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Principal Scientist of Molecular Biology: Novasenta, A UPMC Enterprises Portfolio Company

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The Principal/Senior Scientist of Molecular Biology is responsible for the establishment and refinement of molecular biology pipelines and the design and execution of antibody discovery studies to support therapy development efforts of Novasenta, a UPMC Enterprises funded biotech startup.

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 establish and refine molecular biology techniques and solutions in support of Novasenta’s target discovery and development efforts
  • Work closely with team members to guide project development, provide technical expertise for the design, implementation and troubleshooting of experiments, and ensure deliverables
  • Design and execute high throughput tool antibody discovery campaigns including phage display and yeast display approaches by working with academic collaborators and business partners
  • Express, purify, and conduct biochemical, biophysical and functional characterization of candidate tool antibodies to screen and validate leads for internal target discovery application
  • Incorporate cutting-edge technologies to advance candidate therapeutic antibodies selection, optimization, and engineering for potential human studies
  • Design and execute antibody engineering projects ranging from tool antibodies affinity maturation, to therapeutic candidate humanization and dual-specific antibodies development
  • Responsible for implementing and optimizing experimental protocols in the areas of molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry
  • Oversee the assay design and optimization efforts of the molecular biology team
  • Provide scientific expertise and train/direct team members in relevant research planning, design and technical execution
  • Actively participates in the scientific dialogue of the group and proactively collaborates with colleagues
  • 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 Molecular Biology or Biochemistry or related field plus post-doctoral experience, including at least 5+ years of antibody engineering, protein engineering, and structural biology in academia, biotechnology or pharmaceutical setting
  • Experience with phage or yeast display, synthetic antibody library construct designs, antibody engineering and affinity maturation
  • Experience in protein engineering techniques, including cDNA library construction and expression, protein expression and purification, biochemical/biophysical characterization of various antibody formats
  • Strong expertise in wide range of molecular biology techniques including mutagenesis, molecular cloning, construct design and sequence analysis
  • Experience in engineering antibodies with improved properties (e.g., affinity, solubility, and other attributes related to developability)
  • Solid record of accomplishments and publications as evidence of scientific knowledge
  • 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

Preferred experience:

  • At least 2+ years of experience in an industrial research setting
  • Understanding of protein structure-function relationships and antibody structural remodeling
  • Experience with antibody sequence isolation, repertoire analysis, and V region classification is desired
  • Deep understanding of various imaging/multicolor flow cytometry-based instruments and data analysis programs is a plus
  • Good understanding in bioinformatic tools and experience working closely with bioinformatic experts
  • The ideal candidate has demonstrated success in highly dynamic research and/or biotech setting

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).
  • Work with experienced leaders in the drug discovery, immunotherapy, and cancer field.
  • Extensive opportunities for individual growth and professional development

Location: Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Job ID: 817909523

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