Harvard Medical School (HMS)

Research Scientist, Gene Therapy and Viral Vector Engineering

Harvard Medical School (HMS), United States

Boston, MA, United States

We are looking for skilled and ambitious individuals excited to unlock next-generation gene therapy-based cures for previously incurable genetic disorders.

About us

We are forming a team in the Harvard Medical School Department of Neurobiology dedicated to repurposing natural mechanisms of gene regulation to engineer precision viral vectors for gene therapy. Our goal is to employ PESCA, a single-cell screening platform developed in-house, to sift through the mammalian genome and identify — on demand — regulatory elements capable of driving optimal patterns of viral transgene expression to address a wide range of diseases. We believe that such elements are a transformative and essential technology in the world of gene therapy, and that our approach and expertise uniquely position us at the forefront of next-generation viral vector design. Our collective mission is to employ these elements to create novel viral vectors that unlock the potential of gene therapy to cure genetic diseases with severe unmet need, with ambitions of spinning off a company to achieve this.


We are recruiting a full-time, non-tenure track Research Scientist to join our team. The successful candidate will have the unique opportunity to collaboratively develop and lead multiple PESCA programs to generate cell-type-specific viral vectors for gene therapy. The work sits at the interface of academia and industry and involves: project planning, contributions to manuscripts and conference presentations, reporting to leadership, supervising junior team members, and the application of cutting-edge molecular biology techniques to rapidly progress therapeutic projects. The advertised position will also entail coordinating new and existing high-budget commercial partnerships.

To these ends, we are seeking highly motivated individuals with strong scientific backgrounds capable of efficient experimental planning, delegation, and management, who are excited by the prospect of pushing translational projects to completion in a fast-paced collaborative setting. Ideal candidates will have prior experience designing, developing, testing, implementing, and supporting molecular and next-generation sequencing assay workflows. The position offers an exciting opportunity to play a lead role in developing promising new viral vectors of high therapeutic potential as part of a dynamic research group in the renowned scientific environment that is the HMS Department of Neurobiology.


  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding and application of scientific principles to solve a wide range of screening platform-based challenges in creative and practical ways.
  • Collaboratively develop and then strategically drive 4-5 simultaneously running parallel implementations of the PESCA platform.
  • Demonstrate dynamic and flexible thinking and experimental prioritization, as well as continuous re-evaluation of experimental quality, rigor, and design to ensure progress and reproducible results.
  • Establish project strategies and approaches in consultation with leadership.
  • Supervise, advise, and train junior research assistants in the development, optimization, scale-up, and execution of screens and hit validation.
  • Maintain significant knowledge of current state-of-the-art regulatory element biology and identification, employ new information and insight to continuously refine platform or target indications.
  • Represent PESCA team in coordinating with external commercial partners and among the greater scientific community, through publishing peer-reviewed publications and conference participation.

Basic qualifications:

  • PhD in biological sciences
  • 4+ years hands-on molecular biology and mouse model experience — interested individuals should be capable of performing all steps of the PESCA pipeline
  • Experience in standard molecular biology techniques, including high-throughput plasmid design and cloning, PCR, RNA/DNA extraction and validation, qPCR,
  • Hands on next-generation sequencing techniques and library preparation (ATAC-seq, scRNA-seq, snRNA-seq)
  • Experience with screening assay development and readout (flow cytometry, imagining, smFISH, immunohistochemistry)
  • Experience in working with mouse tissue, including challenging dissection and cellular/nuclear dissociation.
  • Strong organizational and documentational skills
  • Good interpersonal and collaborative skills, maintaining a friendly but professional working environment while contributing positively to development and troubleshooting
  • Strong written and oral scientific communication skills to keep leadership informed and to interface with academic and industry collaborators.
  • Ability to adapt to and effectively manage changes in a fast paced and dynamic environment.

Preferred qualifications:

  • 3+ years managing multiple high-budget projects, in industry or academic setting.
  • Experience in optimizing screening related assays.
  • Experience with data analysis and technical troubleshooting.
  • A history of good time management and rigorous scheduling, completing assignments and meeting rapid timelines.
  • A passion for science and for the promise of gene therapy as a therapeutic modality.

Please apply through the Harvard HR website here.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.