Director - Computational Biology & Protein Design

Seattle, Washington State
Competitive Base Salary & bonus plus excellent benefits.
October 16 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

Director - Computational Biology & Protein Design


About the Department

At Novo Nordisk Center Seattle, Inc. (NNRCSI) our scientists apply cutting-edge technologies to early R&D projects with the goal of bringing real change to People with Diabetes and Obesity. Your skills, dedication and ambition will help change lives for the better and you will work with extraordinary talent, continuously learn and develop, and drive changes to defeat serious chronic conditions. We recognize the importance of an enjoyable workplace, which stimulates a strong culture of ingenuity and innovation and our support of a healthy work-life balance adds to a best-in-class employee experience.

As a new focus area, we aim to build up a dynamic computational team, which will leverage structure-based design, computational biology and machine learning expertise to the drug discovery process. Our aim is to strengthen target identification and drug design processes at NNRCSI and through global collaboration across our R&D sites. This team will implement State-of-the-art structural modelling and machine learning technologies to improve functional and biophysical properties of proteins, peptides and new molecular format for future therapies. They will build up bioinformatics expertise spanning areas from sequence analysis, computer vision and different omics and pathway analysis. This team will work in a flexible, cross-functional setting in close collaboration with experimentalists to drive pre-clinical projects with very ambitious scientific goals. They will have external collaborations with academic and biotech partners within computational drug discovery in North America.

The Position
The Director will drive the development of the new research team supporting local activities within the fields and ensure access to talents in North America. The position is essential for establishing a strong presence in North America, for supporting drug discovery innovation and will also have emphasis on the establishment of external collaborations to KOLs and companies of interest.

Reports to the Vice President (VP) of Structure, Bioinformatics and Data Science area placed in Denmark, but will have strong association to local Protein Engineering and Biology groups focusing on Obesity, Diabetes and Kidney Disease.

Internal relationships include employees in the newly established research team and colleagues at Novo Nordisk Research Center Seattle, Inc. (NNRCSI) and other Novo Nordisk (NN) research sites. This includes Computational Biologists, Computational Modelling Scientists, Software Engineers and Developers, scientific personnel from biology and protein engineering groups and relevant employees from the NN IT organizations.

External relationships include commercial and academic collaboration partners and may include researchers within the field in North America and Canada with strong-holds within AI-driven drug discovery.

Essential Functions

  • Establish and lead a team that shows excellence in improving functional properties and design of peptides, proteins, antibodies and other molecular formats of interest by employing state-of-the art structure-based modeling approaches and artificial intelligence (AI).
  • The team should also have strong competencies in bioinformatics for discovering and validating new targets covering sequence analysis, omics technologies, Mode of Action (MoA)/pathway analysis, biomarker discovery and data science methods of integrating analysis of internal and external biomedical data
  • Will lead the development and mentor application of algorithms for the in depth analysis of experimental data sets connected to development of new drug designs and cohort data sets with biomedical data.
  • Oversee the work of scientists in the areas of designing, coding, training, testing, deploying, and iterating on machine learning systems and bioinformatics approaches.
  • Responsible for developing, implementing, and applying technical tools and distribute obtained knowledge to research projects
  • Utilize and impact computational environments and platforms either cloud-based or on premise and facilitate data pipelines and management of data
  • Demonstrate a high degree of innovative and conceptual thinking. Define and drive global business strategy with business-changing impact and ensure that these are aligned with the VP area and Global Research strategies.
  • Promote cross-organizational collaborations to facilitate constant development of the function’s and department’s core technologies by engaging with stakeholders across the global research organization with sites in Denmark, Indianapolis, UK, and China and disseminate obtained knowledge and technologies where it makes sense.
  • Transform ideas and concepts into tangible results which can drive forward our research projects.
  • Prepare and present written and oral reports and proposals to peers and management
  • Capture new, relevant inventions in Novo Nordisk patent applications
  • Identify and initiate collaborations with key opinion leaders (KOLs), companies and relevant external partners with emphasis on capturing state of the art methodologies and skills within the field of computational biology and protein design
  • Define general strategies for Novo Nordisk engagement within data science in Drug Discovery in North America and independently pursue impact Research Strategies related to data.

Physical Requirements
Approximately 10-20% overnight travel.

Development of People
Ensure that reporting personnel conducts annual goals and measurements that are consistent with the priorities of the business, and that interim reviews are held so that their work is focused on those priorities, and they understand their level of accountability for results and the measurement process. Manage the application and communication of all Novo Nordisk policies, procedures, and Novo Nordisk Way. Ensure that the individual development plan (IDP) forms include completed Learning and Aspiration plans and are in place for all reporting personnel to enable the achievement of goals and capability to assume increased levels of responsibility.


  • PhD required. PhD within a computational structural biology discipline, such as Biophysics or Biochemistry or within Bioinformatics/Computational Biology or Computational science is preferred.
  • 10+ years of relevant research experience, preferably in the realm of pharmaceutical/biotechnology
  • 5+ years of experience in building up strong competencies and broad knowledge base within Computational protein design or Computational biology field with deep knowledge within artificial intelligence (AI) & machine learning technologies amenable to drug discovery preferred.
  • 7 years of solid programming and scripting skills (e.g. Python) or experience with advanced statistical analysis. Additional experience in modern data science and state of the art bioinformatics techniques is preferred.
  • 3 years of management experience required.
  • Track record of coordinating and obtaining buy-in from internal and external stakeholders

Novo Nordisk is an Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity.

If you are interested in applying to Novo Nordisk and need special assistance or an accommodation to apply, please call us at 1-855-411-5290. This contact is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.

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