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Group Lead - Neurodegenerative Disease Modeling and Stem Cell Biology

Verge Genomics

Verge Genomics

South San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Saturday, December 17, 2022
Who We Are
Technology has transformed almost every single aspect of our lives. Yet, it still takes 12 years to develop a drug. Today thousands of diseases affecting hundreds of millions of people have no effective treatment. Accelerating the pace of bringing effective, new medicines to patients is one of the greatest opportunities for humanity. Our mission is to develop better drugs, faster using technology. We have built an end-to-end technology-driven drug discovery platform centered around one of the field’s largest human genomics databases in neuroscience. We use aspects of machine learning to map the complex causes of disease and turn those insights into promising drug candidates on our internal biology and chemistry platforms.
We are developing drugs to treat some of the biggest medical challenges today: ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Our first drug entered the clinic in October 2022 as a new treatment for ALS and was discovered entirely from our platform. We have raised $134M from top tier investors (e.g. BlackRock, Eli Lilly, Merck, Section 32, Threshold Ventures, Y Combinator, etc) and in 2021 we announced a $706M deal with Eli Lilly. We are a team of data scientists, neuroscientists, and drug developers united around an audacious vision: to build the next Genentech of the digital age.
Who You Are
The Target Validation and Exploratory Biology department is seeking a Principal / Associate Principal Scientist to spearhead our efforts in developing state-of-the-art in vitro models representing neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. This position plays a central role in the Verge Genomics pipeline of small molecule and biologics programs.
Bringing knowledge of neurological disorders and expertise in stem cell technology, you will propose creative solutions in developing customized disease models in support of target validation and drug discovery. Leading from the bench, the candidate will guide scientists in generating different brain cell-types and introduce disease mutations, pathway reporters, and drug target constructs with genomics technologies.
The disease modeling team will profile quality, functionality and disease relevance of organoids, 3D co-cultures and microfluidics models through imaging, single cell RNAseq, spatial transcriptomics, proteomics etc., You will benchmark the in vitro models by validating targets identified by Verge Genomics computational platform. An important aspect of this position is to bring in new technologies amenable for testing of targets, drugs and disease model validation.

What You'll Do...

  • Lead from the bench and manage scientists in executing company goals
  • Establish quality-controlled patient iPSC and fibroblast banks and differentiate neurons and other brain cell types
  • Develop human brain disease models suitable for investigating target biology and drug discovery in neurodegenerative (e.g., ALS, Parkinson’s disease, FTD) and psychiatric disorders
  • Execute cell-based, biochemical, and molecular biology assays and profiling of human brain tissues to validate cell and disease models. Introduce disease mutations, cell-identity and pathway reporters in cells using genomic technologies
  • Serve as the domain expert in stem cell and disease modeling technology
  • Propose and execute new technologies and analysis capabilities
  • Manage external partners, academic institutions, CROs and consultants to support the goals of the Disease Modeling Core
  • Work cross-functionally with computational biologists, target validation biologists, drug discovery experts and chemists to make strategic recommendations
  • Represent the company at conferences and publish in peer-reviewed journals

Job & Technical Competencies Requirements…

  • A PhD and a minimum 12+ years of postdoctoral experience
  • Experience in managing a team of bench scientists
  • Expertise in neurodegenerative or psychiatric disease biology and human genetics
  • Expertise in production, characterization and quality control of iPSC and fibroblasts from patients
  • Differentiation into multiple cell types from iPSC, e.g., dopamine neurons, cortical neurons microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes
  • Disease modeling experience: engineering complex human disease models such as human co-cultures, microfluidic devices, or 3D cultures (organoids, spheroids, bioengineered tissues)
  • Assay development experience: high content image analysis, MEA electrophysiology, gene expression, biochemistry, and molecular biology
  • Target validation experience: functional genomics approaches to study gene function (CRISPR, RNAi, lentivirus, etc.)Strategic, “systems-level,” and “outside-the-box” mindset
Compensation & Benefits at Verge Genomics:
Our target starting salary for successful US-based applicants for this role is $148,000 to $181,000. To determine starting pay, we consider multiple job-related factors including a candidate’s skills, education and experience, the level at which they are actually hired, market demand, business needs, and internal parity. We may also adjust this range in the future based on market data.
This role is eligible for participation in our Annual Performance Bonus Plan (based on company targets by role level and annual company performance) and all employees are offered Equity, subject to the terms of those plans and associated policies.
In addition, Verge Genomics also provides our employees:
*Excellent medical, dental, and vision coverage
*401(k) plan with employer matching for contributions
*Disability insurance, Life insurance, Dependant Care FSA and Healthcare FSA
*Unlimited paid time off
*Paid parental leave
*Access to free onsite fitness center
*Free snacks and lunch for employees who work onsite
*WFH stipend for employees who work remotely
Help us revolutionize the way drugs are discovered & developed:
The startup nature of Verge Genomics provides multiple growth opportunities into other areas of the company. As one of the early employees at Verge, your work will have a direct impact on the foundation of a groundbreaking new drug development model.