Principal Institute Research Scientist - Cellular Pharmacology

Houston, Texas
July 28 2021
Health Sciences
Organization Type

Within The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center lies a powerful engine driving the future of new targeted, immune- and cell-based therapies: the Therapeutics Discovery Division. Therapeutics Discovery eliminates the bottlenecks that hamper traditional drug discovery, with 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 Therapeutics Discovery Division is built around four platforms: The Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS), ORBIT (Oncology Research for Biologics and Immunotherapy Translation), TRACTION (Translational Research to Advance Therapeutics and Innovation in Oncology) and the Neurodegeneration Consortium.

The IACS platform is focused on discovering and developing the next generation of small-molecule targeted therapies, driven by the needs we see in our patients. The team aligns world-class drug discovery and development research with the science and clinical care for which MD Anderson is known. 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. This model already has achieved results, with multiple programs currently in clinical and late-stage preclinical development.

The Principal Institute Research Scientist in the in vitro pharmacology group of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS) will provide leadership on drug discovery programs for studies to elucidate the cellular pharmacology of novel small molecules. This senior IACS member will use their critical thinking, technical, and strategic skills to rapidly drive our programs into the clinic. Their passion for using innovative approaches to problem-solving will enable them to identify lead molecules, evaluate structure-activity relationships, and dive deep into understanding the mechanism of action. The Principal Scientist will formulate a comprehensive understanding of the cellular pharmacology of assets across the IACS discovery portfolio, that, when combined with biochemical and biophysical results, will drive our projects towards data-driven decisions.

By joining the Therapeutics Discovery Division, you have the opportunity to use your talents to make a direct impact on the lives of our patients. We are seeking a highly motivated and collaborative individual to become a part of our team. Ideal candidates will have experience with a wide variety of protein targets in a drug discovery setting and a demonstrated track record in the development and implementation of cellular assays for compound screening and mechanistic studies.


1. Coordinate the application and development of cutting edge tools and methodologies to enable advancement of Institute projects through leadership and experimental activities. Analyze data generated by various studies and leverage results for the design of future studies.
2. Working closely with research teams, identify and recommend opportunities for scientific discovery and clinical therapeutic drug development.
3. Provide in vitro pharmacology leadership on multidisciplinary drug discovery teams.
4. Interact closely with cross-functional groups, including biology and medicinal chemistry, on discovery-based project teams.
5. Responsible for the design and execution of robust cellular assays to support target validation, hit identification and confirmation, and lead optimization in small molecule drug discovery projects.
6. Responsible for leading the characterization of the mechanism of action of novel small molecules in cellular contexts.
7. Monitor assay quality and troubleshoot issues with assay performance.
8. Contribute to project teams through lab-based activities.
9. Work with external groups to implement novel lead finding activities with collaborators as appropriate.
10. Transfer assays to collaborators as appropriate.
11. Provide leadership in enhancing co-culture and 3D cellular assays, as well as high-content imaging capabilities of IACS for screening funnel purposes and mechanistic studies.
12. Supervise associate scientists.


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


Required: Five years experience of relevant research experience in lab.


Five years of relevant pharmaceutical experience. Cellular assay experience required, including de novo design. Familiarity with biochemical and biophysical assays would be beneficial but is not required.

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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