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Principal Scientist, Cancer Vaccines Research

Moderna, Inc.
Cambridge, MA
Start date
Mar 21, 2023

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Science/R&D, Biotechnology, Immunology, Oncology
Required Education
Masters Degree/MBA
Position Type
Full time
Genetown, Best Places to Work

Job Details

The Role:

Moderna is dedicated to maximizing the impact of our cancer vaccine platform on human health. We are seeking talented and motivated scientists with experience in immuno-oncology research to support advancement of current and new cancer vaccine programs. The successful candidate will take a lead role in driving preclinical research efforts to advance next generation cancer vaccines and concepts, as well as support clinical stage programs. Scientists will have the opportunity to progress our Personalized Cancer Vaccine (PCV), Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine (TCV; encoding antigens common in broad patient populations) and/or Cancer Vaccine Platform Research initiatives. Research areas of interest include immune-oncology, vaccinology, immunology, cancer biology and dendritic and T cell biology. This role requires scientific rigor, critical thinking, flexibility, multitasking, technical expertise and the ability to bring new impactful techniques and ideas to advance our mission. Applicants should be highly collaborative team players, excellent communicators and have a demonstrable track record of independent research accomplishments, ideally linked to positively impacting human health.

Heres What Youll Do:

  • Identify and prioritize new target antigens and vaccine concepts to advance into discovery and through pre-clinical development

  • Develop, optimize and validate cell-based assays to evaluate various mRNA vaccines/therapeutics

  • Provide justification for rational vaccine combinations with mRNA-based approaches as well as with standards of care and other emerging therapies primarily through generation of appropriate pre-clinical data

  • Evaluate potential changes considered for our cancer vaccine platform including advancements in vaccine manufacturing, format and antigen choice

  • Develop new approaches to optimize the generation of our vaccines, from antigen selection and sample collection to profiling of unique muteomes

  • Generate data and provide justification for optimized dose, schedule, and treatment sequencing

  • Analyze human and murine immune cells and responses, including co-culture assays of dendritic and T cells, via flow cytometry, ELISpot, and ELISA; assist new assay development and technological advancements to query vaccine function and effectiveness

  • Deliver reproducible and impactful results under ambitious timelines

  • Faithfully document scientific work

  • Contribute to reports, regulatory submissions and presentations

Heres What Youll Bring to the Table:

  • Ph.D. in a biological science or with at least 5 years of experience or M.S. with equivalent experience

  • Strong background in immune-oncology, vaccinology and/or immunology

  • Demonstrated ability to independently design and execute experimental plans for a preclinical drug development program

  • Expertise in multi-parameter flow cytometry

  • Expertise in cell-based assays (e.g. co-culture functional assays, multi-color flow cytometry, live cell imaging, ELISA, cell sorting, etc.)

  • Experience phenotyping murine, NHP and human immune cells

  • Experience executing primary immune cell assays and mechanism of action studies

  • Experience with biodistribution, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic analysis using biochemical and flow cytometry assays

  • Nucleic acid quantification expertise:

    • Isolation of nucleic acids from cultured cells and harvested tissue

    • Quantification via qPCR, other formats such as bDNA-based approaches

  • Protein quantification expertise:

    • Isolation of protein lysates from cultured cells and harvested tissue

    • Protein quantification via Western, ELISA, MSD, Luminex-based assays

  • Tissue/cell culture expertise:

    • Cell passaging, archiving, transfection and cell-based functional assays

    • Primary cell isolation and culture, particularly with hematopoietic cells

  • Capability to anticipate and recognize potential issues within experimental designs and effectively communicate alternatives

  • Ability to manage multiple projects, prioritize work and meet tight deadlines

  • Candidate will embrace our core values. You will be curious in exploring new paths for drug discovery, bold in proposing creative experimental designs and ideas. Will work collaboratively with multifunctional teams and will be relentless in pursuing successful outcomes that will expand the impact of our cancer vaccines on patients.

Moderna is pleased to provide you and your family with a comprehensive and innovative suite of benefits, including:

  • Highly competitive and inclusive medical, dental and vision coverage options
  • Flexible Spending Accounts for medical expenses and dependent care expenses
  • Lifestyle Spending Account funds to help you engage in personal enrichment and self-care activities
  • Family care benefits, including subsidized back-up care options and on-demand tutoring
  • Free premium access to fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness classes
  • Exclusive preferred pricing on Peloton fitness equipment
  • Adoption and family-planning benefits
  • Dedicated care coordination support for our LGBTQ+ community
  • Generous paid time off, including:
    Vacation, sick time and holidays
    Volunteer time to participate within your community
    Discretionary year-end shutdown
    Paid sabbatical after 5 years; every 3 years thereafter
  • Generous Paid Leave offerings, including 18 weeks of 100% paid parental leave for all new parents
  • 401k match and Financial Planning tools
  • Moderna-paid Life, LTD and STD insurance coverages, as well as voluntary benefit options
  • Complimentary concierge service including home services research, travel booking, and entertainment requests
  • Free parking or subsidized commuter passes
  • Location-specific perks and extras!

Candidates should be aware that Moderna currently maintains a policy requiring all US-based employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and receive a booster shot once eligible. Newly hired employees must be vaccinated and boosted prior to their employment start date. Moderna is an equal opportunity employer and will provide a reasonable accommodation to those unable to be vaccinated or receive a booster where it is not an undue hardship to the company to do so as provided under federal, state, and local law.

About Moderna

In over 10 years since its inception, Moderna has transformed from a research-stage company advancing programs in the field of messenger RNA (mRNA), to an enterprise with a diverse clinical portfolio of vaccines and therapeutics across seven modalities, a broad intellectual property portfolio in areas including mRNA and lipid nanoparticle formulation, and an integrated manufacturing plant that allows for rapid clinical and commercial production at scale. Moderna maintains alliances with a broad range of domestic and overseas government and commercial collaborators, which has allowed for the pursuit of both groundbreaking science and rapid scaling of manufacturing. Most recently, Moderna's capabilities have come together to allow the authorized use and approval of one of the earliest and most effective vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moderna's mRNA platform builds on continuous advances in basic and applied mRNA science, delivery technology and manufacturing, and has allowed the development of therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, cardiovascular diseases and autoimmune diseases. Moderna has been named a top biopharmaceutical employer by Science for the past seven years. To learn more, visit

Moderna is a smoke-free, alcohol-free and drug-free work environment.

Moderna is committed to equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination for all employees and qualified applicants without regard to a persons race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation or any characteristic protected under applicable law. Moderna will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities, in accordance with applicable law.




Moderna is advancing messenger RNA (mRNA) science to create a new class of transformative medicines for patients. Moderna’s platform builds on continuous advances in basic and applied mRNA science, delivery technology and manufacturing, providing the Company the capability to pursue in parallel a robust pipeline of new development candidates. Moderna is developing therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases and cardiovascular diseases, independently and with strategic collaborators.

mRNA is now a turning point in the history of science, medicine, technology, even humankind itself. With this breakthrough discovery, many of the world’s biggest and most challenging medical problems are no longer a question of “how?” but merely a question of “when?”

Come with us as we pursue the uncharted reaches of possibility and make your mark on the future of medicine.


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