Institute Group Leader - In Vivo Pharmacology and Biology

Houston, Texas
October 07 2021
Health Sciences
Organization Type
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center aims to eliminate cancer in Texas, the nation, and the world, through outstanding programs that integrate patient care, research, and prevention, and through education for undergraduate and graduate students, trainees, professionals, employees, and the public.

MD Anderson Therapeutics Discovery Division

Within The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center lies the Therapeutics Discovery Division (TDD), a powerful engine driving the future of new targeted, immune- and cell-based therapies. Therapeutics Discovery eliminates the bottlenecks that hamper traditional drug discovery by employing a multidisciplinary team of dedicated researchers, doctors, drug developers, and scientific experts working together to develop small-molecule drugs, biologics, and cellular therapies. Our unique structure and collaborative approach allow the team to work with agility, bringing novel medicines from concept to clinic quickly and efficiently - all under the same roof.

The TRACTION platform

The Translational Research to AdvanCe Therapeutics and Innovation in ONcology (TRACTION) platform is an industrialized translational research group that aligns world-class drug discovery and development with highly innovative the science and clinical care research, for which MD Anderson Cancer Center is known. Through an investment in patient-centric research, we have developed the infrastructure, platforms, and capabilities to enable transformative research. TRACTION's approach combines innovative cancer genetics, disruptive technologies, deep mechanistic biology, disease modeling, and pharmacology to accelerate the translation of novel discoveries into definitive clinical hypotheses. By partnering with the drug discovery engines within Therapeutics Discovery, we aim to advance a portfolio of small molecules, biologics, and cell therapies for our patients. We work in a fast-paced, milestone-driven environment with a focus on team science and interdisciplinary research. Our unique approach has created a biotech-like engine within the walls of the nation's leading cancer center to bring life-saving medicines to our patients more quickly and effectively.

Position Summary

We are seeking an accomplished, energetic, and detail-oriented scientist to join our team as a Group Leader of In Vivo Pharmacology/Biology to advance our drug discovery and development portfolio. The Group Leader will oversee all in vivo pharmacology and disease modeling efforts to position our preclinical drug discovery and translational biology programs for clinical success. The ideal candidate is a highly motivated and team-oriented individual that possesses the ability to work across a highly matrixed environment to provide technical and scientific in vivo expertise for advancing drug discovery programs from preclinical studies through IND filing and clinical development.

As a part of the Therapeutics Discovery team, you will have the opportunity to use your talents to make a direct impact on the lives of our patients.

  1. Lead TRACTION's in vivo pharmacology efforts to support drug discovery and development activities that enable clinical candidate selection. The Group Leader will help with the execution and analysis of oncology model development and in vivo pharmacology study design. S/he will coordinate across functional areas to deliver compelling pharmacology and translational data sets to advance TDD's and our partners' small molecule, biologic, and/or cell therapy drug discovery programs, including mono- and combination-therapy approaches, into IND filings and clinical proof-of-concept trials in distinct patient populations.
  2. Serve as the in vivo expert for multiple projects in the pipeline and work with TDD's internal and external partner to help position external assets for clinical development.
    1. Integrate findings from pharmacology studies to provide a detailed understanding of compound pharmacology for in vitro-in vivo correlations.
    2. Develop and characterize appropriate mechanistic or disease models to inform on target biology, patient stratification, and biomarker development.
  3. Oversee efforts to procure, characterize, and maintain patient-derived and genetically engineered model platforms of cancer and their use to support biomarker identification/validation and translational activities for drug development.
  4. Identify, initiate, and manage collaborations with CROs and academic labs.
  5. Liaise with MD Anderson support functions and veterinary services to ensure the group's smooth operations in compliance with animal welfare regulations.
  6. Proactively recognize and solve technical and scientific issues to assure high-quality data from external resources.
  7. Collectively with other disciplines, including biology, DMPK, safety, and toxicology, support early discovery programs through to the delivery of preclinical data package to support clinical candidate nomination and IND filing.
  8. Participate on the scientific and portfolio management team and influence TRACTION and TDD portfolio strategies.
  9. Supervise the in vivo pharmacology team and manage the team by providing mentorship, professional development, guidance, and leadership.
  10. Contribute to building a positive, team-oriented biotech culture.


Required: PhD in one of the natural sciences or related field or Medical degree.

Preferred: PhD, MD or equivalent degree in Biology, Cell Biology, Pharmacology or related field.


Required: Seven years experience of relevant research experience in laboratory to include three years of supervisory or managerial experience. Successful completion of the LEADing Self Accelerate program may substitute for one year of required supervisory or management experience.

Preferred: 7 years of relevant research and management experience beyond post-doctoral research maintaining hands-on experience.
1. Demonstrate ability to lead teams to drive go/no-go decisions
2. Proficiency and hands-on experience with acute and chronic in vivo models of oncology, immuno-oncology, or autoimmunity
3. Experience with establishing, characterizing, and managing a disease-modeling platform to support therapeutics development
4. Experience in progressing drug programs through early stage preclinical studies through IND submission
5. Ability to model PK/PD using programs such as WinNonLin
6. Excellent project management skills
7. Ability to effectively liaise with CROs and facilitate interactions with academic labs and companies to ensure project progression
8. Self-motivation and flexibility to adapt workplans quickly to changing priorities and deadlines
9. Desire to advance and excel in their position while contributing to overall company growth

It is the policy of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to provide equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or any other basis protected by institutional policy or by federal, state or local laws unless such distinction is required by law.

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