Institute Senior Research Scientist - Cell Pharmacology

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Closing date
Dec 8, 2022

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Health Sciences
Organization Type
The mission of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is to eliminate cancer in Texas, the nation and the world through outstanding programs that integrate patient care, research and prevention, and through education for undergraduate and graduate students, trainees, professionals, employees and the public.

MD Anderson is known for providing cancer patients with exceptional care, which includes early access to innovative new treatments through clinical trials. The Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS) is a new hybrid model that uniquely combines the drug discovery capabilities of the biopharmaceutical industry and the extensive knowledge of biology found in academia with the expertise of MD Anderson's top clinicians. IACS has the singular goal of rapidly developing novel, effective and safe therapeutics that improve patient health. IACS executes programs with the highest probability of clinical success in a rigorous, goal-oriented, data-driven manner.

The Institute Research Senior Scientist, Cell Pharmacology, will participate in cross-functional research to advance the small molecule oncology drug discovery programs. By liaising with other members of cross-functional drug discovery teams, including medicinal chemistry, in vitro pharmacology and biology experts, this individual will be a key contributor to the identification and optimization of the next generation of cancer therapeutics. He/She will plan, coordinate and supervise the implementation and execution of state-of-the-art technologies to validate, optimize and implement physiologically relevant cellular systems to support IACS drug discovery programs. This individual will lead the development and implementation of advanced cell-based assays to support IACS' drug discovery programs. Such assays will range in complexity from 2D-monolayers to multi-cellular 3D systems, organoids, and ex vivo tissue slices. These will be used to fully characterize preclinical development candidates, and to support the translational development path for IACS' assets.


1. Drive scientific and technical innovations to enhance cellular pharmacology capability in support of IACS' drug discovery programs. Coordinate the implementation of cutting-edge methodologies to develop advanced cell-based assays to characterize mechanisms of drug action, correlate cellular responses to signaling pathway modulation, and actively contribute to the hypothesis generation. Demonstrate broad knowledge and technical expertise in cell pharmacology and bioanalytical method development and execution.
2. Lead the efforts to develop and implement cellular systems (2D, 3D, and multi-cellular) to validate hypothesis, predict response to anti-cancer drugs, and explore drug and/or immune therapy combinations.
3. Maintain a high level of professional expertise, and demonstrate hands-on experience with culture of tumor derived organoids, ex-vivo cultures of tumor slice (EVOC: ex-vivo organ culture), as well as other complex cellular systems technologies.
4. Supervise, coordinate, and execute ex-vivo tumor culture systems for functional drug testing and therapy response prediction using tissue slices. Perform assays using multiple platforms, analyze data, monitor assay quality, troubleshoot, and release data to project team groups.
5. Supervise, cross-train and assist team members to maintain the group's high productivity and mitigate risk.
6. Keep up with the scientific literature and actively participate in the project team meetings.
7. Work closely with project teams to conduct cell pharmacology assays, write reports and other documents in support of regulatory filings (i.e. IND filings).
8. Work with collaborators and contract research organizations to execute, acquire, transfer and validate cell based assays.
9. Maintain a detailed and well-organized notebook.
10. Ensure data integrity and compliance under MD Anderson policies.
11. Employ safe lab practices.


1. Self-Motivation (Transitional): Set high standards of performance; pursue goals with energy and persistence; drive for results and achievement.

* Demonstrate a personal sense of urgency in getting results. Use personal and management standards to complete assignments.
* Seek to influence standards with proven business practices. Improve own performance by making specific changes in system or work methods.

2. Self-Adaptability (Transitional): Work in situations involving uncertainty, shifting priorities, and rapid change; deal constructively with mistakes and setbacks; demonstrate flexibility.

* Help coworkers with tasks as necessary. Smoothly handle multiple demands, shifting priorities and rapid change. Persist despite obstacles.
* Change own immediate behavior or approach to suit the situation. Remain open-minded and adjust approach on basis of new information.

3. Technical/Functional Expertise (Independent Contributor): Demonstrate technical proficiency required to do the job; possess up-to-date knowledge in the profession; provide technical expertise to others.
* Apply basic technical/functional knowledge to complete work. Meet essential position requirements.
* Seek experiences and knowledge in technical/functional areas to gain additional expertise. Troubleshoot systems/processes effectively.

4. Analytical Thinking (Transitional): Gather relevant information systematically; break down problems into simple components; make sound decisions.

* Identify relationships among a few parts of a problem. Scan own knowledge and experience base to determine potential solutions.
* See multiple relationships among several parts of a problem. Recognize likely causes of events or consequences of actions. Use data from multiple sources to support assumptions.

5. Team with Others (Independent Contributor): Encourage collaboration and input from all team members; value the contributions of all team members, and those beyond team; balance individual and team goals.
* Support and show respect to team members. Recognize how individual actions affect the team.
* Model team qualities, i.e. respect helpfulness and coping. Support team decisions once they are made and help to implement.

Working Conditions

Office environment

This position requires:

Working in Office Environment


__X_ Yes

Working in Patient Care Unit (e.g. Nursing unit; outpatient clinic)

_X_ No

____ Yes

Exposure to human/animal blood, body fluids, or tissues


__ _ Yes

Exposure to harmful chemicals


___ Yes

Exposure to radiation

_X_ No

____ Yes

Physical Demands

Indicate the time required to do each of the following physical demands:

Time Spent














Up to 10 lbs

10lbs to 50 lbs

More than 50 lbs


Up to 10 lbs

10lbs to 50 lbs

More than 50 lbs

Use computer/keyboard

Required: Master's degree in Biology, Biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, enzymology, pharmacology, chemistry or related field.

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

Required: Eight years experience of relevant research experience in lab. With preferred degree, three years of required experience.

Preferred: Relevant industrial experience within the pharmaceutical or biotech industry or equivalent, or post-doc training.

The ideal candidate will have a PhD in relevant field (cell biology, pharmacology, or cancer biology), post-doctoral experience in related area, and drug discovery experience acquired within the pharmaceutical or biotech industry or equivalent. Hands-on experience with cell based assay development, validation, and implementation. Tissue culture (cell/co-cultures/organoid) protocols, tissue slice preparation experience. Expertise in signal transduction pathways, immunocytochemistry and/or immunohistochemistry (ICC/IHC) staining, flow cytometry, Nanostring, qRT-PCR, Western-blot, ELISA, AlphaLisa technologies is highly desirable. Experience in mentoring other scientists. Must be a team player, respectful of others, and have strong interpersonal and communication skills. Motivated, take initiative, and have the ability to work independently and effectively in a highly dynamic, fast-paced environment.

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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