Vector Optimization Research Scientist

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Salary not provided
October 26 2021
Organization Type
Primary Duties

The Research Scientist is a key member of the Discovery Research Team and participates in the development of Spark’s gene delivery platforms. She/he will actively participate in the optimizing gene expression cassettes, facilitating translation from in vitro through in vivo proof of concept.

She/he will be responsible for:

  • Designing, screening, and validating promoters or enhancers for both constitutive and cell-type specific gene expression
  • Conduct unbiased assays such as ATAC-seq, RNA-seq, or ChIP-seq to investigate the mechanisms of gene regulation at both endogenous loci and in the context of AAV episomes
  • Design and evaluate RNA regulatory elements including heterologous introns, UTRs, toehold switches, miRNA binding sites, and RNA aptamers.
  • Collaborating with other Translational Research Scientists to design gene expression cassettes that ensure appropriate functionality of the transgene, including splicing, protein targeting or post-translational processing.
  • Initiating and overseeing joint programs and collaborations with external parties for the development of novel regulatory elements and/or capsids.
  • Writing study reports, manuscripts and present results at appropriate scientific meetings.

The Research Scientist position requires proficiency in molecular biology, biochemistry and gene expression techniques:

  • Multi-fragment cloning into AAV expression plasmids.
  • Practical experience with characterizing epigenetic or chromatin states using NGS-based approaches.
  • Experience with design, execution and data analysis related to experimental studies utilizing both in vitro and in vivo models.
  • Familiarity with gene therapy and/or AAV is preferred.


% of Time Job Function and Description

80% Design, characterize and validate novel gene expression cassettes. This includes executing experiments on the bench, extensive literature review and championing product candidate development.

20% Design experiments, organize, discuss, and record experimental data.

Education and Experience Requirements

  • Typically has a PhD in a biological discipline. Candidate may also have a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree with a minimum of 3 years of applied research experience, exclusive of their degree program.
  • Hands-on research experience with high throughput gene expression analyses (e.g. transcriptional, translational, post-translational, etc.).
  • Familiarity with designing genetic control elements using a combination of molecular, cellular and in vitro/in vivo techniques.
  • Experience with studies in laboratory animal models is preferred.
  • Experience with AAV vectors or non-viral gene therapy is preferred but not required.

Key Skills, Abilities, and Competencies

  • Experience in general and advanced lab techniques such as plasmid design and construction, molecular cloning, qPCR, cell culture, ELISA, plate-based luciferase and/or enzymatic activity assays, SDS-PAGE/western blotting, etc.
  • Strong analytical skills and problem-solving capabilities.
  • Proven ability to work independently in hands-on laboratory setting, self-motivated to learn and develop new techniques, perform multiple tasks simultaneously, keep accurate records, follow instructions, and comply with company policies.
  • Excellent communication skills (both oral and written).
  • Familiar with computer software commonly used in bio/pharma industries.
  • Works with colleagues as a team player.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Strong publication record is a plus.
  • Experience managing external collaborations is a plus.

Nearest Major Market: Philadelphia

Join the Spark Team

We were born of innovation, springing from the curiosity, imagination and dedication of remarkable scientists and healthcare visionaries. Our shared mission is to challenge the inevitability of genetic disease by discovering, developing, and delivering treatments in ways unimaginable - until now.

We don't follow footsteps. We create the path.

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