Postdoctoral Fellow

Irvine, California
Jun 04, 2022
Required Education
Masters Degree/MBA
Position Type
Full time

Introduction (Program Overview)

The Postdoctoral Program is designed for true investigational and experimental research. Participants will be mentored by renowned industry scientists and collaborators at AbbVie and focused on delivering cutting-edge advancements in Discovery, Development Sciences, and BioPharma. This enriching training program offers a balance of structured learning and work experience which fosters a learning environment to advance individual development and offers accessibility to high-level knowledge-building across the drug development continuum.

To be successful in our goals as an organization, 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.

You will be a technical expert who will investigate, identify, develop, and optimize new methods / techniques to address critical project needs. AbbVie Postdoctoral Fellows continuously seek to improve existing laboratory methods and processes, read and adapt literature to accomplish assignments, and demonstrate mastery of a broad range of experimental techniques and methods of data analysis.

We are seeking scientists from key academic institutions within preferred areas of science in the U.S. to provide 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. This assignment is expected to last 2-4 years, though exceptions may be made for certain postdoctoral assignments.


Role Overview

The Postdoc will join the team engaged in the research of mechanisms of degradation of pharmaceutical proteins, and in the development of novel approaches for stabilization of biopharmaceutical products. The project aims to understand relationships between water clustering patterns and rates of protein degradation (deamidation, oxidation, and aggregation),  and to explore role of protein cold denaturation in long-term (in)stability of liquid and freeze-dried dosage forms. The proposed investigation will combine computer molecular dynamics simulations with experimental studies using an array of spectroscopic and biophysical methods (e.g., FTIR spectroscopy and nanoDSC) and various mass spectrometric techniques  (e.g., HDX-MS, Covalent Labelling MS, Peptide Mapping). The fundamental understanding of water role as a catalyst of deamidation and oxidation reactions, and thermodynamic stability of the native state of protein molecules against both heat and cold denaturation would be used to explore novel approaches to design stable biopharmaceutical products.

While the postdoctoral associate position is based in Irvine, CA, members of the postdoctoral committee represent three Abbvie sites (Irvine, CA; Worchester, MA; Ludwigshafen, Germany).  In addition, the postdoc will also be advised by a Professor from a US University.  Together, the studies proposed here will provide ample opportunities for a postdoctoral associate to develop a unique skill set suitable for both industrial and academic careers. .


Key Responsibilities:

  • Generate new research strategies to effectively address the Postdoc project needs as necessary
  • Collaborate with functional and technical experts to facilitate scientific achievement
  • Utilize existing or develop novel experimental and computational techniques to characterize water clustering patterns in both aqueous solutions and freeze-dried materials
  • Design and execute experiments to study thermodynamic stability of model pharmaceutical proteins covering both thermal unfolding and cold denaturation
  • Design and perform studies of stability of model proteins and peptides in liquid and freeze-dried dosage forms, and use the data to test hypothesis on relationships between water clustering, protein higher-order structure, and long-term stability of biopharmaceuticals
  • 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

Basic qualifications:

  • Successful completion and defense of a PhD in basic science (chemical engineering, physical pharmacy, physical chemistry, biophysics)  
  • Extensive experience in spectroscopic, biophysical, and/or chromatography techniques
  • Demonstrate scientific initiative and creativity in research or development activities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to resolve key project hurdles and assumptions by effectively utilizing available information and technical expertise.
  • Demonstrate the ability to independently design and execute experiments, interpret data, and identify appropriate follow-up strategies.
  • Excellent communication, leadership, and project management skills.
  • Demonstrated scientific writing skills and strong verbal communication skills.
  • 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.
  • Record of publication in prestigious journal (s).
  • Work authorization in the U.S.
  • Three letters of recommendation (including one from the Thesis Advisor)
  • Letter of intent to pursue Postdoc   

Preferred additional qualifications:

  • 1-3 years Postdoc experience in the fields of chemical engineering, physical pharmacy, physical chemistry, biophysics, from an accredited and nationally ranked University
  • Sound knowledge of Protein Chemistry (Fundamentals in thermodynamics, Unfolding reactions and theoretic aspects of molecular interactions) is a plus
  • Familiarity with molecular dynamics simulations

Key Leadership 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 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 to reality