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Scientist I - AAV Gene Therapy - NHP Biodistribution Lead

Department: Human Cell Types
Location: Seattle

Scientist I – AAV Gene Therapy – NHP Biodistribution Lead


The mission of the Allen Institute is to unlock the complexities of bioscience and advance our knowledge to improve human health. Using an open science, multi-scale, team-oriented approach, the Allen Institute focuses on accelerating foundational research, developing standards and models, and cultivating new ideas to make a broad, transformational impact on science.

The mission of the Allen Institute for Brain Science is to accelerate the understanding of how the human brain works in health and disease. Using a big science approach, we generate useful public resources, drive technological and analytical advances, and discover fundamental brain properties through integration of experiments, modeling, and theory.

We are seeking an exceptionally creative and motivated Scientist to join the gene therapy program at the Allen Institute for Brain Science.  This program aims to develop and test new therapeutic AAVs to treat brain disorders including severe forms of epilepsy and other neurodevelopmental diseases using a novel AAV-based cell type-specific expression system. We are seeking a scientist to lead our efforts in establishing an end-to-end platform for comprehensive vector and payload biodistribution analysis in non-human primates (NHP) in service of multiple distinct AAV gene therapy programs and disease indications at the Institute. NHP biodistribution studies represent a critical juncture in preclinical testing and are essential to demonstrate safe delivery of therapeutic payloads and for rigorous validation of cell type-specific gene expression or modulation in target brain cell types. In this role, the Scientist will function as part of a multidisciplinary team and is expected to work collaboratively to formulate NHP study designs and interface directly with WA National Primate Research Center (WANPRC) staff to manage multiple projects each with unique requirements. The Scientist hire will be responsible for meeting ambitious goals and milestones, as well as regular reporting of progress to the group and external collaborators in the form of both written and oral presentations. This individual must have a strong track record with relevant expertise and be excited by the prospect of joining a team-science environment at the Allen Institute for Brain Science to help develop new gene therapies for brain diseases.

The Allen Institute believes that team science significantly benefits from the participation of diverse voices, experiences, and backgrounds. High-quality science can only be produced when it includes different perspectives. We are committed to increasing diversity across every team and encourage people from all backgrounds to apply for this role.

Essential Functions

  • Oversee NHP study design and tissue collection and processing
  • Establish a data tracking and management system for NHP biodistribution studies
  • Evaluate therapeutic transgene expression in CNS and non-CNS tissues using IHC, qPCR, mFISH, and/or fluorescence microscopy
  • Evaluate biodistribution following different routes of vector administration in NHP animals
  • Management and training of Research Associates
  • Take on complex problems and come up with novel solutions in a timeline, milestone-driven, and team-centric environment
  • Rapid and transparent communication of all results
  • Presentation of results internally, externally, and through publications
  • Assist with data wrangling to support Intellectual Property filings and IP portfolio development
  • Serve as point-of-contact with the WA National Primate Research Center

Note: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. This description reflects management’s assignment of essential functions; it does not proscribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned.

Required Education and Experience

  • PhD or equivalent combination of degree and experience in neurobiology, neuroanatomy, comparative biology, or related fields
  • Knowledge of primate neuroanatomy
  • Proficiency in standard histological techniques, preferably using primate brain tissue
  • Experience with serial sectioning of live or fixed brain tissue or other biological specimens
  • Experience in MS Office programs and other relevant software programs (e.g. standard image analysis software etc.)

Preferred Education and Experience

  • PhD and 3-5 years experience in neurobiology, neuroanatomy, comparative biology, translational neuroscience, or related fields
  • Proficiency in qPCR or other quantitative methods for DNA/RNA detection in bulk tissue
  • Familiarity with AAV vectors and dosing of animals by different routes of administration
  • Experience with slide-based imaging using brightfield, epifluorescence, and confocal microscopy
  • Experience independently solving problems and establishing new procedures and processes
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Experience leading projects, designing research projects, and mentoring others
  • Strong publication record and consistent performance

Work Environment

  • Laboratory atmosphere - possible exposure to chemical, biological or other hazardous substances
  • Exposure to and handling of live and fixed NHP tissues required
  • Possible exposure to BioSafety Level 2 materials, such as recombinant viruses
  • Exposure risk for bloodborne pathogens, e.g. Simian B virus

Physical Demands

  • Occasional lifting to 30 pounds
  • Fine motor movements in fingers/hands to operate computers and other office equipment; lab equipment
  • Frequently required to sit, stand, walk, stoop, kneel or reach

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

  • This position is funded through a sponsored research collaboration
  • This role is currently working onsite and remotely when possible, due to COVID-19 and our focus on employee safety. We continue to evaluate the safest options for our employees

Additional Comments

  • **Please note, this opportunity offers work visa sponsorship and relocation assistance**


It is the policy of the Allen Institute to provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, the Allen Institute will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.





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