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Postdoctoral Training Opportunity – Drug Discovery/Development at the Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering

The Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering (CPGE) at Northwestern University is seeking a postdoctoral fellow or research faculty (non-tenure track) with proven expertise in Cell Pharmacology/Assay Development to launch its Drug Discovery and Development Team, aimed at identifying lead compounds for the prevention and treatment of cancer and other currently intractable diseases.

CPGE is a pioneer in the manipulation of supranucleosomal chromatin structure for the predictable regulation of global patterns of gene expression. Drug discovery efforts are further enabled by proprietary chromatin nano-imaging and computational genomics platforms. By integrating these state-of-the-art technologies, CPGE is bringing a novel perspective to complex and long-standing problems in human health and biology, enabling us to revisit old paradigms and approach cancer and other diseases from a new and promising angle: the use of compounds to modulate the chromatin nano-environment.

This is a unique opportunity for a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow or research faculty with an ambitious and proactive approach to provide leadership in the scientific, clinical, regulatory, and operational areas. CPGE is seeking candidates who can apply molecular and chemical biology and chemistry with a primary focus on developing high-throughput screening methods for identifying lead compounds using new drug libraries, synthetic molecules, approved drugs and natural products to streamline, track and monitor drug development activities throughout the translational process.

The successful candidate will work with a transdisciplinary team of scientists conducting cutting-edge research at the crossroads of medicine, tumor biologycancer and computational genomics, physics, and engineering and will carry out research focused on drug formulation, stability, and characterization as well as developing new formulation and drug delivery technologies.

The ideal candidate has expertise in drug development in accordance with ICH and global pharmacopeia requirements (pre-formulation, process development, method development/validation, drug product characterization, etc. and understands the various scientific disciplines needed in the pharmaceutical development of biological drug products (analytics, product development, manufacturing, QA, regulatory).

Major responsibilities:

  • Provide scientific expertise in multi-disciplinary project teams to support the selection of the right target, molecule, dose, patient population, and development strategiesDesign and execute target-based assays to identify hits/lead candidates and validate compound mechanism of action to help the advancement of new molecular entities.
  • Develop fit-for-purpose analytical methods to support biophysical characterization, formulation and process development, and research stability testing.
  • Implement current analytical techniques to conduct research and development studies related to drug product development.
  • Develop in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo tools to evaluate formulation performance.
  • Strong interaction and interdisciplinary work with colleagues and collaborators.
  • Regulatory Writing: Actively author and defend applicable CMC activities for products under development.


  • Applicants must have a Ph.D. in pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, synthetic chemistry, or related field; and experience in drug development or drug product manufacturing.
  • Background in pharmaceutical technology, formulation, and analytical characterization is highly recommended.
  • Previous work experience in a pharmaceutical laboratory setting is preferred.

Required skills include:

  • Hands-on experience in analytical separation methodologies, such as chromatographycompendial methods, and bioanalytical techniques preferred.
  • Broad experience in mammalian cell culture, with the ability to simultaneously maintain and utilize multiple cell lines for in vitro cell-based evaluation of agents’ target functions.
  • Knowledge of basic wet chemistry techniques as well as an understanding of any applicable pharmaceutical/pharmacopeia requirements.
  • Proficient with the use of statistical techniques as applicable to measurement, system analysis, process validation, design of experiments, and evaluation of stability data.
  • Possesses strong mathematical and reasoning abilities.
  • Ability to manage projects in a timely and effective manner and multi-task various activities.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to prioritize own work with limited guidance.
  • Effective organizational and communication skills.

Preferred skills:

  • Experience using in vivo oncology models for drug discovery and translational research.
  • Broad training in cancer biology with a focus on GI malignancies, and a deep understanding of mechanistic cancer biology and current trends in oncology therapeutics.
  • Thorough understanding of the clinical pharmacology discipline and how it is applied throughout all phases of drug development.
  • Understanding of FDA requirements related to product development and chemical testing requirements for pharmaceutical products is helpful but not essential.
  • Experience in quantitative modeling and simulation software (such as SimBiology, NONMEM, MATLAB, R/S-plus etc.) desired.
  • Experience with imaging systems (SEM, TEM, light/confocal microscopy, thermal characterization, etc.). 

The successful candidate will work under the direction of Dr. Vadim Backman, the Sachs Family Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine, Professor of Medicine (Oncology) and Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, and Director of the Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering.

CV and cover letter can be sent to