Postdoc-Postdoctoral Fellow - Developing Mass Spectrometry Imaging to Advance Distribution Studies

Lake County, Illinois
Jul 28, 2021
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
About AbbVie
AbbVie’s mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people’s lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women’s health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

The Postdoctoral Program is designed for true investigational and experimental research. The enriching training program offers a balance of structured learning and work experience which fosters a learning environment to advance individual development with accessibility to high-level knowledge building across the drug development continuum.

To be successful, we need outstanding individuals willing to challenge themselves to find the best solutions for our patients. The AbbVie Postdoctoral Program is one way we are doing just that.

Through our Postdoctoral 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. Participants in the Postdoctoral Program play an integral part in our continued success and will help us to further grow as a leader in our industry. The successful candidate will conduct novel and impactful research over a 2-3-year period.  High-impact publications and presentations at scientific meetings are expected outcomes along with the opportunity to gain valuable experience working within a top-tier biopharmaceutical company. This assignment is expected to be for two years minimally and no more than three years. 


Understanding the biodistribution, metabolism and accumulation of drugs in the body is a fundamental of pharmaceutical research and development. Most biological processes in the body, including drug interactions, deals with molecular associations and dynamic spatial redistribution of molecules. The importance of tissue distribution and quantitation is linked to many aspects of drug development including safety assessment, metabolism, drug-drug interactions, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacology.  Mass Spectrometry imaging (MSI) is a powerful tool to determine spatial distribution of compounds on tissues using the universal parameter of mass.  The method allows drugs to be distinguished from metabolites, ability to detect known and unknown compounds simultaneously, and labeling is not required as with many other imaging methods.

Drug Metabolism and Distribution group within the DMPK department utilizes MS imaging to help drive molecules to the market. The successful candidate will pursue several research initiatives that will enhance the utility of MSI for tissue distribution and understanding of safety.  One area is to increase the sensitivity of imaging by utilizing novel ion source and targeted imaging methodologies to allow projects to be investigated when analytes fall below the current limit of detection. It is also important to Identify endogenous markers in various tissues (eye, liver, kidney, heart, etc.) to provide a high confidence of assignment in tissue distribution analysis. The generation of ion atlas will broadly improve spatial specificity, accelerate biomarker discovery for drug development, and significantly increase the ability to fully investigate the molecular drivers of biological processes. In addition, large molecule imaging methods and improved protocols need to be developed for MS imaging to be more robust and routine. This would permit the distribution of ADCs, antibody, and anticancer agents to be more fully investigated by MS imaging spectrometry.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Plan, conduct, and evaluate mass spectrometry imaging experiments.
  • Utilize various imaging techniques (histology, microscopy, and MS imaging)
  • Effectively communicate research proposals and results
  • Monitor innovation and development within the field of MS imaging and analysis.
  • Leading scientific initiatives to improve MSI capabilities
  • Proactively seek out new information in the literature and incorporate this into individual project(s) as well as the overall program
  • Publish research in peer-reviewed journals and present work at scientific conferences aligned with business objectives
  • Demonstrate a high degree of responsibility in maintaining scientific standards, and safe laboratory practices for self and reporting staff, if any
  • Generate new research strategies to effectively address project needs
  • Collaborate with functional and technical experts to facilitate scientific achievement



  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, Biochemistry or another scientific area
  • Expert in mass spectrometry imaging
  • Proficient with MSI software and data mining tools
  • Broad experience in MALDI mass spectrometry imaging analysis on both small and large molecules
  • Demonstrated expert in sample preparation methods
  • Experience with liquid chromatography high resolution mass spectrometry platforms
  • Record of publication of at least two high-quality papers in a prestigious top-tier review journal(s)
  • Strong communication skills, the ability to work independently with minimal supervision in managing multiple projects and priorities and work well within a team
  • Strong presentation and written/verbal communication skills.
  • Work authorization in the United States


  • Ph.D. focused on MSI or demonstrated extensive experience in MSI
  • Skilled using Bruker FTICR mass spectrometers and data analysis systems.
  • Good understanding of biology or toxicology would be beneficial.
  • Knowledge of drug disposition principles
  • Provide three letters of recommendation from PI and members of thesis committees
  • Letter of scientific intent

Key Competencies:

  • Builds strong relationships with peers and cross functionally with partners outside of team to enable higher performance 
  • Learns fast, grasps the 'essence' and can change the course quickly where indicated
  • Raises the bar and is never satisfied with the status quo
  • Creates a learning environment, open to suggestions and experimentation for improvement
  • Embraces the ideas of others, nurtures innovation and manages innovation to reality

Significant Work Activities
Continuous sitting for prolonged periods (more than 2 consecutive hours in an 8 hour day)
Job Type
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Equal Employment Opportunity
At AbbVie, we value bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds to develop new and innovative solutions for patients. As an equal opportunity employer we do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy), physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, protected veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic.