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Scientist II - AAV Gene Therapy - Human Cell Types

Department: Human Cell Types

Scientist II – AAV Gene Therapy – Human Cell Types


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 a 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 with a strong background in neuroscience, models of neurological diseases, and molecular and cellular biology. We are particularly interested in scientists with strong backgrounds in genetic forms of epilepsy and intellectual disability and have experience generating therapeutic strategies to treat those disorders.

The scientist will contribute to building and validating new AAV-based therapeutics for a particular epileptic neurodevelopmental disorder. This includes experiments to understand the natural history of the disease, developing strategies to address the disease with a virus-based gene therapy approach, building and iterating on the vector design, and developing and executing assays to prove vector efficacy and safety both in vitro and in vivo. They will also be responsible for prompt and accurate reporting of data to the group and external collaborators. This individual must have a strong track record 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


  • Construction of AAV vectors using standard molecular biology techniques
  • Generate vectors using enhancers to express therapeutic transgene with optimal patterns in mice and NHPs
  • Evaluation of transgene expression in the brain using IHC, mFISH, and fluorescence microscopy
  • Establishment of in vitro assays to measure transgene function and vector potency
  • Phenotypic evaluation of mouse model(s) of human diseases using neurological and behavioral assays
  • Expert/point person on at least one disease
  • Management of a research associate
  • Rapid and transparent communication of all results
  • Ability to take on complex problems and come up with novel solutions in a timeline, milestone-driven, and team-centric environment
  • Presentation of results internally, externally and through publications
  • Coordinate with commercial partners on vector development and testing
  • Lead experimental planning and analysis efforts

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 in neurobiology, virology, or related fields; or equivalent combination of degree and experience
  • Minimum of 3 years of relevant postdoc work or research experience
  • Experience in MS Office programs and other relevant software programs (eg standard DNA sequence analysis, image analysis, etc)

Preferred Experience

  • PhD and 3 - 5 years of relevant postdoc experience in neurobiology, virology, or related fields
  • Strong experience with animal models of neurological disease, and relevant behavioral assays
  • Building, purifying, and applying AAV viruses
  • Developing AAV-based gene therapies
  • Development of biochemical assays to measure the function of transgenes
  • Electrophysiological recordings in animal models of neurological disease
  • Proficiency in brain staining and imaging using fluorescence and confocal microscopy
  • Highly motivated researcher, comfortable 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

Work Environment

  • Laboratory atmosphere - possible exposure to chemical, biological or other hazardous substances
  • Exposure and handling of laboratory animals required
  • Frequently required to sit, stand, walk, stoop, kneel or reach
  • Possible exposure to BioSafety Level 2 organisms, such as recombinant viruses

Physical Demands

  • Occasional lifting up to 30 pounds
  • Fine motor movements in fingers/hands to operate computers and other office equipment; lab equipment

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

  • This role is currently working onsite and is expected to work onsite for the majority of working hours. The primary work location for this role is 615 Westlake Ave N., with the flexibility to work remotely on a limited basis.
  • This position is funded through a sponsored research collaboration

Additional Eligibility Qualifications

  • In keeping with our focus on employee safety, all employees must be up to date with vaccinations against COVID-19 as a condition of employment unless a medical or religious accommodation is approved. All employees will be required to keep their vaccination status up to date according to CDC guidance.

Additional Comments

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


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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