an Institute within the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR), and as such has full access to NIBR know-how and resources. NITD is renowned for applying cutting-edge technologies to the discovery of high quality clinical candidates for the treatment of neglected diseases.

Why consider Novartis?

817 million. That’s how many lives our products touched in 2018. And while we’re proud of that fact, in this world of digital and technological transformation, we must also ask ourselves this how can we continue to improve and extend even more people’s lives?

We believe the answers are found when curious, courageous and collaborative people like you are brought together in an inspiring environment. Where you’re given opportunities to explore the power of digital and data. Where you’re empowered to risk failure by taking smart risks, and where you’re surrounded by people who share your determination to tackle the world’s toughest medical challenges.

We are Novartis. Join us and help us reimagine medicine.