Associate Director- Discovery Biology

Seattle, Washington
Competitive Base Salary, Bonus, and Benefits.
October 19 2020
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

About the Department

Imagine transforming the face of biomedical research and building world-class target discovery platforms in a state -of-the art facility. That’s what we do at Novo Nordisk Research Center Seattle, Inc. (NNRCSI). Our scientists apply cutting-edge technologies within the diabetes and obesity areas, with the goal of bringing molecules to market. Areas of focus include advanced proteomics, flow cytometry, bioinformatics, high content imaging and phenotypic screening with an emphasis on identifying protein-based therapies for obesity, diabetes, and adjacent therapeutic areas. At the NNRCSI, your skills, dedication and ambition will help us change lives for the better. In exchange, we’ll offer you an opportunity to work with extraordinary talent, continuously learn and develop, and drive change to defeat serious chronic conditions.

The team is comprised of collaborative, diverse and passionate people who have a true sense of pride in their work and are committed to helping others grow and develop in their careers. You’ll also have a platform to engage with key stakeholders on a global scale throughout the entire pipeline process. And while changing the future of obesity treatment is no easy task, we also recognize the importance of an enjoyable workplace, which is why we’ve cultivated a culture of fun, ingenuity and innovation. We are changing lives, are you ready to make a difference?

The Position

The Associate Director will be responsible for managing laboratory staff and scientists in the Discovery Biology Unit within the Seattle Obesity Research (OBR) team. The Discovery Biology Unit will include the Systems Biology team, Proteomics team, Central Nervous System (CNS) Electrophysiology Unit, and the Cell Biology Unit. The Associate Director will be a member of the Seattle based Obesity Research Management team (OBRMgmt) and provide key input into the management and strategy of the Seattle OBR Unit. This position will also be part of the Global Obesity and Liver Disease Management team led by the Corporate Vice President (CVP) of the Therapy Area and will be responsible for providing key scientific and strategic insight into the Research Portfolio, as well as the longer-term research strategy. The Associate Director of the Discovery Biology Unit will be responsible for ensuring that the animal and laboratory research being performed at NNRC Seattle meets the high standards and ethics of Nov Nordisk (NN). Specifically, the Associate Director of Discovery Biology is directly responsible for setting the new research platforms to contribute to the research portfolio within this therapy area.

The OBR R&D Center in Seattle will be engaged in accelerating the path of novel obesity therapies for clinical development within Novo Nordisk (NN). A main focus of the OBR unit in Seattle is discovery of novel targets that can modulate food intake and energy expenditure, either as a monotherapy or combination, with the purpose of treating obesity. This includes modalities that will improve overall metabolic health. It is expected that the Associate Director of Discovery Biology will be an influential driver of the strategy of both internal activities as well as external collaborations.


Reports to the Vice President of OBR. Internal relationships include working with research employees, project managers, as well as colleagues in Obesity and Diabetes Research in Denmark, Novo Nordisk Inc. and Novo Nordisk A/S. This position also has direct reports. External relationships include those with business partners, industry associations, legislative bodies, and focus patient representative groups.

Essential Functions

  • As senior member of the OBR Management team and the Global Obesity and Liver Disease Management team, propose global strategies and ensure alignment with CVP area and Global Drug Discovery goals and ambitions
  • Associate Director of Discovery Biology will work with the VP and CVP of this therapy area to develop a translational research portfolio. This will be done by providing a strategic vision of novel scientific discovery platforms and by coordinating the different research technologies and scientists within the Discovery Biology unit to support the discovery and development of obesity relevant targets
  • This position will be responsible, through working with scientists throughout our global Obesity Research Team, to implement new research technologies to assist in the discovery and development of new obesity targets. This position is expected, together with their scientific team, to develop research collaborations with external organizations with the objective of expanding our discovery platforms to providing a long-term and sustainable research portfolio
  • Incumbent will be responsible for developing a workflow and team to support research programs from other NN units. The position will do this through building and maintaining strong relationships and collaborations with internal scientists and external researchers, by driving personnel development and ensuring team is engaged and fully supported to achieve goals and developing a strategy with the leadership team
  • Develop, mentor, advise and coach next-generation leadership for the U.S. site and within the OBR Research Unit
  • In depth overview of the departments activities to facilitate accurate estimate of resource allocation needed to ensure support to key deliverables and project milestones in accordance with overall Global Drug Discovery strategies
  • Overall budget responsibility of the department as a Cost Center
  • Responsible for ensuring sufficient resources are available to fulfil NN 's policies and authority regulation regarding environmental and occupational health issues/safety in the department
  • Promote cross-organizational collaborations and external collaborations with academia to facilitate constant development of the departments core technologies
  • Responsible for efficient transfer and knowledge sharing with key stakeholders such as Novo Nordisk Research Centers in Oxford UK, Indianapolis IA and China (NNRCC), as wells as with Global Drug Discovery (Denmark)
  • Responsible for the internal and external communication of department strategies, progress and challenges
  • Focus on establishment of a high level of scientific innovation and a strong discovery strategy to enable translation of discovery research to clinic and support for patent applications

Physical Requirements

10-20% overnight travel required.

Development of People

Ensure that reporting personnel have individual development plans (IDP), with 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. Ensure that the 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. Manage the application and communication of all Novo Nordisk policies, procedures, and Novo Nordisk Way.


  • Bachelor's Degree required. Ph.D. preferred
  • 10+ years’ experience required, or 5+ years post doc and/or industry experience required with a Ph.D
  • Relevant experience includes:
    • Clinical research, animal-based research and cell-based research
    • Working knowledge of in vitro cell based screening technologies
    • Broad knowledge and training in obesity relevant research
    • An established network within academia, industry, and biotech
  • Prior supervisory experience required. Internal Novo Nordisk project management, vendor management, or external worker management experience may be substituted for direct people management experience
  • Analyzing data for obesity research, including food intake and energy expenditure endpoints; knowledge and experience with large animal models for understanding translation to human research preferred
  • Knowledge and/or experience with human translational research preferred
  • Strong academic track record with publications preferred
  • Experience working in an industry setting preferred
  • A strong desire to work with the leadership team to implement a vision and strategy for the development of novel therapies for the treatment of obesity
  • Excellent collaboration skills. A strong team player that brings people along through a supportive, engaged and creative way of working
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills required, including the development of clear agenda, meeting leadership, drawing groups to good conclusions, and communicating scientific results and content across international sites and stakeholders from many parts of a complex multinational organization
  • Demonstrates a high degree of innovative and conceptual thinking within a discipline or field of expertise
  • Creative, innovative and inquisitive personality
  • Strong capability to learn and implement the business strategy
  • Excellent in establishing trustful relationships, and cross-cultural understanding
  • Flexibility and the ability to work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment

*** Director level will be considered commensurate with experience ***

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

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