Postdoctoral Associate - CRISPR-based adventitious agent detection

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 2 - CRISPR-based adventitious agent detection

One of the key challenges in deploying cell therapies lies in the analytical assays needed to confirm that they are safe for administration. CAMP will develop assays to detect bacterial and viral contaminants in cell therapy products, including new technologies for rapid, sensitive, and specific diagnostics to detect microbial and viral contaminants. This PDA will use synthetic biology technologies to build and optimize detection enabled by gene editing, with the goal of integrating the technologies into state-of-the-art manufacturing workflows for cell therapies. The researcher will:
  • Lead the development of a highly specific and sensitive diagnostics platform for detection of bacterial and viral contaminants
  • Improve sensor performance through protein engineering and assay optimization
  • Coordinate validation of detection platform with other research and clinical PDAs in CAMP or its collaborators
  • Integrate the detection platform with other tests developed as part of the SMART CAMP research program
  • Be responsible for writing and presenting reports and publications related to these efforts

Job Requirements
  • Ph.D. degree with a background in the Biological Sciences, Biological Engineering, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, or related fields
  • Significant experience in molecular biology, microbiology, and assay development. A strong background in experimental biological research is a must.
  • Experience in protein purification, protein engineering, enzyme assays, bioinformatics, and genome editing would be helpful
  • Excellent verbal and written communication in English
  • Self-motivated, independent, with superior organizational and analytical skills
  • Able to work well and communicate ideas effectively in a multidisciplinary team of researchers with different training backgrounds
  • Good track record of publication 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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