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Senior Research Scientist - Capsid Engineering

Date: Jan 19, 2022

Location: Philadelphia, PA, US, 19104

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.

The Sr. Research Scientist is a key member of the Discovery Research Team and participates in the development of Spark’s gene delivery platforms. She/he will be critical for the development of novel AAV capsids with enhanced properties, in particular the ability to transduce specific cell types. The discovery of such capsids will greatly facilitate the translation from in vitro through in vivo proof of concept and ultimately the clinic. 

He/she will be responsible for:

•             Developing and implementing the production of improved AAV capsid libraries.

•             Establishing approaches that allow the isolation of AAV capsid variants that transduce specific cell types in both rodents and NHPs.

•             Actively collaborate with the NGS and machine leaning groups to further enhance the power of using directed evolution to isolate AAVs with tailored properties.

•             Collaborating with other Translational Research Scientists to design and conduct in vitro studies in preclinical animal models of genetic diseases.

•             Initiating and overseeing joint programs and collaborations with external parties.

•             Writing study reports, manuscripts and present results at appropriate scientific meetings.

The Senior Research Scientist position requires extensive experience with virology, molecular biology, biochemistry and gene expression analyses:

•             Design and construction of libraries used in directed evolution selection campaigns.

•             Practical experience to use NGS and bioinformatics (in collaboration with experts in these fields) to design improved second generation libraries.

•             Familiarity with AAV gene therapy is required.


  • Design, characterize and validate novel AAV capsid libraries. Use these libraries to select for cell-type specific AAV variants and AAV variants with other improved properties. This includes executing experiments on the bench, extensive literature review and identifying lead candidates for preclinical work.
  • Organize, discuss, and record experimental data.
  • Supervise and advise junior colleagues.
  • Generate technical reports, prepare presentation slides.   
  • Lab meetings and administration work.

Education and Experience Requirements

•             Typically has a PhD in a biological discipline and 3-5 years of related experience.

•             Hands-on research experience with high complexity library preparations.

•             Familiarity with NGS and bioinformatics is required.

•             Knowledge in machine learning is a plus.

•             Experience with studies in laboratory animal models is preferred.

•             Experience in general and advanced lab techniques such as plasmid design and construction, molecular cloning, qPCR, cell culture, ELISA, plate-based luciferase and/or enzymatic activity assays, SDS-PAGE/Western blotting, etc. is required.

•             Experience with AAV gene therapy is required.

Key Skills, Abilities, and Competencies

•             Strong analytical skills and problem-solving capabilities.

•             Proven ability to work independently in hands-on laboratory setting, self-motivated to learn and develop new techniques, perform multiple tasks simultaneously, keep accurate records, follow instructions, and comply with company policies.

•             Proven ability to support junior colleagues to help them achieve their scientific goals.

•             Excellent communication skills (both oral and written).

•             Familiar with computer software commonly used in bio/pharma industries.

•             Works with colleagues as a team player.

•             Strong organizational skills.

•             Strong publication record is a plus.

•             Experience managing external collaborations is a plus.

Please be aware that Spark mandates COVID-19 vaccination of all employees regardless of work location.  Accommodations may be made in accordance with applicable law.

Nearest Major Market: Philadelphia