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Senior Scientist Molecular and Cellular Biology

ONK Therapeutics
San Diego County, California, US
Closing date
Sep 29, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Sustainability, Biology
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time

ONK Therapeutics is an innovative cell therapy company dedicated to the development of best-in-class, off-the-shelf/allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) natural killer (NK) cell therapies for patients suffering from both hematologic and solid tumors. The company's innovative approach to CAR therapy harnesses the innate biology of NK cells, whose function is further optimized through additional genetic engineering of the cells to improve their cytotoxicity and their function, even in the hostile tumor micro-environment.

We are seeking a talented and enthusiastic senior scientist for our San Diego site to provide support to specific cell therapy programs. They will be responsible for participating in developing strategies, techniques, and approaches in support of consolidating current NK cell therapy programs and developing next generation ideas and products. Experience with novel cellular technologies, in vivo evaluation of modalities in an oncology setting and experience with approaches for gene editing is important. The senior scientist will help drive and provide leadership in company efforts to develop next-generation chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) based NK cellular therapies to support company pipelines. The senior scientist will help optimize and select lead CAR designs to enhance NK cell functions in-vitro and contribute to design of in-vivo CAR-NK experiments.

Company Purpose

Pioneering optimally engineered NK cell therapies to cure patients with cancer

Company Values

Innovative and pioneering, driven by leading-edge science and an unwavering desire to address meaningful unmet patient need

Ambitious and nimble, focused on driving a differentiated and opportunistic strategy to secure a leadership position in the NK cell therapy space

Financially astute, making smart decisions to ensure corporate sustainability

People-centric, with an approach that embraces diversity, and promotes teamwork and well-being through a collaborative, trusting, respectful company culture

Responsible and accountable, anchored in the ethos that we do the right things right and that we all accept clear accountability for our actions

Essential Functions
  • Member of scientific research team
  • Contribute to the establishment of laboratory capability and laboratory systems.
  • Provide input into developing research work plan and associated experiments.
  • Develop, execute, and document strategies for isolating and modifying primary NK cells.
  • Demonstrate exceptional skills at handling NK cells.
  • Has cell culture experience that includes handling of primary cells and cell lines
  • Highly proficient in molecular and cell biology
  • Experience with oncology-targeting experiments in mice models or ability to pick these up rapidly.
  • Capability to work with nucleic acid constructs and modification of effector lymphocytes.
  • Lead development of next generation CAR products and optimization of CAR design, constructs and related engineering
  • Other duties as required, in line with a start-up biotechnology environment, maximum flexibility is essential.

Education/Experience Requirements
  • PhD in immunology and molecular biology with 5 years of experience with at least 2-3 years in industry environment

  • Master's degree with at least 8 years of experience, preferably in an industry environment in one of the following disciplines: cancer cellular therapy, cancer immunology, immunology, or related field.
  • Prior experience with cellular therapies is important.
  • Experience of working with NK cells, including isolation, culture, differentiation/activation, cell transfection and transduction is desirable.
  • Thorough understanding of CAR based cell therapy; a working knowledge of CAR engineering and both in vitro and in vivo cell therapy assays is preferred
  • Previous experience in NK or CAR-T based cancer therapy is essential
  • Proficient in immune phenotyping of cultured immune cells using multi-color FACs and Flow-based data analysis

Required Competencies - Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
  • Experience in different techniques used in immunology and cancer cell biology for characterizing native and modified lymphocytes for product development
  • Experience in CRISPR gene editing, CAR engineering, plasmid design preferred
  • Ability to maintain cell lines, establishment of stable cell lines
  • Experience with microplate absorbance-based assays (ELISA, bioluminescent assays)
  • Experience in extracellular and intracellular flow cytometry staining desirable (10+ fluorophores)
  • Hands-on experience with isolation, and culturing of lymphocytes from various sources
  • Experience with PCR, qPCR, DNA and RNA isolation, protein purification, SDS PAGE, western blot
  • Ability to supervise junior staff
  • Ability to lead project, propose research ideas and planning experiments
  • Well organized and have a good record of data, using electronic lab notebook (ELN)
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Excel, Word), Flowjo, Snapgene, Lasergene, GraphPad Prism
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, with ability to present data at meetings

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