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Associate Principal Scientist Protein Biochemistry

Location Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States Job ID R-108210 Date posted 19/05/2021

Here at AstraZeneca, you’ll have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives every day. As one of the world’s premier biotechnology companies, our mission is centered on delivering life-changing products that advance world health and help fight and cure disease.  As a Senior Scientist in Microbial Sciences in Gaithersburg, MD, you’ll play a pivotal role in channeling our scientific capabilities to positively impact changing patients’ lives.

The Microbial Sciences group at AstraZeneca is constantly pushing the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines to patients, with a passion for discovery and a pipeline to show for it. We’re utilizing our expertise in microbiology and vaccines to enable novel approaches to prevent and treat infectious diseases. We’re industry-leading in immunology, protein engineering, and translational science. We offer a unique and strong collaborative network as part of the AstraZeneca family, as together we explore synergies between small and large molecules and novel biologics platforms.

Microbial Sciences is seeking a scientific leader with in-depth knowledge of protein biochemistry and structural biology to support the development of novel monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, and technologies for the prevention and/or treatment of viral infections in AstraZeneca’s infectious disease portfolio.  The candidate will lead a team of scientists responsible for providing protein biochemistry expertise, such as the development and execution of assays and the provision of recombinant protein and reagents.  The candidate will also provide expertise and insight into antibody and vaccine design and guide project advancement by conceiving and designing experiments, interpreting data, and proposing improvements to and troubleshooting experimental protocols. The position requires the ability to embrace new technologies, perform in a fast-paced, matrix-structured work environment, and prepare precise technical and regulatory documents and reports.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manages a protein biochemistry research team group responsible for the characterization and selection of monoclonal antibodies and viral antigens. Drives the establishment and implementation of new methods, practices, and ways of working and provides expert technical input into problem-solving.

  • Provides expert technical biochemistry and structural biology knowledge to monoclonal and vaccine programs from research through to Phase I/II clinical studies.

  • Provides a forward-looking, strategic science and technology view and develops proposals for infectious projects within the infectious Disease portfolio.

  • Initiates and manages internal and external research investigations, projects, and collaborations.

  • Keeps abreast of trends within the external scientific world to transform novel ideas. appropriately into research programs and activities within Microbial Sciences.

  • Delivers all data/reports to support regulatory submissions.

  • Ensures own work and the work of others are performed according to appropriate Safety, Health & Environment (SHE), quality, and compliance standards, e.g. Good Laboratory Practice (GLP).


  • Degree in biochemistry, chemistry, molecular biology, or related scientific field

  • Ph.D. with 7+ years additional experience, M.S. with 13-15 years additional experience; B.S. with 15-17 years additional experience

  • Relevant experience in the industry (preferred) or academia

Essential Skills

  • Expertise in basic protein engineering skills and monoclonal antibody & antigen design

  • Proficient with protein visualization software (e.g Pymol or Chimera)

  • Significant experience in protein expression (particularly mammalian), purification, and characterization (e.g. light scattering, SEC, biacore and/or octet binding platforms, and/or CD)

  • Expertise in standard protein biochemistry techniques (e.g. SDS-PAGE, western blot, conjugation, and protein concentration)

  • Expertise in ELISA and/or multiplexed biochemical assays, along with strong assay development skills

  • Understanding of immune sera characterization for binding breadth and magnitude of response

  • Expertise in modern molecular biology techniques (e.g. molecular cloning, site-direct mutagenesis, RT-PCR, and/or qPCR)

  • Demonstrated ability to lead a research team

  • Strong written, verbal, and presentation skills

Preferred Skills

  • Knowledge of monoclonal antibody and vaccine formulations and development

  • Work with BSL-2 and BSL-2+ infectious agents

  • Viral purification experience or knowledge

  • General knowledge in the fields of virology and immunology

Supervision Reports to Director of Virology, Microbial Sciences


AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorisation and employment eligibility verification requirements.

50056741 E SCGE R&D BioPharmaceuticals

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Great culture, great work assignments, supportive management. Rotation opportunity within the company. They value inclusion and diversity.