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Principal Institute Research Scientist Medicinal Chemistry

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Closing date
Apr 27, 2024

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Health Sciences
Organization Type

Job Details

This Institute Principal Research Scientist (Medicinal Chemistry) will lead cross-functional research to discover lead molecules for progression into novel oncology therapeutic agents that benefit patients. They will be a highly creative synthetic chemist with a strong desire to succeed at the highest level. They will be responsible for the design, optimization and synthetic execution of small molecule targets from hits to leads, as well as leadership/management of junior scientists and project teams towards those goals. By liaising with other members of the cross-functional project team, this individual will play a key role in the identification and optimization of the next generation of cancer therapeutics.


Know your business
* Apply and develop cutting-edge medicinal chemistry tools and methodologies to enable advancement of Institute projects through leadership and experimental activities.
* Analyze data generated by various studies and leverage results for the design of future target molecules.
* Collaborate with data scientists to triage high-throughput screening results and identify promising hits using cheminformatics techniques (e.g. clustering, physicochemical property prediction)
* Apply chemistry-based data analytics software to identify early-SAR trends, track series progressibility, and design/optimize focused libraries
* Apply state of the art chemistry skills to optimize molecules from diverse hit-finding exercises to enable progression of programs into lead optimization. Leverage latest synthetic approaches, parallel medicinal chemistry and purification techniques.
* Adapt to new technologies and find solutions to related program studies.
* Lead in the design and synthesis of small molecule modulators of protein targets through lab-based activities.
* Lead in the hypothesis generation and design of new target molecules with improved overall profile.
* Work closely with medicinal chemists, computational chemists and other project team members in the design and optimization of compounds with improved potency, selectivity, and functional activity on their protein target, together with improved ADME properties.
* Trouble shoot synthetic issues with their synthetic targets, as well as those of other project team members.
* Manage patent filings in order to secure the intellectual property rights for novel small molecules.
* Employ safe lab practices.
* Maintain research records and laboratory notes.

Know the business of your department/institute
* Interact across functions.
* Employ safe lab practices.
* Maintain research records and laboratory notes.
* Self-adaptability: Work in situations involving uncertainty, shifting priorities, and rapid change; deal constructively with mistakes and setbacks; demonstrate flexibility.

Change Agent
* Adapt to new technologies and find solutions to related program studies.

Other duties as assigned


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

Innovative Thinking - Approach problems with curiosity and open-mindedness; offer new ideas, solutions and/or options.

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

Self-Confidence - Recognize own knowledge, skills, and abilities; respond to challenging situations with confidence; understand limits in self.

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.

Technical/Functional Expertise - Demonstrate technical proficiency required to do the job; possess up-to-date knowledge in the profession; provide technical expertise to others.

Service Orientation
Provide service to our customers, including patients, patient caregivers, referring physicians and each other, in a reliable, responsive, safe, friendly and courteous manner.
* Promote inclusiveness and collegiality by demonstrating respect and professionalism to others at all times.
* Model safe, ethical behavior, mitigating risk to the institution through sound business practices, and adherence to MD Anderson's Standards of Conduct, institutional policies and procedures.
* Meet time and attendance expectations and responds to requests in a timely manner, communicating expectations for procedures, service arrival, or project deliverables to patients and coworkers.
* Admit when wrong, apologize and take steps to resolve a situation to help patients and coworkers before being asked.

Onsite Presence: Is Required



Hazardous Chemicals and Materials

Frequent 34-66%





Frequent 34-66%
Occasionally 11-33%
Constant 67-100%
Occasionally 11-33%
Occasionally 11-33%
Occasionally 11-33%
Frequent 34-66%

5-10 lbs
5-10 lbs


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

Required: Five years experience of relevant research experience in lab.

Preferred: The ideal candidate will have a PhD in Organic Chemistry, postdoctoral experience in organic synthesis and 10-15 years of experience working in biopharma company medicinal chemistry labs. Strong knowledge of contemporary synthetic organic chemistry, with a demonstrated track record of creative independent problem-solving. Strong familiarity with the latest hit-finding techniques, included DNA-encoded libraries, fragment screening and affinity-selection mass spectrometry methods, with demonstrated success moving hits into lead optimization. Skilled experimentalist with demonstrated ability to conduct challenging multi-step organic chemistry synthesis and overcome synthetic hurdles, trained in various purification and analytical techniques. Strong publication record in peer reviewed journals. Familiarity with automated and computational chemistry, including datamining software. Experience mentoring and managing chemists and leading hit-to-lead exercises, as well as knowledge of the drug discovery process, is required. Excellent oral and written communication skills and organizational skills are a must. Familiarity with relevant biological disciplines and ability to integrate knowledge from these areas into the design of new bioactive compounds.

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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