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Scientist/Senior Scientist, RNA Vaccines

  • Science
  • Full-time
  • San Francisco, CA
  • 120K - 145K USD a year

2023-08-14 17:56:54 UTC


ExcepGen is a venture-backed, early-stage biotechnology company located in San Francisco. We are harnessing synthetic biology principles to solve fundamental problems in mRNA-delivered vaccines and therapeutics. We have developed a novel RNA platform that boosts expression while blocking the harmful effects of cell stress. The result is potent, durable, and highly programmable RNA to create complex medicines. With this platform, ExcepGen aims to create new categories of genetic medicines.

We are seeking a resourceful Scientist/Senior Scientist to lead efforts at designing, characterizing, and optimizing novel RNA vaccines. Under the supervision of the Director of Vaccines, the Scientist/Senior Scientist will support the research and preclinical testing of existing vaccine candidates and lead the conception of novel ones. Responsibilities include discovery research, core vaccine platform engineering, patent expansion, and supervising pre-clinical animal studies conducted with CROs. As a member of a small and multi-disciplinary team, the Scientist/Senior Scientist will lead the design, cloning, and testing of novel RNA vaccine designs in vitro and in vivo. The successful candidate will lead research projects, including proposing, designing, executing, analyzing, troubleshooting experiments in the lab, supervising animal studies through CROs and/or external partners, and defending data-driven recommendations based on their research to internal and external stakeholders with a high degree of independence.

As an early-stage startup, we offer significant opportunities for professional development and career growth, including mastering the tools for RNA vaccine research and, over time, the potential for project leadership and/or team management. ExcepGen is a bottom-up organization whose innovation is fueled by all members of the company. We offer a unique opportunity for scientists who thrive in fast-paced, highly collaborative teams; who deploy creativity and resourceful thinking in science; and who are energized by learning new techniques and areas of biology, questioning dogma, and challenging their own assumptions.


  • Lead the research of novel RNA vaccines under the supervision of the Director of Vaccines

  • Support the preclinical testing of RNA vaccines with a high degree of independence

  • Design, clone, experimentally test, and troubleshoot RNA vaccine candidates in vitro

  • Lead the design and execution of in vivo immunogenicity studies with CROs

  • Establish and conduct ex vivo immunogenicity assays, for example ELISA, viral neutralization, and T cell assays

  • Collaborate with the broader scientific team to provide critical feedback on novel vaccine platform designs and contribute unique experimental expertise towards other projects

  • Propose and defend recommendations for RNA vaccine platform designs and/or optimization strategies to scientific leadership

  • Carefully document work, interpret results, and effectively communicate project updates to the Director of Vaccines and to the broader scientific team

  • Help support key general molecular and biochemical laboratory functions and maintenance as a member of a small team

  • Maintain up to date knowledge of the relevant scientific literature

  • Contribute to the publication of results in scientific manuscripts

  • Present findings internally and externally

  • Over time and with demonstrated aptitude for leadership, this role will have the opportunity to lead projects and/or manage others



Education & Experience:

  • PhD in biology sciences, e.g. molecular and cell biology, virology, immunology, biochemistry or related field.

  • A least 2 years of post-PhD experience in Biotech/Pharma industry

  • Research experience in vaccinology


Skills & Competencies:

  • Energized by learning and mastering unfamiliar experimental approaches in a fast-paced start up environment

  • Comfortable leading and supporting multiple research projects simultaneously

  • Familiar with basic molecular biology techniques including cloning, PCR, and DNA electrophoresis

  • Proficient in mammalian cell culture including cell passaging, transfection, and reporter gene assays

  • Experience with biochemical assays such as western blot and ultracentrifugation

  • Proficient in ELISA for the quantitation of antibodies

  • Proficient in ~8 color flow cytometry on immune cells

  • Strong oral and written communication skills

  • Comfortable working in small, interconnected teams in a fast-paced and dynamic startup environment


Nice to Have:

  • Experience with IVT and/or RNA-LNP encapsulation

  • Experience with cloning complex multi-fragment assembles

  • Experience managing in vivo studies at CROs


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