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Director, Research

Scientific Programs | San Francisco, Ca | Full Time

Job Description

Overview of the Role

The Director, Research is both a strategic and tactical role providing guidance and ensures execution across the field of Immuno-Oncology and implements specific, approved collaborations and programs.  This position will expand PICI’s overall strategic approach to include new cutting edge technological areas with a potential for impactful advances in IO therapies.  In addition, this position will be central in the development of a new laboratory facility for the Institute, including the capacity for both GMP manufacturing for cellular therapies as well as research activities. 


Reporting Structure and Team

The Director of Research reports to the VP of Research and is a key member of the Scientific Programs team.


Essential Job Functions

  • Evaluate new and developing technologies in multiple scientific fields, with a focus on interdisciplinary solutions in support of PICI’s effort in adoptive cellular therapy, including:
    • Next-generation cellular production techniques
    • Non-viral gene delivery technologies
    • Gene editing
    • Protein engineering for payload composition
    • TME manipulation
  • Provide specific guidance and direction to the build-out of a new, 50-75,000 square foot laboratory.  This will include:
    • Guidance on technical solutions for multiple laboratory functions
    • Assist in selection of appropriate instrumentation and/or automation as appropriate
    • Develop an effective working relationship with external experts/consultants, particularly in the area of GMP requirements
    • Liason between various parties to maintain effective communication
  • As time permits:
    • Provide technical awareness, scientific leadership, and ensure state-of-the-art competency within I/O area.
    • Collaboration with PICI clinical project teams to ensure appropriate trial design and mechanistic assay implementation.
    • Use personal network to contribute to the identification of new project opportunities from external partners in academia or the biotech industry.
    • Participate in the evaluation of new project opportunities presented by Member Researchers and external partners.
    • Actively review patents and patent applications in areas of research relevance and identify opportunities.
    • In compliance with the research strategy, and in collaboration with the project teams, identify and expand external research contacts.
    • Ensure appropriate scientific representation at external scientific meetings, conferences, etc.
    • Participation in setting direction and evaluating drugs and technologies in support of the Institute’s focus areas, which include:
      • Adoptive Cell Therapies
        • Target Discovery and Validation
        • Gene regulation
        • CMC processes
      • Checkpoint blockade
        • Next-generation inhibitory receptors
        • Mechanistic analyses of responses
        • Rational combination therapies
      • Antigen Discovery and Vaccine development
        • Neoantigen pipeline validation
        • Approaches to shared antigen discovery
        • Vaccine technologies
      • Characterization and modification of the TME
        • Novel technologies to understand the role of the TME
        • Characterization and control of the metabolism associated with the tumor microenvironment


Knowledge, Skills, and Experience

  • PhD in Immunology or an associated area and at least 10 years of relevant work experience or a Master’s degree and 15 years of relevant work experience
  • Some industry or biotech experience is strongly preferred
  • Broad, detailed understanding of field that has resulted in a solid track record of generating critical data, innovations of tangible benefit to research programs, and/or initiation of projects/programs
  • Solid technical background with understanding and hands-on experience with immunology or related research techniques
  • Visible contributor to external scientific community through patents, publications, invited talks, and/or collaborations
  • Innovative approach in both scientific research and in problem solving
  • Ability to influence, lead and manage conflict
  • Ability to adapt to changes
  • Ability to handle stress and work on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Excellent client-facing and internal communication skills, both written and verbal


Introduction to the Organization

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (“PICI” or the “Parker Institute”) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate the development of immunological cures for cancer through innovative science, advanced technologies and new modes of research collaboration.  The Institute is based in San Francisco, California and officially launched in April 2016.

To achieve its mission, PICI has established significant new cancer immunology research centers at six of the top cancer research and treatment institutions in the country (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford Medicine, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of California, San Francisco, the University of Pennsylvania and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center), and will organize and support a portfolio of advanced, collaborative research efforts across this consortium.