Director, Protein Sciences

94608, Emeryville
Sep 25, 2021
Required Education
Position Type
Full time

The Director, Protein Sciences reports directly to the Senior Vice President, Antibody Discovery and is responsible for leading, expanding and developing our Protein Sciences team supporting our ongoing antibody discovery efforts.  This will involve leveraging our proprietary Ab Initio antigen design process to produce high quality validated reagents for immunization and screening purposes, as well as for structural biology. The ideal candidate will bring a deep knowledge in protein biochemistry and molecular modeling, and a track record of building and mentoring teams.

Ligand’s OmniAb platform provides partners access to the world’s most advanced antibody repertoires and screening technologies to enable unparalleled discovery of next-generation therapeutic leads. At heart of the platform are proprietary transgenic animal assets, including OmniRat, OmniChicken and OmniMouse, each capable of generating high quality fully human antibodies that have been optimized naturally through in vivo affinity maturation. OmniFlic (transgenic rat) and OmniClic (transgenic chicken) address bispecific applications though a common light chain approach, and OmniTaur features unique structural attributes of cow antibodies to target cryptic epitopes. OmniAb animals comprise the most diverse host systems available in the industry; they are optimally leveraged through proprietary antigen design and immunization methods, followed by high-throughput microfluidic-based single B cell screening, and computational analysis of NGS data sets to identify antibodies with superior performance and developability characteristics.

Essentials for Working at Ligand    •    Ligand is a dynamic, fast-paced organization committed to creating shareholder value and addressing unmet medical needs through developing and acquiring cutting-edge, royalty-bearing technologies and establishing research collaborations that make major life-saving global drugs possible.  To be successful at Ligand, employees must be innovative, efficient, versatile, self-starters who take great pride in their work and want to contribute to something significant.

Essential Role Responsibilities

  • Work with project teams to coordinate protein needs of early and mid-stage projects; serving as technical expert for protein engineering and protein sciences in order to support multiple Antibody Discovery projects
  • Manage the Protein Sciences team by providing leadership, effectively prioritizing and organizing workload, and providing mentorship to team members, which include RAs and Associate Scientists.
  • Antigen design using computational models for stabilizing mutations and loop grafting
  • Design, express, purify and functionally validate mg scale preparations of native-conformation wild-type or conformationally stabilized integral membrane proteins
  • Protein expression of recombinant proteins and antibodies in multiple expression systems (mammalian, insect, E.coli)
  • Perform small (~1-L) to mid-scale (~30-L) protein production runs using various platforms
  • Protein purification using a variety of methods including affinity, ion exchange, size-exclusion chromatography.
  • Biophysical characterization of proteins using SDS-PAGE, SEC, DLS, and SPR/BLI-based methods.
  • Troubleshoot and optimize protein expression and purification strategies, perform complex experiments with strong attention to detail and documentation.
  • Maintain a workflow for protein production and an inventory of reagents.
  • Manage CRO activities (DNA synthesis, plasmid generation, protein production and purification) and identify CROs for analytical methods as needed (LC-MS/peptide mapping etc).
  • Develop and execute experimental plans in timelines to meet program and corporate research objectives

Non-essential Role Responsibilities Include

  • Travel and present at major conferences
  • Cross functional interaction with other business units
  • Promote and support company culture and initiatives
  • Other duties as required

Experience and Skills


Minimum Requirements

  • PhD in biochemistry, biophysics, molecular and cell biology, structural biology or similar, with at least 7+ years of relevant research experience in an industrial setting.
  • Deep knowledge of protein design, expression, and purification of integral membrane proteins.
  • Experience with purified protein validation assays including radioligand binding, transporter assays or similar techniques
  • Experience with membrane protein structural biology, protein structure visualization and modelling software suites
  • Demonstrated excellence at leading external contract research activities.
  • Familiarity with lab scale mammalian cell, E.coli, yeast, and insect cell expression systems.
  • Expertise in protein biochemistry and molecular biology skills designing plasmid constructs for recombinant protein expression with demonstrated experience troubleshooting protein expression and protein purification methods.
  • The candidate must have extensive hands-on experience in using automated purification techniques including AKTA systems, analytical methods i.e. SEC-MALS, DLS, MS, DSF, etc. and be able to troubleshoot problems.
  • Experience with SPR/BLI-based methods for biophysical characterization of proteins is a plus.
  • Proven ability to provide leadership to technical level staff
  • Excellent written and oral communication with cross-disciplinary teams and with external parties.



  • The company offers competitive benefits including medical, dental, vision, Short/Long term disability and life insurance, as well as 401(k) match, Stock Options, Bonus, and paid time leave

Additional Information


  • All new hires are required to go through a background and reference check
  • Ligand is an EEO/AA/Disability/Vets employer
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the US without sponsorship
  • Ligand celebrates the diversity of life and welcomes all individuals to apply