Senior Staff Scientist-Molecular Biology

San Diego, CA
Jul 29, 2021
Biotech Beach
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
Job Type Full-time

Position Summary

The candidate will play a leadership and operational role in Molecular Biology. The candidate will lead one of several teams of Molecular Biologists with responsibilities that include the supervision of single B cell screening, library construction, phage display, and mammalian transformation technologies for therapeutic antibody discovery. Additional responsibilities include deep DNA and RNA sequence analysis as it relates to antibody affinity maturation, target validation, and mechanism of action studies. Both within the Molecular Biology research group and within interdisciplinary project groups, the candidate will provide technical and scientific advice to help solve challenging problems, speed project timelines and potentially reduce needed resources. The candidate will supervise the day-to-day and long-term goals and activities of one or more junior staff.

A key aspect of the role will be the ability to continually develop improved methodologies and introduce these into the work of the entire group, and therefore the candidate will require excellent technical and interpersonal skills. There may also be an opportunity to assume a project leadership role. In the capacity of project leader, the candidate will be responsible for generating timelines and detailed reports of results, for data analysis and archiving, and for presenting results to senior management and project teams in both oral and written formats.


Essential Functions

  • Contribute directly to Molecular Biology laboratory functions and lead a team with the following responsibilities:
  • Design and implementation of optimized antibody screening strategies from human and mouse single B cells.
  • Construction of natural, synthetic, and immunized antibody libraries for mammalian cell and phage display. 
  • Design and implementation of phage display and mammalian cell display selection strategies. 
  • Analyze and mine DNA sequences from Sanger and NGS.
  • Analyze sequence activity relationships to enable affinity maturation of antibodies.
  • Analyze RNA seq data for target validation and mechanism of action studies.
  • Provide technical oversight and leadership in vector design for mammalian display and antibody expression, library design, phage display, humanization, and affinity maturation.
  • Participate in multi-departmental research and development projects and discussions, providing scientific leadership and direction regarding activities related to molecular biology.
  • Act as an in-house expert in matters related to molecular biology and antibody engineering. 
  • Pro-actively assist others within Molecular Biology department in solving technical problems.
  • Partner with Protein Sciences and Cell Biology departments to ensure efficient antibody discovery, antibody affinity maturation, and protein production. 
  • Coordinate experiments with colleagues and project team leaders to ensure rapid achievement of objectives and overall goals.
  • Manage the day-to-day and long-term activities, objectives and performance of direct reports. 
  • Train staff in core functions as needed.
  • Stay current with the relevant scientific literature, and present and explain key concepts to colleagues.
  • Proactively use literature to investigate and recommend new instruments and/or methods, screening strategies, or project targets.
  • Implement new methods, screening, and protocols as needed.
  • Propose process improvements to the group.
  • Ensure data generated is well-controlled and interpreted appropriately. Communicate findings, conclusions and potential strategies openly and effectively to colleagues and senior management.
  • Write and review manuscripts and intellectual property documents.
  • Participate in industry conferences and seminars with occasional travel required.
  • Follow and adhere to SOP’s and laboratory safety regulations. 

Knowledge Requirements

  • Practical knowledge of phage display.
  • Extensive experience with protein expression and display vectors. 
  • Expertise in all aspects of antibody engineering, including humanization, sequence and affinity optimization, and design of multispecific antibodies.
  • Proficiency working with DNA analysis software programs such as Sequencher, DNAStar or their equivalent, and with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint). 

Personal Competencies

  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and presentation skills with interdisciplinary project teams, peers, and senior management.
  • Ability to foster positive, open relationships with internal and external collaborators.
  • Self-motivated, independent, and results-oriented.
  • Capacity to organize own work, set priorities and meet critical deadlines.
  • Team-player intensely committed to success and getting the job done well in a highly dynamic environment.
  • Ability to work effectively in a complex and changing environment.
  • Self-motivated, independent, and results oriented.
  • Ability to function in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment.
  • Ability to work independently while also willing to follow protocols.
  • Strong analytical and organizational skills.
  • Highly attentive to details. 
  • Ability to communicate clearly, and to report and present experimental results and analysis to department colleagues.
  • Effective interpersonal skills, including both written and oral communication skills.

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit and talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel. The employee is occasionally required to stand, walk, and reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 20 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision and ability to adjust focus in order to read.

This position may require occasional evening and/or weekend commitment, working with biological and/or chemical hazards, and occasional travel.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job, typically in an open office environment. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Education & Experience

  • Ph.D. molecular biology, bioengineering, or related field with post-doctoral experience specializing in protein engineering or related. 
  • 8+ years, post-doctoral, of relevant experience with a minimum of 6 years industry experience in biotech and/or pharma.
  • Extensive background in biologics high throughput screening, protein engineering, protein structure and activity relationships, antibody generation and characterization, including humanization and affinity maturation. 
  • Demonstrated experience managing molecular biologists involved in biologics discovery and protein engineering. 


All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, age, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, or other legally protected status.