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Research Scientist (Dr. Sachet Shukla's Lab)

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Closing date
Mar 21, 2023

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Health Sciences
Organization Type

Job Details

The Shukla lab is a highly translational group focused on antigen discovery and development of personalized immunotherapies. We develop computational approaches and harness state-of-the-art technologies and experimental assays to elucidate mechanisms underlying immunogenicity, immune escape and clinical outcomes to cancer immunotherapy. We are seeking highly motivated and skilled experimental biologists who will work within an interdisciplinary team comprising immunologists, oncologists and computational scientists on tumor immunity projects across cancer types.

We are recruiting an ambitious, organized and enthusiastic Research Scientist to help lead our efforts to harness single-cell sequencing, long-read sequencing and high-throughput immunological assays in order to discover novel antigenic targets and explore the effect of immunotherapies in patient samples. The Research Scientist will apply technical expertise and experience to coordinate, design, and carry out cancer research projects while following standard operating procedures for the laboratory. The candidate should have a strong foundation in immunology and an understanding of molecular/cancer biology.

The Research Scientist will provide supervision, special training to technical personnel, and/or highly technical work in medical and related research projects. The ideal candidate will be proficient in successfully replicating protocols from leading groups without supervision. The candidate will take a leadership role in building innovative high-throughput immunological and functional assays in conjunction with internal and external collaborators. The candidate will conduct experiments in the area of molecular and cellular biology of cancer and immunology, discuss goals of each project with supervisor and receive verbal and/or written instructions from the supervisor on how to conduct an assay or experiment to achieve the goals of the project. Based on these discussions and basic instructions, the candidate will develop a step-by-step written procedure of specific actions required to conduct the experiment prior to proceeding.

Dr. Shukla is deeply committed to the career growth and success of each member of the laboratory. Experimental lab members will also have access to the rich expertise, technologies and mentorship in the adjoining Molldrem lab and the institutional ECLIPSE platform where Dr. Shukla will serve as the Computational Director.

We are looking for an enthusiastic, self-motivated, independent thinker with a tremendous work ethic. The position will require great planning and organizational skills. An ability to work well with others as part of a cohesive team, take initiative, and creatively problem solve are a must.

Caring: By our words and actions we demonstrate caring toward everyone.

Integrity: We work together with professionalism to merit the trust of our colleagues and those we serve in all that we do.

Discovery: We embrace creativity and seek new knowledge from diverse perspectives.

Safety: We provide a safe environment - physically and psychologically - for our patients, for our colleagues and for our community.

Stewardship: We protect and preserve our institutional reputation and the precious resources - people, time, financial and environmental - entrusted to us.


**Personnel: Oversees workflow and lab productivity; provide and develop training; provide and receive feedback; ensure cultural continuity; lab specific on-boarding/orientation of new members; annual reviews of technical staff. **Scientific: Develop, modify and improve SOPs; provide training on specific techniques and advice on experimental design to junior lab members.
**Operational: Maintain and improve operational service; equipment service orders; safety compliance; facilities service requisitions; ensures lab compliance with MDACC and accredited agency mandatory regulations/trainings. **Financial: coordinate with grants manager and PI to monitor/plan budget; order requisitions; inventory maintenance; budget integrity; negotiate with vendors.

**Independently design experiments and interpret results. Prioritize and manage multiple experiments in a timely and resource-effective manner. Report research findings (oral and written) at internal, local and national meetings. **Use standard in vitro and ex vivo immunological techniques (e.g. primary T cell isolation/culture, flow cytometry, ELISA/MSD assays, cytotoxicity assays) along with functional genomic screens to identify and characterize immune cells and their molecular pathways that mediate responses in patients with advanced malignancies; willingness to learn new assays with new cell types (e.g. macrophages, NK cells). ** Work with standard in vitro transcription and translation kits ** Acquire training to run PacBio, MinION, 10x machines. Some procedures will require the use of hazardous and/or radioactive substrates.

Equipment, Supply Management & Laboratory Safety:
**Selects and purchases new equipment in consultation with other professional staff and maintains technical equipment for the laboratory. Manages inventory of biologics and replenishes them as needed. Orders materials for research studies as needed. ** Assists assigned PI to ensure correct practice of laboratory safety as required under institutional guidelines, including but not limited to: maintenance of safety manuals and performance of laboratory testing of equipment. Takes required training and passes annual examinations. Maintains knowledge of all safety requirements. Coordinates and shares responsibilities of laboratory maintenance and operation issues with co-workers.

Analytical Thinking - Gather relevant information systematically; break down problems into simple components; make sound decisions.

Develop Oneself - Pursue learning and self-development; actively seek feedback; transfer learning into next steps; set high standards of performance; drive for results and achievement.

Oral Communication - Express ideas clearly and concisely in groups and one-to-one conversations; create an environment with open channels of communication.

Team with Others - Initiate, develop, and manage relationships and networks; encourage collaboration and input from all team members; value the contributions of all team members; balance individual and team goals.

Service Orientation
Provide service to our stakeholders, including patients, caregivers, colleagues and each other, in a safe, courteous, accountable, efficient and innovative manner to include:
• Promoting inclusiveness and collegiality that demonstrates respect and professionalism to our stakeholders at all times
• Modeling safe, ethical behavior that mitigates risk to the institution through sound business practices, and adherence to MD Anderson's Standards of Conduct, institutional policies and procedures
• Responding to requests in a timely manner while proactively communicating expectations for procedures, service arrival, or project deliverables to stakeholders
• Using the steps to HEAL (Hear, Empathize, Address and Learn) the relationship when service recovery is needed

People Leadership
• Provides development opportunities and ongoing feedback to employees to include timely completion of administrative staff and classified employees each evaluation period.
• Provides clear direction and communication to employees within unit.
• Demonstrates cultural competence that creates an inclusive environment for the diversity represented within unit's staff.
• Manages operating expenses to budget.
• Completes required 16 hours of continuing education for people leadership skills per year.
• Complete Management Curriculum within required timeframe.

Education Required: Masters degree in one of the natural sciences or related field. Education Preferred: PhD in one of the natural sciences. Experience Required: Four years of experience in experimental or scientific work. With PhD, no experience required. With Medical degree, two years of experience in experimental or scientific work. Experience Preferred: Five years of related experience to include research work at MDACC. 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.


The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. It was named the nation's No. 1 hospital for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report's 2023 rankings. It is one of the nation's original three comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute.

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