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Director, Nucleic Acid Chemistry and Novel Guide Synthesis

Moderna, Inc.
Cambridge, MA
Start date
Mar 24, 2023

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Science/R&D, Chemistry
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
Genetown, Best Places to Work

Job Details

The Role:

As part of our vision, Moderna is committed to invest in R&D to further expand our impact on patients. We are building an independent research and business unit for genomic medicines, called Moderna Genomics (mGx) based in Technology Square, Cambridge, MA.mGx will be an innovation engine for the company focused on discovering and delivering the next generation of in vivo gene editing and nonviral gene therapies and our ultimate vision is to personalize Gene Editing for n=1 diseases.

mGx seeks an entrepreneurial, curious, intellectually agile, and mission-driven leader with domain expertise in nucleic acid chemistry and biochemistry to develop and optimize mGxs gene editing medicines.The successful candidate will leverage his/her/their expertise in modified nucleic acid chemistry, RNA/DNA structure biology, and synthesis of large oligonucleotides to generate the novel guide nucleic acid components to improve specificity, accuracy and potency of mGxs novel CRISPR based gene editing systems.Industry experience in solid phase synthesis and biochemical modification of nucleic acids is required. Demonstrated ability to think creatively and collaborate cross-functionally to drive innovative science is a must.This role will have the opportunity to make an impact through establishing key RNA engineering pipelines and biochemical assays for mGx gene editing efforts and contributing to building the team and culture for this new initiative.

Heres What Youll Do:

  • Lead a team to synthesize, purify, structurally characterize, and analyze newly designed oligonucleotide components of novel CRSIPR based gene editing systems

  • Lead collaboration with Platform Research and external partners to discover and optimize manufacturing methods of novel large oligonucleotides to generate chemically modified guide RNA system to improve the performance of Modernas proprietary gene editing systems, including next generation gene editing systems to correct mutations

  • Cross-functionally contribute to innovate the design of RNA-based gene editor components to maximize cellular potency and safety with biochemists, gene editing experts, enzymologists, and computational biologists.

  • Collaborate to all functional stakeholders to conduct experiments to create and build our internal knowledge foundation of the molecular mechanisms of novel guide components to enable future rule-based guide design and selection.

  • Establish and document processes for chemical manufacture of oligonucleotides with line of sight to scalable GxP manufacture

  • Manage CROs and support external collaboration activities

  • Clearly communicate conclusions to internal and/or external stakeholders

Heres What Youll Bring to the Table:

  • A Ph.D. in Nucleic Acid Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, or equivalent field

  • Significant expertise in large oligonucleotide synthesis, nucleic acids biochemistry and engineering, RNA biology, and the use and manipulation of chemically modified oligonucleotides.

  • Experience with gene editing and in vitro RNA biochemistry assays is preferred.

  • Demonstrate strong leadership capability in a multi-disciplinary organization

  • Ability to communicate complex scientific issues in a logical and coherent manner

  • Ability to work on multiple projects in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.

  • Ability to work independently and collaborate effectively in a cross-functional team

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 winter shut down
    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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Cambridge, MA

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