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MD Anderson Cancer Center Institute Associate Scientist III Translational Biology in Houston, Texas


Within The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center lies a powerful engine driving the future of new targeted, immune- and cell-based therapies: the Therapeutics Discovery Division. Therapeutics Discovery eliminates the bottlenecks that hamper traditional drug discovery, with a multidisciplinary team of dedicated researchers, doctors, drug developers and scientific experts working together to develop small-molecule drugs, biologics and cellular therapies. Our unique structure and collaborative approach allow the team to work with agility, bringing novel medicines from concept to clinic quickly and efficiently - all under the same roof.

The Therapeutics Discovery Division is built around four platforms: The Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS), ORBIT (Oncology Research for Biologics and Immunotherapy Translation), TRACTION (Translational Research to Advance Therapeutics and Innovation in Oncology) and the Neurodegeneration Consortium.

The TRACTION platform is an industrialized translational research unit that aligns world-class drug discovery and development with highly innovative science and clinical care research. Through an investment in patient-centric research, we have developed the infrastructure, platforms, and capabilities to enable transformative research, partnering with leading clinical research scientists and physicians for which MD Anderson is known. TRACTION's approach combines large scale data science, innovative cancer genetics, disruptive technologies, deep mechanistic biology, disease modeling, and pharmacology to accelerate the translation of novel discoveries.

As part of our mission, TRACTION is focused on partnering with our internal drug discovery engine (IACS, ORBIT, Biologics Development and Cell Therapies) and a growing list of external Partners (Boehringer Ingelheim, Taiho, Blueprint Medicines, Schrödinger and Obsidian) to discover and develop the next generation of small-molecule targeted therapies, antibody therapeutics and cell therapies, all driven by the needs we see in our patients.

We work in a fast-paced, milestone-driven environment with a focus on team science and interdisciplinary research. Our unique approach has created a biotech-like engine within the walls of the nation's leading cancer center to bring life-saving medicines to our patients more quickly and effectively. This model already has achieved results, with multiple programs currently in clinical and late-stage preclinical development.


The Institute Associate Scientist III participates in cross-functional research to identify and validate novel biomarkers and patient responder hypotheses, and translate these findings into novel oncology therapeutic agents to benefit patients.


  1. Under minimal supervision contribute to project team activities by performing laboratory experiments.

  2. Utilize common molecular and cell biology skills including Western Blot, ELISA, RNA quantification methods (i.e. Q-PCR), and immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence to support preclinical development of compounds that will be entering clinical development.

  3. Perform common tissue culture techniques to develop biomarkers and test therapeutics.

  4. Utilize genetic and pharmacologic tools to define mechanism of biology and discover/validate biomarkers that will be used to stratify patients for clinical testing of therapeutics.

  5. Assist in the development and utilization of functional cell-based assays (i.e. soft agar, ex vivo, proliferation, etc.) to support mechanisms of action and patient stratification biomarkers.

  6. Evaluate and implement novel technologies to support translational biomarker activities, becoming a technical lead and advisor to other team members.

  7. Perform dose response studies in support of patient stratification and biomarker development.

  8. Provide support for in vivo pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and efficacy studies for biomarker and responder ID hypothesis discovery and testing.

  9. Perform analysis of in vivo samples for assessment of pharmacodynamic and response biomarkers.

  10. Effectively communicate program progress/issues to colleagues and contribute to project success.

  11. Under minimal supervision, design, execute, document and interpret experiments.

  12. Analyze, prepare, and present data in project team and other internal meetings as needed.

  13. Employ safe lab practices.


Self Motivation (Independent Contributor): Set high standards of performance; pursue goals with energy and persistence; drive for results and achievement.

Use standards set by management. Take ownership for actions. Continually meet department goals.

Demonstrate a personal sense of urgency in getting results. Use personal and management standards to complete assignments.

Technical/Functional Expertise (Independent Contributor): Demonstrate technical proficiency required to do the job; possess up-to-date knowledge in the profession; provide technical expertise to others.

Apply basic technical/functional knowledge to complete work. Meet essential position requirements.

Seek experiences and knowledge in technical/functional areas to gain additional expertise. Troubleshoot systems/processes effectively.

Analytical Thinking (Independent Contributor): Gather relevant information systematically; break down problems into simple components; make sound decisions.

Recognize simple cause and effect relationships. Diagnose problems by breaking them down into simple tasks or activities.

Identify relationships among a few parts of a problem. Scan own knowledge and experience base to determine potential solutions.

Team with Others (Independent Contributor): Encourage collaboration and input from all team members; value the contributions of all team members, and those beyond team; balance individual and team goals.

Support and show respect to team members. Recognize how individual actions affect the team.

Model team qualities, i.e. respect helpfulness and coping. Support team decisions once they are made and help to implement.


Required: Bachelor's degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Enzymology, Pharmacology, Chemistry or related field.

Preferred: Master's degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Enzymology, Pharmacology, Chemistry or related field.


Required: Three years of relevant research experience in lab. With preferred degree, one year of required experience.

Preferred: A minimum of 2 years industry-like experience. Experience working with cell-based assays and experience with in vivo models. Specifically, the applicant should have broad knowledge and experience with cell-based models (i.e. soft agar, migration, invasion, etc.) utilizing common methods and reagents (i.e. RNAi, dose response phenotypic analysis with small molecule inhibitors, Western Blots, flow cytometry, ELISAs, etc.). Experience utilizing lentiviral or retroviral systems to perform genetic studies with cancer cell lines is a plus. These tools and assays will be used to identify and validate novel biomarkers and develop responder ID hypotheses. Experience with advanced cell culture techniques and a willingness to work with in vivo models are highly desired. Having a working knowledge of oncology disease processes and preclinical models is also preferred.

The position requires an accomplished, highly self-motivated individual with outstanding communication and organizational skills, and the ability to effectively present results and conclusions to co-workers, collaborators, and managers. Experience independently designing and interpreting experimental results is expected, and demonstrated ability for critical thinking and problem solving is a must. Ability to work well under pressure and drive personal and team objectives that impact critical timelines is expected. A collaborative attitude is essential for this position.

It is the policy of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to provide equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or any other basis protected by institutional policy or by federal, state or local laws unless such distinction is required by law.

Additional Information

  • Requisition ID: 166672

  • Employment Status: Full-Time

  • Employee Status: Regular

  • Work Week: Days

  • Minimum Salary: US Dollar (USD) 76,650

  • Midpoint Salary: US Dollar (USD) 95,300

  • Maximum Salary : US Dollar (USD) 114,975

  • FLSA: exempt and not eligible for overtime pay

  • Fund Type: Soft

  • Work Location: Onsite

  • Pivotal Position: Yes

  • Referral Bonus Available?: Yes

  • Relocation Assistance Available?: Yes

  • Science Jobs: Yes