Postdoctoral Associate, SMART CAMP (Ref: IRG_CAMP_2019_007)

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

Singapore, Singapore

ID: 7058208
Posted: June 27, 2019
Application Deadline: July 26, 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 – Multivariate biophysical cell analysis instrumentation

A key approach to isolating cells of potent and predictive efficacy for cell therapy products is microfluidics-based instrumentation that separates or sorts cells in a label-free manner; the term label-free implies that the cells are not modified with antibody labelling or other perturbations, so that the sorted cells can be used directly as the therapeutic product. This PDA will contribute microfluidic engineering and instrumentation development for cell-based biological and biophysical analysis of candidate critical quality attributes (CQA). The PDA will focus on developing platform technologies for CQA of expanded adult stem or progenitor cells (e.g., from mesenchymal stromal cell or MSC sources or from peripheral blood mononuclear cell or PBMC sources) that help define potent cell therapy products.

The primary job duties include:

• Develop and validate the capability of characterizing multiple biophysical CQAs (at least two potential bioelectrical and biomechanical phenotypes) in a single high-throughput, label-free monitoring process.
• Develop a new instrumentation of high-throughput, multimodal biophysical cytometry.
• Develop customized algorithms for data analytics to improve the accuracy and robustness of the multimodal biophysical cytometry.
• Work with other members of the team to validate the multimodal biophysical cytometry for quantifying the CQA of MSCs and PBMC cells in a clinical setting.

Job Requirements

• Ph.D. degree in biological/biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or other relevant engineering degree
• Strong hands-on ability to carry out experimental engineering / instrumentation
• Proven track record in the field of microfluidics and/or microfabrication
• Priority will be given to candidates who have experience with biophysical phenotyping of single biological cells
• Creativity to solve challenging technical problems with uncertainty
• Good communication skills to work with researchers from biological / clinical backgrounds
• Good writing skills in preparing reports, conference and journal publications
• 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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