Postdoctoral Associate, SMART CAMP (Ref: IRG_CAMP_2019_017)

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

Singapore, Singapore

ID: 7058252
Posted: June 29, 2019
Application Deadline: July 29, 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 3 – Computational imaging and instrumentation for monitoring of cell morphology and adherent cell proliferation

Process analytic technologies (PAT) for cell therapy manufacturing must be accessible to or integrated with the culture vessels in which the cells are expanded to sufficient cell number and quality. When the critical quality attribute (CQA) of cells can be correlated with cell morphology and proliferation rate or extent, optics are among the key technology enablers for rapid monitoring and process analytics. This PDA will contribute to development of imaging modalities that can be integrated into cell culture platforms ranging from instrumented T-flasks to microfluidic bioreactors. Optical design and instrumentation to characterize the morphology of individual cells and cell aggregates will be utilized along with computational tools for image synthesis and analysis in these microenvironments. CAMP will pilot this technology for real-time monitoring and control of mesenchymal stromal cell culture in a cell therapy manufacturing setting.

• Development of optical instrumentation utilizing computational imaging for monitoring the morphology of individual cells and cell aggregates
• Improving data analytics for this optical cell characterization modality
• Investigate the underlying biophysics to establish a deeper understanding for cellular morphology and how that may correlate with important biological properties for stem and therapeutic cells. This study may be performed with other biologists in the CAMP team due to its interdisciplinary nature.

Job Requirements

• Ph.D. degree in biological/biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or other relevant fields is required. An interdisciplinary research background in optics, biophysics, cell biology, and data analytics is an asset.
• Strong hands-on ability to carry out experimental engineering / instrumentation
• Proven track record in the field of imaging / optical engineering
• Creativity to solve challenging technical problem with biological and technical uncertainty
• Good communication skills to work with researchers from biological / clinical backgrounds
• Self-motivated, independent, with superior organizational and analytical skills
• 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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