Institute Associate Scientist II - Reverse Translation

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Closing date
May 31, 2022

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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 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 Reverse Translation group. With the deployment of advanced analytics, the group leverages unprecedented large-scale data science to provide insights and hypotheses that are rapidly functionally validated. We combine disruptive technologies and disease modelling to guide highly innovative science that leads to novel therapeutics, drug repurposing, novel combination or biomarker strategies that are quickly evaluated in the clinic. With this systematic, rapid and industrialize reverse translation engine, we accelerate the discovery of transformative therapies and fuel prospective clinical trials to change standard-of-care (SOC) for unmet medical needs.

The Associate Scientist II will be a key team member in the organization supporting research efforts to advance projects from target validation through preclinical development to clinical proof-of-concept studies, working closely with the data science team.

Building on our unique model of drug discovery, the Research Associate II will participate in cross-functional research to validate new target hypotheses, and position drug candidates for clinical success.
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, conducts laboratory experiments to enable advancement of discovery projects.

2. Assists in the development and timely follows research workplans to address specific experimental questions.

3. Works with the team members to assist in the application of functional genomics approaches to enable systematic investigation of novel vulnerabilities and drug resistance mechanisms.

4. Under moderate supervision, executes mechanistic and functional biochemical and/or cell-based studies for evaluating novel therapeutic targets and troubleshoots issues.

5. Performs common tissue culture techniques including viral transduction and DNA/siRNA transfection to generate stable cell lines.

6. Under moderate supervision, executes target validation and mechanism of action studies using genetic (e.g. RNAi, CRISPR-Cas9, cDNAs) and pharmacological (e.g. small molecule inhibitors or antibodies) approaches.

7. Utilizes functional (i.e. soft agar, migration, invasion, proliferation, etc.) cell bases assays.

8. Contributes to in vivo model development and perform analysis of in vivo samples for evaluation of target biology and assessment of pharmacodynamic and response biomarkers.

9. Utilizes common molecular and cell biology techniques including Western, immunoprecipitation, ELISA, RNA quantification methods (Q-PCR), live imaging, immunofluorescence, flow cytometry.

10. Participates on cross-functional project teams to present research findings, report issues and contribute to the development of solutions to facilitate data driven decisions on program advancement.

11. Collects data, performs baseline analysis, documents and summarizes findings.

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.

Preferred: Relevant research, industry R&D experience is preferred.

1. Experience with common tissue culture techniques including viral transduction and DNA/siRNA transfection to generate stable cell lines.
2. Experience utilizing molecular and cell biology techniques (i.e., Western, immunoprecipitation, ELISA, RNA quantification methods (Q-PCR), Immunofluorescence, live imaging, flow cytometry, etc.) and/or functional (i.e., soft agar, migration, invasion, proliferation, etc.) cell-based assays.
3. Experience using pharmacological approaches for target validation and mechanism of action studies is preferred.
4. Experience designing experiments and interpreting results; demonstrated ability for critical thinking, troubleshooting and problem solving.
5. Demonstrated ability to follow research plans and timelines.
6. Experience working in highly matrixed organization; a collaborative attitude is essential for this position.
7. Ability to work well under pressure and drive projects that impact critical timelines is essential.
8. Employ safe lab practices and maintain research records and laboratory notes is essential.

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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