Date Posted: Jun 27, 2019
Application Deadline: Jul 26, 2019
SMART CAMP (Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine) is a new interdisciplinary research programme in Singapore (CREATE international research campus and innovation hub) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). SMART CAMP addresses key technology bottlenecks in cell therapy manufacturing: (i) critical quality attributes of safe, effective cell therapy products; and (ii) integrated process analytics to monitor and modulate those attributes. While cell therapies are poised to transform healthcare for both the industry and the patient, there remain many outstanding scientific and technical challenges to significant global impact that this R&D programme addresses. This high-impact focus includes measurement and feedback control of processing parameters (process analytic technologies, or PAT) that contribute to cell viability and function during cell proliferation, and the measurement at intermediate and final steps of the cell product properties correlated with positive therapeutic outcomes (critical quality attributes, or CQA).
This interdisciplinary team comprises engineers, biologists, clinicians, manufacturing, and data analytics experts from multiple MIT academic units, and multiple Singapore-based universities, research centres of excellence, and hospitals who are experienced at translational demonstrations of technologies in safety-regulated industries such as cell therapies. As with all postdoctoral associates (PDAs) in SMART CAMP based in Singapore, the PDA will work in a diverse team of experts including several principal investigators (PIs) and PDAs, and receive direct mentorship regarding career development from a pair of who are based in Singapore and at MIT, respectively.
CAMP’s unique, enabling and cross-cutting capabilities include cell and clinical biology, microfluidics, real-time optics and spectroscopies, 3D-printed devices, process analytics, data analytics, and bioinformatics. This programme will demonstrate these approaches required of cell-based personalized medicine through three translational testbeds (three Flagship Projects), ultimately facilitating access for more patients to life-saving, approved cell therapies for currently intractable health challenges. These flagship projects will address allogeneic and autologous cell therapy products, including but not limited to cell sources including adult stem/progenitor cells and immune cells for treatment of specific cancers, tissue degeneration, and autoimmune diseases.
Flagship Project 1: Label-free critical quality attributes (CQA) for personalized efficacy of cell therapies, including multivariate analysis of biological and biophysical attributes
Flagship Project 2: Rapid critical quality attributes (CQA) for safety of cell sources & cell therapy products, including process analytic technologies (PAT)
Flagship Project 3: Integrated process analytic technologies (PAT) for cell proliferation and recovery, including in-line and intermittent monitoring to promote efficacy and safety CQA
CAMP Flagship Project 1 – Single-cell multi-omics
The potency and efficacy of manufactured cell products largely depend on cell biological activities, notably the secretion of specific gene products including soluble factors. Most current technologies (e.g., ELISA) measure the population-averaged secretion products of a large population of cells, but for cell therapy manufacturing process development we seek to assess the functional heterogeneity among these cells. Here we will develop new molecular biology techniques and microfluidics platforms to implement functional phenotyping of single cells. We will also conduct multi-omics profiling of single cells that links functional measurement to molecular phenotype (e.g., transcriptome). Successful completion of this project will shed light on the biochemical determinants of cell function, thus enabling better control of cell manufacturing processes for multiple cell types and targeted indications. The PDA will work with an interdisciplinary team of engineers and biologists, and gain exposure to microfluidics device design, next generation sequencing, and bioinformatics analysis.
• Multi-omics for validation of therapeutic mechanism of action that will solidify identification of candidate CQAs
• Instrumentation of single cell secretion measurement for mesenchymal stromal cell secretome analysis, with potential extension to other cell types
• Work with other PDAs in Flagship Project 1 to correlate and validate the single cell secretome as CQA, or correlate with other more rapidly measured biological or biophysical CQA.
• Ph.D. degree in biological engineering, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or other relevant engineering field is required.
• Strong hands-on ability to design and carry out experimental engineering / instrumentation
• Creativity to solve challenging technical problems with uncertainty
• Good communication skills to work with researchers from biological / clinical backgrounds
• Good track record of publications and scientific output
• Able and committed to work in Singapore
To apply, please visit our website at: http://smart.mit.edu/careers/career-opportunities. Interested applicants are invited to send in their full CV/resume, cover letter and list of three references (to include reference names and contact information). We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be notified.