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Head of Viral Platforms

Date: Feb 21, 2021

Location: Philadelphia, PA, US

Company: Spark Therapeutics

Join the Spark Team


We were born of innovation, springing from the curiosity, imagination and dedication of remarkable scientists and healthcare visionaries. Our shared mission is to challenge the inevitability of genetic disease by discovering, developing, and delivering treatments in ways unimaginable – until now.


We don’t follow footsteps. We create the path.

This Capsid Engineering Research Lead will manage one of more research programs as part of the Discovery group within Spark’s Research organization. S/he will be responsible for the generation and characterization of novel gene therapy medicinal products based on engineered and optimized recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors (AAVs) including:


  • Developing novel engineering and screening strategies to generate a pipeline of capsids with enhanced profiles.
  • Independently evaluate and implement various screening approaches that utilize large genetic diversity libraries and allow for assessment of variants in high throughput fashion using next generation sequencing applications to enable the development of novel capsids.
  • Delivering rigorous, interpretable and scientifically sound workflows to facilitate product development (e.g. generation and implementation of ideas, validation, in vivo proof-of-concept, etc.).
  • Directing and overseeing discovery programs, facilitating translation from in vitro through in vivo proof-of-concept in support of current and future therapeutic programs.
  • Providing leadership within a group of scientists/research associates.
  • Initiating and overseeing joint programs and collaborations with external parties.
  • Establishing and managing project timelines and ensuring work is completed according to schedule.
  • Training and developing staff at varying levels of experience.
  • Writing study reports, manuscripts and presenting results at appropriate scientific meetings.




40%  Lead a team of scientists initiating and developing AAV platform discovery research programs.  Mentor and develop staff. Ensure departmental goals and objectives are met and aligned to the broader organizational goals and objectives.   


30%  Devise, evaluate and trouble-shoot novel strategies to address limitations of current gene therapy approaches through design and construction of optimized gene expression cassettes and AAV capsid libraries by means such as directed evolution, DNA shuffling or peptide display. Prepare and deliver scientific presentations at internal and external meetings.


25%  Identification and characterization of candidate lead capsids for in vivo proof-of–concept studies. Design and execute experiments and analyze data using our existing discovery research AAV platform. Keep up to date with novel technologies that could be applied to vector design, selection and optimization to further improve the current AAV toolbox. 


5%  Write study reports, manuscripts and present results at appropriate scientific meetings.


Manage AAV Capsid Engineering team to achieve business goals and objectives.




  • Ph.D. in a relevant discipline (biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, molecular virology).
  • Typically has 10+ years relevant working experience in recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors required.
  • 3+ years of management experience
  • Strong expertise in AAV technology and application
  • Subject matter expert in the fields of directed evolution, synthetic biology, or molecular/biological engineering.
  • Hands-on research experience with designing and generating genetic diversity libraries, high throughput screen/selection schemes, barcoding and next-gen sequencing methods.
  • Recognized as an authority in the AAV field
  • Knowledge of immunology and cell signaling is required
  • Vector production and purification experience is required




  • We are looking for an individual who is passionate about gene therapy.
  • Ability to design and implement scientific plans.
  • In-depth expertise and strong laboratory skills with a diverse range of molecular biology techniques relevant to gene therapy based investigational products, including DNA cloning, cell-based assays, quantitative PCR, microscopy and sterile cell culture.
  • Self-motivated to learn and develop new techniques, perform multiple tasks simultaneously, maintain accurate records, develop procedures, and comply with company policies.
  • Experience in handling small rodents and conducting in vivo studies is a plus.
  • Strong team player who works closely and effectively with colleagues.
  • Energetic and eager to manage multiple activities and priorities.
  • Dedication to quality in all work tasks and deliverables.
  • Strong leadership, analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Comfortable with responsibilities in an entrepreneurial, fast–paced, start-up company environment.





Nearest Major Market: Philadelphia