Postdoctoral Associate, SMART CAMP (Ref: IRG_CAMP_2019_002)

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Centre

Singapore, Singapore

ID: 7058132 (Ref.No. IRG_CAMP_2019_002)
Posted: June 23, 2019
Application Deadline: July 23, 2019

Job Description

Project Overview

SMART CAMP (Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine) is a new interdisciplinary research programme in Singapore (CREATE international research campus and innovation hub) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). SMART CAMP addresses key technology bottlenecks in cell therapy manufacturing: (i) critical quality attributes of safe, effective cell therapy products; and (ii) integrated process analytics to monitor and modulate those attributes. While cell therapies are poised to transform healthcare for both the industry and the patient, there remain many outstanding scientific and technical challenges to significant global impact that this R&D programme addresses. This high-impact focus includes measurement and feedback control of processing parameters (process analytic technologies, or PAT) that contribute to cell viability and function during cell proliferation, and the measurement at intermediate and final steps of the cell product properties correlated with positive therapeutic outcomes (critical quality attributes, or CQA).

This interdisciplinary team comprises engineers, biologists, clinicians, manufacturing, and data analytics experts from multiple MIT academic units, and multiple Singapore-based universities, research centres of excellence, and hospitals who are experienced at translational demonstrations of technologies in safety-regulated industries such as cell therapies. As with all postdoctoral associates (PDAs) in SMART CAMP based in Singapore, the PDA will work in a diverse team of experts including several principal investigators (PIs) and PDAs, and receive direct mentorship regarding career development from a pair of who are based in Singapore and at MIT, respectively.

CAMP’s unique, enabling and cross-cutting capabilities include cell and clinical biology, microfluidics, real-time optics and spectroscopies, 3D-printed devices, process analytics, data analytics, and bioinformatics. This programme will demonstrate these approaches required of cell-based personalized medicine through three translational testbeds (three Flagship Projects), ultimately facilitating access for more patients to life-saving, approved cell therapies for currently intractable health challenges. These flagship projects will address allogeneic and autologous cell therapy products, including but not limited to cell sources including adult stem/progenitor cells and immune cells for treatment of specific cancers, tissue degeneration, and autoimmune diseases.

Flagship Project 1: Label-free critical quality attributes (CQA) for personalized efficacy of cell therapies, including multivariate analysis of biological and biophysical attributes

Flagship Project 2: Rapid critical quality attributes (CQA) for safety of cell sources & cell therapy products, including process analytic technologies (PAT)

Flagship Project 3: Integrated process analytic technologies (PAT) for cell proliferation and recovery, including in-line and intermittent monitoring to promote efficacy and safety CQA

Job Responsibilities

CAMP Flagship Project 1 – Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Critical Quality Attributes (MSC CQA)

• The work scope for this position will focus on therapeutic applications of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and the means for improving therapeutic efficacy through novel biophysical profiling strategies. When MSCs are expanded ex vivo for clinical use, MSC progenitors emerge and can exhibit varied biological properties (differentiation, secretome, etc.); this cell population heterogeneity can reduce efficacy for a given therapeutic target outcome, and can be correlated in some cases with biophysical properties at the single-cell level.

• We aim to investigate how underlying biochemical changes lead to appreciable biophysical changes to MSCs that may be leveraged for translational efforts. The main responsibilities of the PDA will be to generate an understanding of how and why biological properties (transcriptome, secretome, phenotypic differentiation, etc.) change with corresponding biophysical traits. The PDA will be working closely with team members who are developing cytometric and data analytics tools for making single-cell level measurements of physical cell properties and correlations of those properties possible.

• This research will contribute to an increasing appreciation of how biophysics impacts cell biology, cell population heterogeneity, and therapeutic efficacy of cells. As part of the PDA’s work to translate findings, the PDA will also interface with the greater cell therapy research and cell therapy manufacturing communities in Singapore, including other academic researchers, clinicians, good manufacturing practice (GMP) staff, and regulatory science experts.

Job Requirements

• Ph.D. degree in biological engineering, biomedical engineering, biology/life sciences or a related field is required. An interdisciplinary research background in stem cells, mesenchymal stromal cells, translational science, biophysics, mechanobiology, and/or data analytics / bioinformatics are strong assets.
• Knowledge and demonstrated skill set in MSC biology or application science, cell culture, primary tissue handling, bio/molecular assays and experimental techniques including microscopy (confocal, high-content), multi-parameter flow cytometry, qPCR/RNAseq, secretome analysis, etc.
• Experience with animal handling and experimentation in preclinical studies is strongly desired but not required.
• Able to work well and communicate ideas effectively in a multidisciplinary team of researchers with different training backgrounds.
• Good track record of publications and scientific output.
• Able and committed to work in Singapore.

To apply, please visit our website at: Interested applicants are invited to send in their full CV/resume, cover letter and list of three references (to include reference names and contact information). We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be notified.


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