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Associate Principal Scientist, HTS Cell Screening

AstraZeneca UK

Location: Cambridgeshire

Job Type: Full time


Associate Principal Scientist, HTS Cell Screening

Cambridge, UK

Competitive salary and benefits

Are you a passionate scientist with cellular 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 cell screening for our cell HTS 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

This role is responsible for providing scientific leadership and cellular screening expertise within the cellular HTS team. You’ll enable the delivery of high-quality high throughput screens and the continual innovation of our screening capability.

With a focus on cellular assays the role’s core element will be to support our extensive portfolio of drug discovery projects, by running, analysing and troubleshooting a wide variety of different screens. 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 the development of our cellular screening strategy by identifying and implementing technical innovations that drive productivity whilst increasing success of hit discovery endeavors. Expertise in a wide range of cellular techniques will be built and maintained providing a point of expert guidance within the department whilst building relationships with internal and external organisations.

Typical accountabilities:

  • Provide scientific leadership and drive the successful design and delivery of multiple cellular high throughput screening campaigns. Provide expert cellular screening support and mentorship for the broader HTS department to deliver portfolio of projects and capability build activities.

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

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

  • Manage the HTS focused delivery of a discovery project as it progresses into and through the HTS portfolio taking responsibility for its successful delivery within agreed timelines.

  • Transfer assays into HTS from the assay development groups and optimise the assays to function at scale. Perform comprehensive assay validation, deliver screening of up to ~2M small molecule compounds and confirm actives in concentration response format through all relevant cascade assays.

  • Support scoping of new projects proposed for HTS. Includes primary assay technology selection plus implementation of relevant cascade assays e.g. orthogonal, selectivity, artefact etc.

  • Develop and maintain scientific and technology knowledge relevant to the role building expertise in specific aspects of benefit to the department.

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

  • Demonstrate scientific leadership through mentoring of less experienced staff to aid their development and performance with a focus on cellular screening

Essential for the role

  • Extensive experience in a wide range of cell screening technologies.

  • Experience in the planning and execution of biological assays to investigate novel targets in a range of assay formats.

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

  • PhD in a relevant scientific discipline or equivalent scientific experience

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

  • Solid understanding of data analysis principles as applied to large data sets and familiarity with data analysis software packages

  • Track record of scientific impact and leadership within drug discovery, across a range of projects and target classes

  • 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

Desirable for the role

  • Experience of High Throughput Screening and other hit finding methodologies.

  • Expertise in running screens using one or more of the following techniques:

    • Imaging

    • Transcriptomics

    • FLIPR

    • Stem cell/primary/3D models

  • A validated scientific track record of innovation and delivery within the field of small molecule drug discovery.

  • Strong understanding of the analysis and interpretation of screening data to understand mechanism of target engagement

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 22nd 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:

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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.