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Associate Principal Scientist, Mass Spectrometry Screening

AstraZeneca UK

Location: Cambridgeshire

Job Type: Full time


Associate Principal Scientist, Mass Spectrometry Screening

Cambridge, UK

Competitive salary and benefits

Are you a passionate scientist with mass spectrometry and screening experience?

Would you like to join a place built on innovation and imagination? Where different views and perspectives are welcomed and valued? An environment that champions inclusion, and teams that reflect the diversity of the communities that we serve? Where you’ll be encouraged and supported to think creatively in our dynamic environment?

Do you want to be part of a collaborative team full of curious scientists who continually support each other to increase our impact on patients across the globe. We are now recruiting an Associate Principal Scientist with a background in mass spectrometry for our biochemical and biophysical screening team. Join us, to push the boundaries of science!

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led, patient-centred biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for some of the world’s most serious diseases. Here, we come to work every single day to make a difference – to patients, society and our company.

The High Throughput Screening (HTS) department is a pivotal cog in the drug discovery process. Using advanced robotics the group’s core purpose is to deliver hit series of small molecule compounds confirmed as active against a disease target of interest. These will be provided to project teams to initiate medicinal chemistry campaigns as a starting point for developing human therapeutics.

We are now preparing for our next exciting chapter with the move to our brand new Discovery Centre (DISC), located at the heart of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. The move will take place during 2023 but the successful candidate will be required to spend some time at our current site on the Alderley Park Life Science Campus, Cheshire.

What you’ll do

Mass spectrometry (MS) represents a core technology within our hit finding approaches. The role’s primary responsibility will be to apply our current MS screening capability to drug discovery campaigns in line with departmental and project needs. This will involve close working with other HTS members and teams associated with the projects. These projects will be prosecuted on behalf of all therapy areas within AstraZeneca including CVRM, Oncology, R&I and Neuroscience or, in partnership with external collaborators.

In addition, the position will support development of our MS strategy with a focus on contributing to technical innovations that drive productivity whilst increasing the success of hit discovery endeavours. Expertise in MS screening applications will be built and maintained providing a point of expert guidance within the department whilst building relationships with internal and external organisations.

As a secondary activity you could periodically be asked to manage the delivery of none-MS focused discovery projects as they progresses into and through the HTS portfolio. This will include scoping activities for choice of primary screening assay technology plus selection and implementation of relevant cascade assays e.g. orthogonal, selectivity, artefact etc.

You will transfer assays into HTS from our assay development groups and optimise them to function at scale. Following comprehensive assay validation you will deliver screening and analysis of up to ~2M small molecule compounds and confirm actives in concentration response format through all relevant cascade assays.

Typical accountabilities:

  • Provide scientific leadership and drive successful application of MS screening capabilities. Provide expert MS aligned support and mentorship for the broader HTS department to deliver our portfolio of projects and capability build activities.

  • Work with leadership team to establish, maintain and evolve the strategic direction, scientific quality and operational efficiency of HTS’ MS screening capability.

  • Work across functions to identify technology gaps and future requirements then design, propose and implement process improvements and capability builds.

  • Manage the HTS focused delivery of discovery projects as they progresses into and through the HTS portfolio taking responsibility for successful delivery within agreed timelines.

  • Support scoping of new projects proposed for HTS.

  • Enhance personal and departmental reputation via regular publication of work and presentation (oral and poster) to internal and external audiences through conference attendance.

  • Propose suitable science projects with subsequent supervision of students and post-docs.

Essential for the role

  • Demonstrable experience in mass spectrometry applications relevant to drug discovery

  • PhD in a relevant scientific field or equivalent scientific experience

  • Proven track record for scientific problem solving and troubleshooting technical issues

  • Solid understanding of data analysis principles as applied to large data sets and familiarity with data analysis software packages – particular focus on small molecule / metabolomic MS analysis

  • Demonstrable experience in the identification, establishment and implementation of new technologies and methods

  • Excellent team working and networking skills with experience of interacting effectively across interfaces of discipline, culture, and expertise

  • Experience of training, supervising & mentoring

  • Agile at learning new concepts and adapting to new technologies, projects and collaborators

  • Ability to work independently and prioritise own workload within the larger team environment to deliver department and project requirements

  • Publication record and/or experience of presenting scientific data

  • Knowledge and understanding of the drug discovery process

Desirable for the role

  • Experience of Affinity Selection Mass Spectrometry (AS-MS) and/or Acoustic Mist Mass Spectrometry (AMi-MS)

  • Experience of LC-MS and/or Native MS as applied to small molecule screening

  • Experience in biochemical, biophysical and/or cellular screening technologies

  • Assay Development, cascade design and drug discovery project team experience

  • Experience of small molecule screening and/or fragment-based screening

Why AstraZeneca

We are champions of Inclusion & Diversity

We strongly believe that everyone contributes with a unique set of competences. Your curiosity and passion for personal development combined with support from colleagues, mentors and leaders, will ensure you maximise your skills, abilities and contribution.

Read all about our extensive and inspiring Inclusion & Diversity strategy here:

We offer a competitive salary & excellent benefits - including annual bonuses and share save schemes. Our flexible benefits program allows you to select your own benefits package based on your personal preferences and circumstances.

So, what’s next!

Are you already imagining yourself joining our team? Good, because we can’t wait to hear from you.

This role is open from 21st December 2022 and we welcome your application (including CV and cover letter), no later than 27th January 2023.

Where can I find out more?

Our R&D Story:
Sustainability at AstraZeneca:
Inclusion & Diversity at AstraZeneca:

Date Posted


Closing Date


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.