Fellow in Chemistry and Chemical Biology of Chronic Pain

Harvard Program in Therapeutic Science · Boston, Massachusetts
Department Harvard Program in Therapeutic Science
Employment Type Full-Time

The HMS Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology (LSP) and Harvard Therapeutics Initiative seek two postdoctoral fellows in chemical biology or medicinal chemistry to join a DARPA-funded multi-year project to develop new therapeutic drugs to block pain and inflammation. Existing therapies for pain are often liable to abuse, contributing to our current addiction and overdose crisis. We aim to develop effective alternatives while building out novel and highly efficient drug discovery platforms. In particular, we aim to systematically apply polypharmacology to the development of more effective treatments. 


The project involves a collaboration with an interdisciplinary team using stem-cell derived cell lines to perform primary and secondary screens for silencing of nociceptors (pain-sensing neurons). The candidate will oversee structure-activity studies and be responsible for hit-to-lead development, including oversight of outsourced (and potentially in house) medicinal chemistry. The candidate will learn the latest generation of cheminformatics tools, including those based on machine learning, while further developing skills in studies focused on investigative new drug (IND) development.


The fellows will be based in the HMS Lab of Systems Pharmacology, a dynamic cross-disciplinary research unit that integrates computational and systems approaches into all phases of drug discovery and development. The fellow will work under the mentorship of Prof. Peter Sorger, head of the LSP, and Prof. Mark Namchuk, Executive Director of Therapeutics Translational, and will work closely with internationally recognized experts in pain research, Profs. Clifford Woolf and Bruce Bean. They will join a collaborative group of postdoctoral fellows and staff, leveraging powerful in-house resources, including multiplexed phenotypic and high-throughput screens, extensive small molecule collections, protein structure prediction and docking pipelines, computational synthesis planning, and other innovative tools, to identify drug targets and mechanisms of action and validate novel molecules.


Candidates with an experimental focus should have a doctoral degree in chemistry, biochemistry,  or a related field and prior experience with small molecule screens, synthetic chemistry and/or the interpretation of small molecule SAR . Candidates with a computational focus should have a doctoral degree in chemistry, chemical physics/biology, systems biology or a related field and prior experience with cheminformatics. The initial appointments will be 24 months with a strong likelihood of renewal. Both posts are available immediately, but start date is flexible. A CV and cover letter are required for application.

Consistent with federal guidance, all Harvard employees, including those who are on 100% remote work status, must be fully vaccinated. Individuals who do not have a legal exemption and are not fully vaccinated by December 8, will no longer be eligible to work at Harvard.

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  • Location
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Department
    Harvard Program in Therapeutic Science
  • Employment Type