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Lead Researcher/Associate Director - Cytokine Storm Treatment & Laboratory

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Position Description:

The Center for Cytokine Storm Treatment & Laboratory (CSTL) is entering a new era of unprecedented opportunity to address cytokine storm disorders with major unmet medical need, such as COVID-19 and Castleman disease. Our discoveries in Castleman disease have set the stage for further successful treatments for devastating cytokine storm disorders. The CSTL combines ‘omic analyses of patient biospecimens, hypothesis-driven basic science research, and clinical data analyses to discover and pursue novel therapeutic approaches for cytokine storms through clinical trials and adoption in clinical practice. 

Due to the continued growth of our program, the CSTL, in partnership with the Division of Translational Medicine & Human Genetics and the Fajgenbaum lab, is searching for a talented, experienced, and motivated Lead Researcher to direct all Castleman disease and cytokine storm-related research projects, performing conceptual, bench, and computational research. Working in partnership with the Principal Investigator of the CSTL, the Lead Researcher will conceptualize and develop the work-plans for current and future research projects spanning the spectrum from basic science to clinical trials. In each case, the Lead Researcher will work with other members of the lab, including the Operations Director, to ensure successful execution of in vitro and in vivo experiments while working cross-functionally with core labs and resources. Working independently, the Lead Researcher will design, optimize, and implement complex experiments within specified timelines, interpret the results, and present research both externally and internally, as well as contribute to writing/reviewing grants and manuscripts, progress reports, protocols, and SOPs. This position offers the opportunity to contribute to the strategic direction of the CSTL and interface broadly with internal (PI, data coordinators, biostatisticians, researchers, laboratory technicians, students, etc.) and external (federal funding bodies, pharmaceutical collaborators, non-profit partners, external collaborators, etc.) stakeholders from around the world to assure rapid progression of the science towards medical breakthroughs that help patients. He or she will report directly to the Principal Investigator/Founding Director of the CSTL and recruit, train, supervise, and mentor laboratory personnel, graduate students, fellows, and scientific collaborators.

Several projects homing in on novel insights into the etiology of and cell types, signaling pathways, and cytokines that drive idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD) pathogenesis as well as basic insights into human immunology and cytokine storms more generally are underway that need to be driven toward publication and dissemination. These projects include investigation of the first two novel therapeutic targets (mammalian Target of Rapamycin and JAK/STAT) discovered in iMCD in 25 years (using flow cytometry, phospho-flow, and immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence), which is funded through the first R01 awarded for iMCD research, whole exome sequencing of lymph node and constitutional DNA to search for pathological variants, single-cell transcriptional and T/B cell repertoire profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, serum proteomics and pathogen discovery, and investigation of stromal cells and their chemokines in iMCD and human immunology. A significant number of publications are anticipated from these projects. Several already funded projects are also waiting for the Lead Researcher to be designed and initiated, such as correlative biomarker analyses for an ongoing clinical trial of a novel treatment identified by the Fajgenbaum Lab.

Qualified candidates will have expertise in research planning, direct experience or familiarity with high-dimensional flow cytometry, cutting-edge sequencing/omics techniques (WES, WGS, scRNAseq, proteomics, etc.), immune repertoire profiling, functional immunological assays, studies using human tissue, and experimental systems, and an advanced understanding of human immunology. This is a unique opportunity to join a highly motivated, patient-focused team that works closely with international collaborators to make and publish novel discoveries that will have a significant impact on patients who have diseases with major unmet medical need. Joining the CSTL offers scientific professionals the unique opportunity of growing his/her leadership experience, seeing his/her research go from bench to bedside, and making discoveries that could lead to cures for deadly conditions such as COVID-19 and Castleman disease.

  • Conceptualize, design and execute basic and translational laboratory research projects to generate data that can lead to biological insights.
  • Perform and/or oversee the performance of high-dimensional flow cytometry, sequencing, tissue-based assays, and other studies.
  • Recruit, train, supervise, and mentor laboratory personnel, graduate students, fellows, and scientific collaborators.
  • Lead the data management, advanced analytics, interpretation, presentation, and manuscript writing/development for peer-reviewed publication for laboratory studies led by the CSTL and Fajgenbaum Lab


  • Master's Degree required.
  • **PhD or equivalent doctoral highly preferred.
  • 5-7 years of a combination of relevant academic and work experience or equivalent combination of education and experience, in Immunology, Hematology, Microbiology, Cell & Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, or related field with knowledge of immunology and with direct experience in high-dimensional flow cytometry and high throughput sequencing techniques.
  • Strong, proven supervisory and management experience required.
  • Experience with human immunology or hematology required.
  • Experience studying inflammatory, hyper-cytokine states or lymphoproliferative disorders desirable.
  • Experience working with computational analyses of immunology data desirable.
  • Experience with generating and interpreting NGS data a plus.
  • Experience working with cell lines and animal models a plus.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills.
  • Self-starter with a strong desire to contribute and work collaboratively to achieve goals.
  • Ability to work independently and apply critical thinking and sound judgment.
  • Ability to work with and take a leadership role in a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Ability to perform high-level report writing and presentation skills.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with team members.
  • Success in roles requiring execution of multiple tasks while responding to multiple priorities.
  • Highly functioning, detail-oriented, and analytical candidate who can think strategically and has strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Excellent oral/written communication skills with exceptional attention to detail.
  • Strong computer/technology skills including database management, MS Excel, PowerPoint, and MS Project (or other similar Project Management).

To Apply:

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This post will be available until July 27, 2021 or until filled.

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