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Brain Cancer Research Scientist

Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research
Frederick, MD
Start date
Nov 7, 2022

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Science/R&D, Biotechnology, Immunology, Neuroscience
Required Education
Bachelors Degree
Position Type
Full time
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Job Details

Brain Cancer Research Scientist

Job ID: req3134
Employee Type: exempt full-time
Division: Applied & Development Research Program
Facility: Frederick: Ft Detrick
Location: PO Box B, Frederick, MD 21702 USA

The Frederick National Laboratory is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and operated by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc.  The lab addresses some of the most urgent and intractable problems in the biomedical sciences in cancer and AIDS, drug development and first-in-human clinical trials, applications of nanotechnology in medicine, and rapid response to emerging threats of infectious diseases.

Accountability, Compassion, Collaboration, Dedication, Integrity and Versatility; it's the FNL way.

The Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNL) is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and operated by the prime contractor Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. The FNL is responsible for pursuing a unique mission in translational and applied biomedical research that is unsuitable for academia, the pharmaceutical industry, or other federal contractors.  This open position is ideally suited for a scientist who is more interested in applied Research & Development to solve complex scientific problems and answer difficult technical questions than in pursuing basic research knowledge or academic scholarship.

The selected candidate will join the Clinical Pharmacodynamic Biomarkers (CPB) Program at the NCI-Frederick campus, and will fill a position that reports to the principal scientist who directs the brain cancer research program.  The CPB program investigates mechanisms of action of anticancer drugs using validated, non-diagnostic yet clinical-grade assays that measure biomarker responses indicative of their molecular effects (pharmacodynamics).  This position is for an entry level staff scientist who will contribute to the investigation of the underlying pharmacology of therapeutic success or failure of brain cancer treatments and to the design of new, potentially more effective therapeutic regimens that can be developed with a precision oncology approach. The Brain Cancer Research Scientist will use existing as well as develop new pharmacodynamic biomarker assays to analyze molecular drug action in clinically-relevant laboratory models (orthotopic xenografted human brain tumors in mice, genetically engineered mouse models harboring various human genetic predispositions, ex vivo organospheres/organoids) and in clinical trial specimens.  The biomarkers are assessed with validated, clinically suitable laboratory assays that utilize best available technologies, such as multiplex/high-plex immunofluorescence microscopy and multiplex sandwich immunoassays.  Specifically, this position will use validated pharmacodynamic biomarker assays of cancer drug mechanisms of action to determine why standard of care treatment regimens are only marginally effective, how genomic abnormalities – including loss of function genetic changes - drive resistance to standard of care treatment, and how to exploit those abnormalities with new, break-through therapies that will be more effective brain cancer treatments.  The pharmacological analyses are expected to lead to discovery of new therapeutic approaches for these difficult-to-treat diseases.  If pharmacological discoveries from this R&D project warrant it, the position will also contribute to the analysis of patient specimens from translational Phase 0 and Phase 1 clinical trials designed to confirm (or not) that the new treatment paradigms work as intended at the molecular/biochemical level in patients with brain cancers. 


  •  Become proficient in the conduct of existing clinical pharmacodynamic biomarker assays
  • Assess drug mechanism of action in small animal laboratory models of human brain cancer using pharmacodynamic biomarker assays to analyze tumor specimens
  • Develop validated, fit-for-purpose, clinically suitable pharmacodynamic biomarker assays for drug mechanisms of action that are not evaluable with the current portfolio of pharmacodynamic biomarker assays
  • Utilize experimental results to design new therapeutic regimens for molecularly-defined subsets of brain cancers
  • Working in close communication with clinicians and translational biomedical scientists as an active research team member, contribute to the design of preclinical studies and Phase 0/Phase 1 clinical trials that evaluate the new therapeutic regimens
  • Prepare data sets, tables and figures for internal presentations and for manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals
  • Write manuscripts that result from the associated experiments and research
  • Present results at seminars and scientific meetings


To be considered for this position, you must minimally meet the knowledge, skills, and abilities listed below:

  •  Possession of a doctoral degree (e.g., D.V.M., M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.) from an accredited college or university (according to CHEA) in a field related to biomedical research (e.g., biochemistry, molecular/tumor biology, pharmacology, etc.).  Foreign degrees will be evaluated for U.S. equivalency
  • In addition to education requirement, a minimum of 2-5 years of related experience required
  • Post-doctoral fellowship that exemplifies independent, competent, and insightful research
  • Experience with experimentation in laboratory models of human brain cancer
  • Expertise in Microsoft Office Suite (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook) as well as data analysis, data visualization, and graphing software
  • Effective communications skills, both oral and written
  • Excellent scientific writing skills and experience preparing scientific manuscripts
  • Excellent analytical, organizational and time management skills


Candidates with these desired skills will be given preferential consideration:

  •  Experience assessing drug mechanism of action in laboratory models of human brain cancer
  • Experience assessing pharmacological properties of cancer drugs in laboratory models of human cancer
  • Experience with biomarker assay method development, validation, and/or clinical implementation


  • This position is subject to working with or have potential for exposure to animal(s) and/or animal material(s)
  • This position is subject to working with or have potential for exposure to infectious material, requiring medical clearance and immunizations

Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE) | Minority/Female/Disabled/Veteran (M/F/D/V) | Drug Free Workplace (DFW)



A rewarding career with global impact

Whether you’re an expert in your field or just starting out, we have a career opportunity for you. We’re always looking for people to join us in fulfilling the mission of the Frederick National Laboratory: discovery, innovation, and success in the biomedical sciences.

Our team of 2,400+ scientists, technicians, administrators, and support staff work at the forefront of basic, translational, and preclinical science, with a focus on cancer, AIDS, and other infectious diseases.

We collaborate with colleagues across the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and others throughout the National Institutes of Health. We also engage with extramural investigators in academia, government and industry.

Your path to joining our team begins with the desire to work for the only national laboratory dedicated to biomedical research. Our employees share a common desire to help make a difference in cancer research and public health concerns. As you search for a career that fits your education, skills, and abilities, explore the core values that guide us and emphasize work-life balance.

Discover why joining the Frederick National Laboratory team could be the most important career step you take



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