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Principal Scientist of Cancer Immunology: Novasenta Inc. A UPMC Enterprises Portfolio Company

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The successful candidate will provide day-to-day leadership for the target validation platform development efforts of Novasenta Inc. Specifically, the successful candidate will design, develop and apply cutting-edge methods to accelerate the target validation process for novel cancer immunotherapy development.

Novasenta’s mission is to transform medicine by enabling innovative drug discovery at the interface of disease, immunity, and metabolism. Novasenta uses a next generation drug discovery approach combining unique experimental and computational tools to explore the human tumor microenvironment and discover novel therapeutically relevant targets and drugs.


  • Work with the scientific founders and the CSO, reporting to the Director of Research Operations, to investigate and validate the most promising targets within the tumor microenvironment for the development of therapeutics.
  • Lead efforts to develop, refine and scale target validation at Novasenta.
  • Implement assays on a rolling basis to integrate platform learnings and industry best practices to increase the sophistication of the proprietary target validation pipeline.
  • Lead the tumor biology team in implementing and refining the validation platform and pipeline
    • Propose, plan, design and perform in vivo tumor studies as well as ex vivo/in vitro assays to deeply characterize the company's target candidates
    • Establish novel mechanistic insights addressing impact of novel targets on anti - tumor immune response and tumor cell growth
    • Develop complex cell-based functional assays using engineered and/or primary human and murine cells
  • Based on early stage assay results identify, prioritize and propose the most promising targets for experimental prosecution and design appropriate assays to further validate each target and the biological hypothesis.
  • Obtain biological data to establish novel mechanistic insights related to the biological impact of novel targets.
  • Oversee the assay design and optimization efforts of the target validation team.
  • Provide scientific expertise and train/direct team members in relevant research planning, design and technical execution.
  • Develop in-depth scientific knowledge in the area of research focus and contribute to the decision making on project direction.
  • In line with a dynamic startup culture flexibility on work hours is required. Hours may exceed 40 hours at times driven by strategic and operational priorities.


  • Ph.D. in immunology with 4+ years of post-doctoral experience in academia or industry, experience in immuno-oncology is required
  • Proven ability to successfully drive and lead research projects
  • Excellent skill set for a variety of in vitro/ex vivo immune cell-based assays, including planning, execution, and analysis
  • Significant experiences in designing and executing appropriate immuno-oncology-related animal studies for target discovery applications
  • Demonstrated record of success with strong publication record
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively supervise, inspire, and develop research associates
  • Experience performing and analyzing a broad array of molecular, cellular biological and immunology methods
  • Experience in working under GLP standards (writing research reports, SOPs, and IND sections) and ensuring safety compliance under BSL-2 is a plus
  • Good verbal and written communication skills and the ability to interpret, summarize, and present scientific results in a clear, concise, accurate manner to both technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Ability to deal with uncertainty and solve problems creatively and independently with solid judgement
  • The ideal candidate has demonstrated success in highly dynamic research and/or biotech setting

Preferred experiences:

  • 6+ years of experience post PhD, with preferably at least 2 years of experience in an industry setting.
  • Experience advancing assets from target discovery through validation.
  • Good understanding in bioinformatic tools and experience working closely with bioinformatic experts

What we offer you:

  • Opportunity to be part of a growing, dynamic and diverse team of highly skilled professionals discovering novel cancer therapies and making an impact on patient care.
  • Highly competitive pay and benefits package.
  • A dynamic, fast-paced startup culture combined with the stability of a well-established entity (UPMC).
  • Extensive opportunities for individual growth and professional development
  • Work with experienced leaders in the drug discovery, immunotherapy, and cancer field.

Licensure, Certifications, and Clearances:

UPMC is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Veteran

Licensure, Certifications, and Clearances:

UPMC is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Veteran

Location: Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Job ID: 879392047

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer.
Minority / Females / Veterans / Individuals with Disabilities