Kernal is creating mRNA drugs that instruct specific cells in the body on how to make their own medicine. Messenger RNA technology has proven extremely useful in rapidly developing vaccines against COVID. Kernal is developing the next generation of mRNA therapy, called mRNA 2.0. It solves a critical problem of cancer cell selectivity that affects mRNA and oncolytic virus-based immuno-oncology drugs. Located in Cambridge, MA, Kernal received three awards from Amgen and NASA. With roots at MIT, Harvard, and Big Pharma, Kernal’s interdisciplinary team of M.D.s and PhDs previously built a successful Biotech company and has deep expertise in mRNA space.                          

Job Summary: 

Kernal is seeking an individual with deep expertise in the mRNA therapeutics and synthetic biology field to lead mRNA therapeutics development efforts. This person will report to the Head of Platform and work closely with computational biology and mRNA delivery teams to execute on company goals. In addition, this person will oversee and, when necessary, help with routine in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo work. The successful candidate must be able to work in a fast-paced and highly dynamic startup environment. The ideal candidate will be an outstanding leader and a great team player with excellent communication skills and a practical, inspiring management style.

Responsibilities: 

  • Independently design, execute and analyze preclinical studies
  • Work closely with computational biology and LNP teams to deliver on technical milestones
  • Lead the team and guide the company’s mRNA strategy
  • Work with senior management to expand the company’s R&D team
  • Stay up-to-date on pertinent literature and prepare technical reports and white papers for internal use
  • Assist in I.P. filings and manuscript preparations
  • Manage CROs and collaborate with academic partners for external preclinical studies
  • Present scientific findings internally and externally at critical scientific conferences and industry events
  • Design and construct DNA Template for in vitro transcription
  • Analyze mRNA product quality via Nanodrop, Bioanalyzer, HPLC, etc.
  • Develop purification methods for in vitro transcribed mRNA
  • Test IVT mRNAs in vivo and in vitro 
  • Optimize the mRNA production processes
  • Automate RNA synthesis and purification processes
  • Independently design and execute experiments to develop and optimize processes for mRNA synthesis
  • Contribute creatively and strategically to assay design, development, and process optimization.
  • Collaborate closely with other computational and wet-lab scientists.
  • Maintain thorough electronic lab notebooks and documentation records
  • Deliver reproducible and impactful results under ambitious timelines, present results in cross-functional meetings to a broad audience, both internally and externally.
  • Proactively evaluate new technologies, be versed with current literature, and implement new features and functionality into the mRNA platform.
  • Execute and troubleshoot standard protocols, develop and adopt new protocols into practice, and query literature to incorporate additional assays as needed
  • Collect, archive, process, and organize biological samples
  • Identify and lead external research relationships with academic and commercial partners.

Requirements: 

  • Ph.D. or M.D., plus a minimum of 3 years (post-degree) industrial experience conducting cutting-edge research in Biological Engineering, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or related field, with specialization in mRNA therapeutics
  • Deep knowledge of synthetic biology and mRNA therapeutics
  • Expertise in RNA vector design, plasmid engineering, in vitro transcription, RNA purification, and transfection in mammalian systems
  • Advanced knowledge and significant experience with primer design, DNA isolation, and DNA assembly, seamless cloning,
  • Experience with diverse molecular biology and microbiology techniques, including DNA/RNA analysis, DNA, RNA, and protein purification, western blot, PCR, qRT-PCR, ELISA.
  • Experience with animal studies, mammalian cell culture, and analysis of protein expression and gene reporter systems with various techniques as confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, cell luminescence, imagine systems, and quantitative data analysis
  • Experience with automation
  • Experience with nucleic acid purification and chemistry, enzyme kinetics, and analytical characterization of biomolecules
  • Experience with analytical techniques HPLC, MALDI-TOF MS, LC-MS/MS, NMR a plus
  • Experience with bioprocess engineering principles, process modeling, and Design of Experiment (DoE) statistical tools and GMP regulations
  • Creative, innovative, problem solver, self-driven, and demonstrated ability in working with highly skilled teams in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial setting.
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, capable of conveying technical information clearly and thoroughly.
  • Excellent track record in scientific accomplishments as demonstrated by publications, patent applications, and critical contributions to Go/No Go decisions.
  • Independent, innovative mindset to thrive in a startup setting
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills, ability to perform well in multi-disciplinary project teams
  • Successful track record in management of scientists and associates
  • A deep sense of ownership for research projects
  • Evidence of independent, creative thought in developing and implementing ideas to answer critical questions
  • Dedication and loyalty to the team and the company
  • Alignment with the company’s ultimate goal of serving cancer patients

Benefits:

  • Highly competitive healthcare coverage  
  • Highly Competitive 401k  
  • Flexible Spending Account 
  • Paid parental leave, family caregiver leave, medical leave  
  • Paid insurance coverage 
  • Competitive vacation and sick days per year 
  • On-site subsidized cafeteria  
  • Free parking, monthly subway pass, or a subsidized commuter rail pass  
  • Free MIT Athletic Membership   
  • Free Bluebikes Membership  

Kernal is dedicated to providing a diverse work environment and is committed to equal employment opportunities for all its employees and qualified applicants. We do not discriminate in employment practices for reasons of race, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital or veteran status, religion, disability, or any other legally protected status. Kernal will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities by applicable law.

 

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