Senior Principal Scientist, Translational Modeling and Simulation

La Jolla, California
July 18 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
The Senior Principal Scientist will be a part of the Translational Modeling and Simulation group of the Medicine Design Department which develops and applies state-of-the-art modeling and simulation methodologies to preclinical programs to enable key drug discovery decisions from idea to first-in-human studies. As a member of global multidisciplinary project teams, you will develop and implement quantitative mechanism-based PK-PD models which impact the quality of decisions regarding target prioritization, therapeutic modality selection, drug design, biomarker characterization, and early clinical trial design.


In this role, you will have an opportunity to support a range of projects within the Center for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI). CTI is an outward facing research unit that partners with leading academic researchers to translate novel discoveries into therapies that change patient's lives. Implementing translational science, such as empirical and/or model-based interspecies scaling of PK-PD and making predictions of human dose and therapeutic index, will be an important task supporting projects transitioning into the clinic.

In the earlier phases of drug discovery, the deployment of mechanistic modeling and/or systems pharmacology/systems biology modeling is an essential responsibility for guiding discovery teams to evaluate the therapeutic potential of novel molecular targets, define laboratory objectives, design and interpret in vitro and in vivo pharmacology studies and select appropriate compounds for clinical development. To this end, you will aid biologists and other experimentalists in implementing emerging methodologies and technologies relevant to drug discovery.

You will have the opportunity to work with multiple stakeholders outside of the modeling and simulation discipline (e.g. Medicinal Chemistry, Biology, DMPK, Drug Safety, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Clinical Pharmacology, Clinical). You will be expected to network with global modelers in the Translational Modeling and Simulation as well as other related discipline groups (e.g. Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacometrics) to share knowledge and findings, work on collaborative projects and enhance consistency in best practices across sites, disease areas, and therapeutic approaches.

You will be expected to keep up to date with emerging literature and science in modeling and simulation sciences and is expected to present scientific results both internally and externally through conference presentations and publications.

Given the global nature of project teams and group members, excellent communication skills, a pro-active approach and independence are essential characteristics for this role.


Candidate demonstrates a breadth of diverse leadership experiences and capabilities including: the ability to influence and collaborate with peers, develop and coach others, oversee and guide the work of other colleagues to achieve meaningful outcomes and create business impact.
  • Ph.D. degree or equivalent degree in systems biology, pharmacometrics, pharmaceutical sciences, engineering, mathematics, or similar disciplines where modeling and simulation is emphasized.
  • 6+ years of industrial experience in practical applications of modeling and simulation, including direct discovery project support. In particular, extensive experience in the areas of PK-PD modeling and/or systems pharmacology/biology modeling is required.
  • Familiarity, through experience, with the phases of drug discovery and development, with particular emphasis on compound selection and translational research issues.
  • Leadership capacity, strong communication skills, ability to work independently and in teams, and attention to detail.
  • Ability to work in remote/virtual team setting

Technical Skills
  • Excellent understanding of theory, principles and statistical aspects of advanced mathematical modeling and simulation
  • In depth, hands-on knowledge of the state-of-the-art modeling and simulation software and applications in the area of PKPD modeling and simulation (NONMEM, MatLab, Phoenix, Berkeley-Madonna, SAAM II, ADAPT, ACSL, S-plus, R or comparable applications).
  • Thorough understanding of the basic principles of pharmacokinetics (non-compartmental, compartmental, PBPK)
  • Ability to learn new areas of biological sciences and build on solid foundation of quantitative skills to develop mechanistically-relevant PK-PD models
  • Ability to translate/condense/summarize outcomes of modeling and simulation analyses into information that can be used by project teams
  • Ability to keep up-to-date with and propose the implementation of scientific and technological developments in the area of PK-PD modeling and simulation
  • Good team player and communicator
  • Ability to work in a small team with minimal technical supervision (selfstarter) and remote team members
  • Good listener and ability to effectively interact with colleagues with a variety of backgrounds
  • Motivated to develop a career as a hands-on, technical modeling and simulation expert in a preclinical drug discovery environment
  • Keen to interact as a modeling and simulation expert with matrix project teams working closely with PDM, Biology and Clinical scientists
  • Strong belief that modeling and simulation can have a significant positive impact on research projects
  • Committed to the development of self and others
  • Motivated to share technical expertise with others

Additional Job Information:
  • Available locations: La Jolla, CA and Cambridge, MA
  • Eligible for relocation support
  • Eligible for employee referral bonus


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EEO & Employment Eligibility

Pfizer is committed to equal opportunity in the terms and conditions of employment for all employees and job applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or gender expression, national origin, disability or veteran status. Pfizer also complies with all applicable national, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act and IRCA. Pfizer is an E-Verify employer.

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