Postdoctoral Associate - Immune cell biophysical CQA

Sep 08, 2019
Oct 08, 2019
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Project Overview

SMART CAMP (Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine) is a new interdisciplinary research programme in Singapore (CREATE international research campus and innovation hub) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). SMART CAMP addresses key technology bottlenecks in cell therapy manufacturing: (i) critical quality attributes of safe, effective cell therapy products; and (ii) integrated process analytics to monitor and modulate those attributes. While cell therapies are poised to transform healthcare for both the industry and the patient, there remain many outstanding scientific and technical challenges to significant global impact that this R&D programme addresses. This high-impact focus includes measurement and feedback control of processing parameters (process analytic technologies, or PAT) that contribute to cell viability and function during cell proliferation, and the measurement at intermediate and final steps of the cell product properties correlated with positive therapeutic outcomes (critical quality attributes, or CQA).

This interdisciplinary team comprises engineers, biologists, clinicians, manufacturing, and data analytics experts from multiple MIT academic units, and multiple Singapore-based universities, research centres of excellence, and hospitals who are experienced at translational demonstrations of technologies in safety-regulated industries such as cell therapies. As with all postdoctoral associates (PDAs) in SMART CAMP based in Singapore, the PDA will work in a diverse team of experts including several principal investigators (PIs) and PDAs, and receive direct mentorship regarding career development from a pair of who are based in Singapore and at MIT, respectively.

CAMP's unique, enabling and cross-cutting capabilities include cell and clinical biology, microfluidics, real-time optics and spectroscopies, 3D-printed devices, process analytics, data analytics, and bioinformatics. This programme will demonstrate these approaches required of cell-based personalized medicine through three translational testbeds (three Flagship Projects), ultimately facilitating access for more patients to life-saving, approved cell therapies for currently intractable health challenges. These flagship projects will address allogeneic and autologous cell therapy products, including but not limited to cell sources including adult stem/progenitor cells and immune cells for treatment of specific cancers, tissue degeneration, and autoimmune diseases.

Flagship Project 1: Label-free critical quality attributes (CQA) for personalized efficacy of cell therapies, including multivariate analysis of biological and biophysical attributes

Flagship Project 2: Rapid critical quality attributes (CQA) for safety of cell sources & cell therapy products, including process analytic technologies (PAT)

Flagship Project 3: Integrated process analytic technologies (PAT) for cell proliferation and recovery, including in-line and intermittent monitoring to promote efficacy and safety CQA

Job Responsibilities

CAMP Flagship Project 1 - Immune cell biophysical CQA

Immune cells including T cells are candidate therapeutics for which the donor cell source exhibits wide variation in biological and biophysical attributes. When the donor cells are modified as part of the therapeutic cell production, including genetic engineering, this underlying variation can contribute to and compound challenges with therapeutic cell homogeneity and yield of potent cells. This PDA will focus on identifying properties of T cell therapeutics that may correlate with improved efficacy or safety, and that can be determined in a rapid and label-free manner. Consideration of biophysical traits correlative with desired T cell biological traits (effector vs. memory, presence of appropriate co-stimulation) can provide CQA and increase efficacy, particularly for autologous cell therapies derived from immune cells.

CAMP will employ a multidisciplinary approach to this investigation with a focus on T-cell qualities that are not assessable with traditional flow cytometry. This is a discovery-oriented project and the PDA will lead efforts in elucidating relevant biophysical cell traits by employing a wide variety of novel cytometric tools, high-content imaging, etc. The PDA will be working closely with other team members who are developing cytometric tools to enable single-cell level measurements of physical cell properties. This research will contribute to an increasing appreciation of the need for new CQA in engineered immune cells that correlate with therapeutic outcome.

As part of the work to translate these findings, the PDA will also interface with the greater cell therapy community in Singapore, which includes other researchers, clinicians, GMP manufacturers and regulatory science experts.

Job Requirements
  • Ph.D. degree in biological engineering, biomedical engineering, biology/life sciences or a related field is required. An interdisciplinary research background in immunology, T-cell biology or translational science, biophysics, mechanobiology or bioinformatics is an asset.
  • Knowledge and demonstrated skill set in T-cell biology or application science, cell culture, primary tissue handling, bio/molecular assays and experimental techniques including microscopy (confocal, high-content), multi-parameter flow cytometry, qPCR/RNAseq, secretome analysis, etc.
  • Experience with animal handling and experimentation is desired but not required.
  • Able to work well and communicate ideas effectively in a multidisciplinary team of researchers with different training backgrounds
  • Good track record of publications and scientific output
  • Able and committed to work in Singapore

To apply, please visit our website. Interested applicants are invited to send in their full CV/resume, cover letter and list of three references (to include reference names and contact information). We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

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