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Postdoctoral Fellow: Rethinking drug design with deep learning

Location Gothenburg, Västra Götaland County, Sweden Job ID R-149536 Date posted 09/03/2023

Gothenburg, Sweden

Do you have expertise in or passion for machine learning and artificial intelligence? Would you like to apply your expertise to impact drug discovery projects in a company that follows the science and turns ideas into life-changing medicines? Then join the Molecular AI department at AstraZeneca and unlock the power of what science can do!

About AstraZeneca:

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led, patient-centred biopharmaceutical company focusing on discovering, developing, and commercialising prescription medicines for some of the world’s most serious diseases. But we’re more than a global leading pharmaceutical company. At AstraZeneca, we‘re dedicated to being a Great Place to Work and empowering employees to push the boundaries of science and fuel their entrepreneurial spirit. There’s no better place to make a difference in medicine, patients, and society.

About the Postdoc Programme:

Bring your expertise, apply your knowledge, follow the science, and make a difference. AstraZeneca’s Postdoc Programme is for self-motivated individuals looking to deliver exciting, high-impact projects in a collaborative, engaging and innovative environment. You'll work with multidisciplinary scientific teams from a diverse set of backgrounds and a world-class academic mentor specifically aligned to your project. Our postdocs are respected as specialists, encouraged to speak up, and supported to share their research at conferences, publish papers, achieve their goals, and make a difference to our patients.

This is a 3-year programme, with an initial 2-year period and 1 year merit-based extension.

About the Opportunity:

Our Discovery Sciences function, within BioPharma R&D, has a mission to apply world-leading expertise to support the identification of quality targets, hits, leads and drug candidates that will be safe and efficacious in the clinic.

The Molecular AI department drives the science, build platforms and together with disease area experts, impact the project portfolio through applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to drug design. We have produced high-quality scientific work released as open-source and built the industry-leading platforms REINVENT for deep learning based molecular de novo design and AiZynth for synthetic route prediction.

We are looking for a Postdoctoral Fellow to conduct ground-breaking research using deep learning at the forefront of drug design. You will research and develop novel deep learning architectures including pre-training and fine-tuning methodologies for chemical language models to impact drug design, e.g., molecular optimization, synthesis prediction and property prediction.

You will be supported by Jiazhen He (Associate Principal AI scientist of Molecular AI) and Ola Engkvist (Head of Molecular AI, Discovery Sciences) at AstraZeneca as well as receive academic mentorship and guidance from Richard Johansson (Senior Lecturer of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Chalmers Technical University and the University of Gothenburg). The position is located at our research site in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Main Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Research, design and implement innovative deep learning methodologies (e.g. novel architectures, pre-training and fine-tuning techniques) for drug design
  • Plan, write, publish, and present high-quality scientific papers
  • Opportunity to mentor PhD students, graduate scientists, and master thesis students

Qualification, Skills & Experience:

Essential Requirements

  • A PhD or equivalent in cheminformatics, computer science or a related field
  • Proven experience with deep learning
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Programming expertise, preferably in using Python
  • Ability to conduct independent and innovative research

Desirable Requirements

  • Familiar with Transformer-based language models
  • Basic knowledge of cheminformatics
  • Experience with deep learning frameworks. e.g., PyTorch and modern neural network architectures
  • Be aware of and follow the recent development in the field of deep learning

Why Should You Apply?

This is a fantastic opportunity to develop and apply innovative deep learning methodologies to drug design and ultimately impact patients’ lives. You will work in an industry-leading group with a strong publication track record and be supported by a leading academic supervisor in natural language processing.

As a respected specialist, you’ll be empowered to take credible risks, own it and run with it, with all the support you need. Because like you, we’re passionate and driven experts looking to change the game and make an impact.

Ready for an exciting, rewarding challenge?Good, because we can´t wait to hear from you!

Advert Opens: March 10th 2023

Advert Closes: April 16th 2023

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 authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements.

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