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Black in Neuro: Scientist II – AAV Gene Therapy – Therapeutic Lead

Department: Human Cell Types

Black in Neuro: Scientist II  – AAV Gene Therapy – Therapeutic 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 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 generating therapeutic strategies to treat those disorders.

The scientist will lead efforts to build and validate new AAV-based therapeutics for a particular epileptic neurodevelopmental disorder. This scientist will be the intellectual lead for this disease and will be expected to become a domain expert for current state of the art in that field. They will lead therapeutic AAV design and construction, establishing cell-culture based and in vivo assays to measure a functional response to the vectors and establishing efficacy. This scientist will also lead experiments to establish vector safety and biodistribution. 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.

This requisition is intended for Black In Neuro members and networks.

Essential Functions

  • Construction of AAV vectors using standard molecular techniques
  • Evaluation of expression in brain using IHC, mFISH, and fluorescence microscopy
  • Evaluation of biodistribution of AAV vectors
  • Phenotypic evaluation of animal model(s) of human neurological diseases, possibly including EEG
  • Act as expert/point person on certain disease indications
  • Management of 1-2 direct reports, providing work direction and support as needed
  • 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
  • Provide presentations 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 and 3 years experience in neurobiology, virology, or related fields; or equivalent combination of degree and experience
  • Experience in MS Office programs and other relevant software programs (eg standard DNA sequence analysis, image analysis, etc)

Preferred Education and Experience

  • PhD and 5-7 years experience in neurobiology, virology, or related fields
  • Strong experience with animal models of neurological disease
  • Building, purifying, and applying AAV viruses
  • Developing AAV-based gene therapies
  • Biodistribution analysis of AAVs
  • Electrophysiological recordings in animal models of neurological disease
  • EEG in mouse models of epilepsy
  • Multiplexed FISH or IHC in brain tissue
  • 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

  • Exposure and handling of laboratory animals required
  • Frequently required to sit, stand, walk, stoop, kneel or reach
  • Laboratory atmosphere - possible exposure to chemical, biological, or other hazardous substances including possible exposure to BioSafety Level 2 organisms, such as recombinant viruses.  This may include wearing personnel protective equipment (PPE) - including wearing respiratory protection for long periods of time

Physical Demands

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

Position Type

  • 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
  • This position is funded through a sponsored research collaboration
  • We are a Washington State employer, and the primary work location for all Allen Institute employees is 615 Westlake Ave N.; any remote work must be performed in Washington State.

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 and may offer 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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