Senior Scientist, Antisense Drug Discovery

Carlsbad, CA
Jun 11, 2018
Biotech Beach
Required Education
Masters Degree/MBA
Position Type
Full time

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., located in the North San Diego County city of Carlsbad, was founded in 1989 to create advanced, novel medicines to treat diseases with an unmet medical need. We are the pioneer and leader in the discovery and development of antisense drugs. By exploiting various cutting-edge RNA targeting technologies, we are capable of specifically and efficiently targeting any gene of interest, including ones which are not targetable by small molecules or antibodies. We currently have three approved drugs, and a robust pipeline of over 30 drugs in various stages of clinical trials.

Ionis is a challenging, motivating and rewarding environment designed to foster innovation and scientific excellence. Our success is a direct result of our outstanding employees. We are interested in bringing together individuals with different skill sets into this creative environment to be part of a productive team. Join us and experience our unique culture while you develop and expand your career.


Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a leader in antisense oligonucleotide research and drug discovery, seeks a Senior Scientist (M.S./Ph.D.) in the field of Neurobiology to join the Antisense Lead Identification team. In this position, the successful candidate will work as a member of a small group responsible for in vitro assay development and screening and characterization of antisense inhibitors against novel gene targets. We are seeking an enthusiastic and motivated candidate who is looking to work in an intense, highly-matrixed and rewarding team environment. The ideal candidate will have experience researching, developing and characterizing novel cell models using primary cells and stem cells.


o Research, development, optimization and troubleshooting of methods to screen and characterize antisense oligonucleotides and RNA transcripts, with a strong emphasis on neuronal targets. Specific work includes:

o The culture, maintenance, differentiation and adaptation of various mammalian primary and immortalized cell culture systems, with an emphasis on neuronal cultures.

o Culture, differentiation, validation and use of induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells in antisense oligo screening and characterization studies.

o Apply molecular and cell based assays such as RNA purification, gene expression analysis (RT-qPCR & high throughput sequencing), fluorescence immunocytochemistry and other RNA assays.

o Completing the screening and confirmation of antisense oligonucleotides using automated liquid handling instrumentation.

o Exploratory research work on mechanisms of antisense oligonucleotide technology.

o Conceive, plan and execute basic scientific experiments to further characterize the mechanism(s) of target modulation.


o Master’s degree or neurobiology or biology with demonstrated experience in the neurobiology field.

o Minimum of 3 years’ experience working in an academic or industrial laboratory setting.

o Extensive experience and demonstrated expertise in mammalian cell culture is essential.

o The candidate must have experience with primary (rodent) cell isolation and culture. Pertinent cell types include, but are not limited to, primary neurons, cardiomyocytes, PTCs, podocytes, and macrophages.

o Ideal candidate should have experience in stem cell biology and assay development. This includes routine maintenance of IPS cells, expansion and banking of both feeder dependent and independent IPS cells.

o Ideal candidate must be able to develop IPS derived neuronal models.

o Strong molecular biology skills.

o Ability to work occasional (and sometimes frequent) weekend hours as projects demand.

o Demonstration of ability to interpret complex experimental results and troubleshoot technical problems independently.

o Demonstrate ability to reproduce and adapt published and established protocols with minimal supervision.

o Prior experience with automated instrumentation/liquid handling or compound screening is desirable.

o Experience working with high throughput sequencing a plus.

o Exceptional attention to detail.

o Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

o An ability to be productive and successful in a very demanding and intense work environment.

Excellent salary and benefits package offered.

Please visit our website,, for more information about Ionis.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and all its subsidiaries are proud to be EEO employers