Postdoc - Postdoctoral Research Fellow - : Longitudinal biodistribution studies of therapeutics admi

Lake County, IL, US
Oct 09, 2019
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world's most complex and serious diseases. Together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pharmacyclics, AbbVie employs more than 29,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries. At AbbVie, our vision is to be recognized as a biopharmaceutical company delivering a consistent stream of innovative medicines that solve serious health issues and have a remarkable impact on people's lives.

To be successful, we need outstanding individuals willing to challenge themselves to find the best solutions for our patients. The AbbVie Postdoc program is one way we are doing just that. Through our Postdoc program, we are hiring postdocs from key academic institutions for preferred areas of science in the U.S., while providing a unique opportunity for participants to build a solid career foundation in the pharmaceutical industry while building the AbbVie brand as an employer of choice for scientific talent. The program offers a balance of structured learning and work experience, with accessibility to high-level knowledge building across the drug development continuum to help participants understand how everything fits together and is put into practice. It also provides them with a chance to establish working relationships with some of the world's most respected scientists and leaders in the industry. Participants in the Postdoc program play an integral part in our continued success and will help us to further grow as a leader in our industry. This assignment will be for minimally for two years and not to exceed three years.


There is renewed interest in direct delivery of drugs to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as a result of a growing body of scientific knowledge on the anatomical features governing CSF circulation. This comes at a time when modalities such as small proteins, exosomes and viral vectors offer increased potential to overcome natural barriers to CSF solute penetration into brain tissues and when computational models enable the rational design of intra-CSF infusion regimens capable of overcoming rapid clearance from the subarachnoid space.

An ideal future state is one where obstacles to biodistribution across the brain are overcome through a wide range of options to reduce pipeline risks associated with deficient transport to the target. One option is to harness the circulation of the CSF via intrathecal infusions.

Scientific Focus:

The following focus areas provide an initial framework for the postdoctoral program. The management team will seek to strike a suitable balance between predictability to achieve deliverables and freedom on the part of the postdoc to exploit unexpected opportunities.

Focus 1. Biodistribution profiles acquired from positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of radiolabeled proteins with heterogeneous distribution in normal nonhuman primate (NHP) brain will be used to experimentally determine, and model, intra-CSF parameters required to reach predefined central nervous system (CNS) targets, thus allowing the distinction between unbound and target-bound proteins. Pharmacokinetic (PK) profiles of radiolabeled proteins following intravenous and intra-CSF administration will be compared for monospecific antibodies and corresponding bispecific antibodies also targeting a receptor mediated transcytosis (RMT) shuttle.

Focus 2. The postdoc will develop an experimental design to examine the interplay between the physicochemical properties of radiolabeled proteins of varying molecular weight and brain concentrations in anatomical structures known to potentially limit the transport kinetics of CSF solutes. The protein size may span the range from antisense oligonucleotides to antibody drug conjugates. The outcome measures may include PK data from experimental methods, such as imaging, micro-dialysis, blood sampling, CSF sampling and brain sampling. Various animal models and different types of radiolabeling techniques will be available.

Focus 3. The scientific knowledge from focus areas 1 and 2 will be applied to examine the biodistribution of AbbVie preclinical pipeline assets.

Candidate Responsibilities:
  • Designing biodistribution studies in the CNS of animals ranging in size from rodents to NHPs
  • Coordinating and assisting in the execution of the above studies
  • Generating PK models using data from quantitative image analysis
  • Analyzing the above information to ascertain the benefits and limitations of intra-CFS drug delivery for reaching targets in deep brain tissues

    Postdoc Outcome :

    By operating within an existing cross-functional infrastructure and being able to delegate very specialized tasks, the candidate will benefit from:
  • Generating data relatively quickly, a substantial subset of which will be publishable
  • Gaining exposure to a broad range of disciplines (Biomedical Imaging, Comparative Medicine, DMPK, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacology)
  • Building experience with cutting edge experimental techniques and modeling approaches
  • Gaining familiarity with a broad range of drug delivery modalities to the brain, a dynamic field of research across the pharmaceutical industry

By managing a complex scientific program, the candidate will:
  • Acquire valuable skills in project management
  • Sharpen innovative problem-solving abilities
  • Be empowered to create a large network of subject matter experts
  • Sharpen communication skills, both oral and written
  • Build a foundation on which to manage research groups

Basic Qualifications:
  • Successful completion and defense of a PhD in Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Science, Neurobiology, Bioengineering, Biomedical Imaging, Veterinary Medicine. Minimum graduate school GPA 3.0; 3.5 preferred. Graduate of accredited and internationally ranked university
  • Research background in neuropharmacology and pharmacokinetics
  • "Hands on" in vivo experience working with preclinical models
  • Record of publication in a peer-reviewed journal(s)
  • Excellent problem-solving skills including critical and analytical thinking.
  • Excellent communication, leadership, and project management skills. Demonstrated scientific writing skills and strong verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to independently design and execute experiments, interpret data, and identify appropriate follow-up strategies
  • Proven track record of teamwork, adaptability, innovation, initiative, and integrity. Global mindset to thrive in a diverse culture and environment
  • Ability to multitask and work within timelines
  • US work authorization
  • Three letters of recommendation

    Preferred Qualifications:
  • Research background in Neuroscience
  • Research background in advanced Biomedical Imaging

Key Leadership Competencies:
  • Builds strong relationships with peers and cross functionally with partners outside of the immediate team to enable higher performance
  • Learns fast and can change course quickly where indicated
  • Raises the bar and is never satisfied with the status quo
  • Creates a learning environment, open to suggestions and experimentation to drive the science in the field of interest
  • Embraces the ideas of others, nurtures innovation and manages innovation to reality

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