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Scientist I

Employer
Vandstrom, Inc.
Location
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Salary
TBD
Closing date
Feb 21, 2024

The candidate for the Scientist I position within the protein biologics division is responsible for bringing a creative edge to the group in terms of new method development and contributing to the development of new IP. The candidate will be responsible for various aspects of design, engineering, protein expression, and purification of soluble & integral membrane proteins using the in-house fermentation set-up and contribute to the development of bioprocessing activities within the team. The candidate will collaboratively work with the Principal Scientist and other team members within the R&D team and will be responsible for aiding the implementation of R&D project plans and meeting milestones on key deliverables.

Role 1: Protein engineering and construct design

  • Use molecular biology/cloning techniques to design protein constructs which result in efficient purification schemes of soluble and membrane proteins. Use molecular modeling techniques to examine protein structures to design / engineer point mutations to increase stability, performance (activity), or yield of soluble and integral membrane proteins. Use advanced AI-based data science analysis tools to parse and interpret large data sets to perform novel De novo protein design.

Role 2: Protein expression, purification, and biochemical characterization

  • Prepare necessary raw materials in laboratory processes e.g., buffers, solvents, media, etc. Perform batch or fed-batch fermentation to express soluble and integral membrane proteins on a small and large scale. Perform pilot/microscale experiments to find conditions to improve protein expression, stability, and yield with downstream processes in mind. Use established SOPs to independently carry out protein expression and purification processes for downstream biochemical and biophysical analysis such as SDS and Blue native PAGE, DLS, UV-Vis spectroscopy, fluorescence imaging and confocal LSM. Work closely with the Bioprocessing team in advancing strain development efforts.

Role 3: Protein structural biology

  • Contribute to structural biology efforts such as X-ray crystallography, single particle cryoTEM, or triple-resonance NMR to decipher protein structure at high resolution. Develop and implement new strategies to characterize conformational dynamics and stability of membrane proteins in nanoparticles such as liposomes, polymersomes, and GUVs. Use high-performance computing to perform all-atom explicit solvent and coarse-grained MD simulations of protein/bilayer complexes. Use and or develop new strategies to analyze structural, MD simulation, and molecular modeling data using computer programming languages such as Python.

Role 4: Data analysis, training, and reporting

  • Be responsible for documentation and reporting of technical progress and results in the form of detailed reports, presentations and in E-lab notebooks. Be responsible for training and managing activities of lab technicians and research associates as needed. Prepare new SOPs capturing the workflow of new processes being developed within the protein biologics department. Be accountable for project deliverables and communicate status and other related information to management and project team members. Be focused on details and efficiency in the laboratory as well as having an interdisciplinary approach to the tasks at hand while exercising good laboratory practice. Collaboratively work with team members within the Protein group and from other groups within the R&D division to provide research plans, perform and analyze additional experiments and present the results to the department and / or the R&D team. Participate in the general upkeep and maintenance of the laboratory facilities and equipment according to OSHA standards. Perform periodic literature searches to be aware of new cutting-edge technology within the field of interest to the group. Participate in conferences and stay engaged with the wider protein science community in both industry and academia to network and showcase Vandstrom’s scientific advances in protein sciences. Contribute to writing scientific manuscripts for publication.

Requirements:

  • BS/MS (graduate degree preferred) degree in Life Sciences, e.g., Biochemistry, Biophysics, or Molecular Biophysics Minimum of 4-5 years of experience working in an industrial biotechnology research laboratory (preferred) or academia on integral membrane protein engineering and design Knowledge and experience with integral membrane protein expression systems and aseptic techniques  Experience with site-directed mutagenesis and plasmid/construct design. Experience with a wide range of analytical tools and techniques for use in laboratory, incl. FPLC, HPLC, Stopped-Flow, DLS, microscopy, NMR, TEM, etc.    Experience with large-scale bacterial fermentation is required. Knowledge of fitting software and other advanced software packages such as Origin, MATLAB, etc. Excellent analytical skills  Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment, work short cycle times and flexible hours if required, and deliver results under pressure.  Good communication and teamwork skills.  Ability to work independently and proactively in a fast-paced and collaborative environment. Self-motivated and able to handle multiple challenging targets with flexibility in adjusting priorities for project support. Familiarity with protein structural biology Experience with Bioinformatics based multiple sequence alignment and protein molecular modeling (homology modeling) tools such as ROBETTA, AlphaFold (DeepMind), MODELLER, UCSF Chimera, PyMOL, Schrodinger, etc Familiarity with Molecular dynamics simulations using an array of forcefields. A natural curiosity and interest in new technology and ground-breaking scientific developments  US work permit 

Additional Qualifications:

  • Experience with protein structure determination using X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, or single-particle Cryo-EM would be a plus. Familiarity with the use of Artificial intelligence and Machine learning / Deep learning-based algorithms to create mathematical models and simulations using high-performance computing would be a plus Familiarity with Linux OS and computer programming languages for data mining (such as R or Python) would be a plus Good general IT skills, incl. knowledge of MS Office / SharePoint and other standard software packages.

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