Staff Fellow – Bioinformatics Reviewer

Silver Spring, Maryland
Salary is commensurate with education and experience.
October 22 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type
Staff Scientist

Individualized Cell and Gene Therapies and Immunotherapies

Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies (OTAT)

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER)


Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

The FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies (OTAT), Division of Cellular and Gene Therapies (DCGT) is recruiting a full-time Bioinformatics Reviewer to fill a staff fellow position.

DCGT is strongly committed to bringing scientists, patient advocates, and the public together in partnership to develop novel advanced therapies for the 21st Century, while protecting human subjects and ensuring product safety and quality.

The selected candidate will be a part of a cutting-edge and fast-paced scientific and regulatory environment. Also, the candidate will have the opportunity to work with a team of dynamic multi-disciplinary scientists and apply bioinformatics expertise to perform assessments of scientific and regulatory information of cell and gene therapy products including neoantigen-derived cancer immunotherapy products submitted to OTAT. The candidate may also have opportunities to contribute to FDA policy and guidance development activities in the bioinformatics area relevant to the regulation of innovative individualized cell and gene therapy and immunotherapy products.

RESPONSIBILITIES: As a Bioinformatics Reviewer, the candidate will perform the following major duties:

  • Developing and implementing bioinformatics data standards and data quality assessment programs for scientific and regulatory review of the submissions to OTAT.
  • Establishing targets (desired state of specific data quality attributes) and thresholds (minimum level of quality acceptable) to assess and ensure data fitness for regulatory purposes.
  • Independently perform bioinformatics data analysis using internally developed tools as well as open source and third-party genomics software and prediction algorithms.
  • Evaluating NGS and other genomics and bioinformatics datasets and pipelines relevant to the development of advanced individualized cell and gene therapy and immunotherapy products submitted to OTAT.
  • Communicating results and interpretation to a diverse audience, including FDA scientists, collaborators, and external stakeholders.

BASIC QUALIFICATIONS: This position is multidisciplinary, and applicants will be required to meet the one of the specific qualification requirements of the applicable occupational series below.

General Natural Resources Management and Biological Sciences (RG-0401): Degree in Biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position, – OR – Combination of education and experience in courses equivalent to a major, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Microbiology (RG-0403): Degree in microbiology; or biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that included at least 20 semester hours in microbiology and other subjects related to the study of microorganisms, and 20 semester hours in the physical and mathematical sciences combining course work in organic chemistry or biochemistry, physics, and college algebra, or their equivalent. – OR – Combination of education and experience in courses equivalent to a major in microbiology, biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that included courses as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Computer Scientist (Bioinformatics RG-1550): Bachelor's degree in computer science or bachelor's degree with 30 semester hours in a combination of mathematics, statistics, and computer science. At least 15 of the 30 semester hours must have included any combination of statistics and mathematics that included differential and integral calculus. All academic degrees and course work must be from accredited or pre-accredited institutions.

ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATIONS: Ph.D. degree in Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Computer Science, Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, or a related field is required. Candidate must have strong collaborative skills, excellent written and oral communication skills, and a clear evidence of leadership potential. Knowledge of federal regulations applicable to drugs and biological products is helpful but not required for consideration. R&D experience in personalized neoantigen-based cancer immunotherapy products is a plus.


  • Using bioinformatics tools and complex analytical pipelines including diverse sequencing primary analysis tools (e.g., samtools, bedtools, GATK, BWA, Bowtie, IGV), secondary analysis tools (e.g., muTect, VarScan, VarDict), and statistical or machine learning algorithms (e.g., DESeq2, clustering, t-SNE).
  • Commercial and open-source bioinformatics, BioCompute Object, and genomics analysis software (e.g., FDA HIVE, DNA-Nexus, CLCBio, Galaxy).
  • Creating bioinformatics pipelines identifying and predicting neoantigens and their immunogenicity for individual cancer patients based on NGS sequencing technology.
  • Publicly available data sources (e.g., TCGA, ENCODE, 1000 Genomes, COSMIC, ESP) and diverse genomic annotations.
  • Familiarity with the JupyterLab environment
  • Python and/or R (additional languages such as C++,C, or Java are a plus)
  • Comfortable working in the Linux environment

FOREIGN EDUCATION: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit the U.S. Department of Education website for Foreign Education Evaluation.

SALARY:  Salary is commensurate with education and experience.

LOCATION: Silver Spring, MD

CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT: This position will be filled through the Service Fellowship program. The appointment provides up to (4) years with opportunities for renewal. Applications will ONLY be accepted from U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents (green card). No previous Federal experience is required. Appointment does not confer any entitlement to a position in the competitive service, and there is no entitlement to Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeals rights.

  • One-year probationary period may be required.
  • Official Transcripts are required.
  • Background and/or Security investigation is required.
  • If applicant is an U.S. Citizen, males born on, or after, December 31st, 1959 must be registered with the Selective Service System or have an approved exemption. Visit for more info.
  • Prohibited financial interest restrictions may apply. For additional information on the prohibited financial interests, please visit the FDA Ethics and Integrity Office website at FDA Ethics and Integrity Office.

HOW TO APPLY: Submit your electronic resume or curriculum vitae with a cover letter containing a brief summary of career interest and scientific accomplishments, a statement of how your education and experience would be applicable to this bioinformatics reviewer position, and the names/contact information of three references to William Lewis at Applications and all supporting documentation will be accepted through November 30, 2021. Please reference Job Code: OTAT-22-06-SCI.

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