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Institute Associate Scientist II - ex vivo Disease Biology

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Closing date
Aug 24, 2022

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Health Sciences
Organization Type
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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 TRACTION platform is an industrialized translational research unit that aligns world-class drug discovery and development with highly innovative science and clinical care research. Through an investment in patient-centric research, we have developed the infrastructure, platforms, and capabilities to enable transformative research, partnering with leading clinical research scientists and physicians for which MD Anderson is known. TRACTION's approach combines large scale data science, innovative cancer genetics, disruptive technologies, deep mechanistic biology, disease modeling, and pharmacology to accelerate the translation of novel discoveries.

As part of our mission, TRACTION is focused on partnering with our internal drug discovery engine (IACS, ORBIT, Biologics Development and Cell Therapies) and a growing list of external Partners (Boehringer Ingelheim, Taiho, Blueprint Medicines, Schrödinger and Obsidian) to discover and develop the next generation of small-molecule targeted therapies, antibody therapeutics and cell therapies, all driven by the needs we see in 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. This model already has achieved results, with multiple programs currently in clinical and late-stage preclinical development.

We are currently seeking a highly motivated and talented Associate Scientist II to join our Disease Biology team. The Associate Scientist II participates in cross-functional research to identify and validate novel biomarkers and patient responder hypotheses, enable disease modeling and translate these findings into testable clinical hypotheses in support of the development of novel oncology therapeutic agents designed to benefit patients.

The Associate Scientist II will join our multi-functional translational team that is focused on positioning our portfolio of advanced oncology small molecule, antibody and cell based therapeutics for clinical success. The ideal candidate will do this by applying the most innovative molecular and cell biology techniques to state-of-the-art patient derived preclinical models, leading to the identification of combinations, informative biomarkers that enable patient selection and the biology of response/resistance.

By joining the TRACTION and the Therapeutics Discovery Division, you have the opportunity to use your talents to make a direct impact on the lives of our patients. Join us, and lead our next program from concept to clinic.

1. Under moderate supervision perform tissue culture techniques to establish ex vivo oncology model systems from patient derived samples (e.g. organoids in matrigel).
2. Utilize common molecular and cell biology skills including immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence, RNAscope, single cell sequencing, etc., to characterize and biobank models.
3. In collaboration with project teams, utilize genetic and pharmacologic tools and ex vivo systems to define mechanism of biology and discover/validate biomarkers that will be used to stratify patients for clinical testing of therapeutics.
4. Interact with computational biologists, program biologists, in vivo pharmacologists, pharmacokinetic scientists, and disease expert pathologists to establish dose-response-efficacy relationships, inform on tumor biology, and evaluate combinations to inform on future clinical studies.
5. Effectively communicate program progress/issues to colleagues and contribute to project success.
6. Under minimal supervision, design, execute, document and interpret experiments.
7. Analyze, prepare, and present data in project team and other internal meetings as needed.
8. Employ safe lab practices.

Required: Bachelor's degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Enzymology, Pharmacology, Chemistry or related field.

Preferred: Master's degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Enzymology, Pharmacology, Chemistry or related field.

Required: One year of relevant research experience in lab. With preferred degree, no required experience.

1. Experience with problem solving and developing new technologies (or applying existing technologies) to biological questions.
2. The applicant should have a basic understanding of biological principles, and some experience in microscopy/imaging/flow-based methods and data analysis with either open source or vendor-specific programs.
3. Experience validating novel biomarkers and developing techniques, methods, and software.
4. Experience with advanced data analysis at both a computer station and a lab bench are highly desired.
5. Experience troubleshooting new technologies is highly desired.
6. Having a working knowledge of oncology disease processes and preclinical models is preferred but not required.
7. The position requires an accomplished, highly self-motivated individual with outstanding communication and organizational skills, and the ability to effectively present results and conclusions to co-workers, collaborators, and managers.
8. Experience independently designing and interpreting experimental results is expected, and demonstrated ability for critical thinking and problem solving is a must.
9. Ability to work well under pressure and drive personal and team objectives that impact critical timelines is expected.
10. A collaborative attitude is essential for this position.

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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