Senior Neuroscientist


Full Job Description

Position Title:    Senior Neuroscientist (or Research Associate) Biological Neural Networks

Job Summary:  Vala Sciences, Inc., is seeking a Senior Scientist to join our neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation research program to develop automated biological neural network analyses on human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models. The successful candidate will culture iPSC-derived neuronal models with combinations of neurons and glia, develop kinetic assays including single-cell readouts of action potentials and calcium transients, and work with biologists, software engineers and bioengineers to develop analyses of neuron-neuron input-output (I/O) relationships, and add them to existing analyses of cell function (e.g., synaptogenesis). The neuroscientist will utilize our proprietary live-cell fluorescent video technology, Kinetic Image Cytometry (KIC), to measure cellular responses to active pharmaceutical agents and toxicants in models used for neurodegenerative disease drug discovery and neurotoxicity. The model candidate will have extensive experience with the preparation and handling of iPSC-derived neuronal culture models, experience utilizing fluorescent microscopy methods for phenotypic response quantification, a high level of interest and/or industry experience in drug discovery, and an interest in participating in pharmaceutical/biotechnology company partnerships for drug discovery.  We are looking for a team player that can operate in a fast paced, dynamic environment and has a track record of significant contribution to iPSC-based discovery programs. Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills are a must.

Responsibilities & Duties:

  • Develop automated biological neural network analyses on human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models, including refining iPSC-neuron, -microglia and -astrocyte coculture models to optimize synaptogenesis and network communication/maturation.
  • Develop, prepare and use novel iPSC-derived and complex co-culture models, refine methods and establish SOPs to differentiate iPSCs into mature neuronal and glial cultures, develop new methods for assaying the effects of chemical reagents on cellular function, conduct mechanistic studies, perform data analysis, and effectively communicate results from these activities.
  • Perform screens on automated KIC and laboratory screening equipment
  • Organize, plan and execute core lab activities for multiple screening projects
  • Analyze screening data, and prepare and present scientific research results both internally and to customers/collaborators
  • Teach these newly developed techniques to biologists
  • Guide data scientists and software engineers to help them develop new analysis algorithms
  • Participate in the assay and screening design and development in collaboration with collaborating/contracting pharmaceutical companies, including development of statements of work with descriptions of experiments
  • Write government grant proposals and/or participate drafting with the Chief Research Officer (CRO), CEO and other Vala scientists
  • Assist with marketing efforts, including website updates, social media postings, and attending conferences and other networking events
  • Identify new opportunities and possibilities for expansion and development

Qualifications & Skills:

  • Ph.D. (minimum MS) in neuroscience
  • Extensive experience with human iPSC-derived brain cell cultures
  • Experience performing assay development for microscope imaging (phenotypic, image-based) / high content) screening modalities.
  • Experience utilizing imaging platforms and working directly with computational and data scientists to collaboratively solve technical challenges for the analytical measurement of cellular responses
  • Solid background in general cellular/molecular/genomics biology techniques
  • Comfortable with data analysis and tools such as MS Office suite
  • Experience with Prism, R, Python, and MATLAB a plus
  • Strong organizational, written and verbal communication skills.
  • Capable of working independently and in a team environment

Salary Range:  $70,000-$115,000 depending on skills and experience

Work Environment:

Vala Sciences, Inc., builds high-speed kinetic image cytometry (KIC), AKA video microscopy (analogous to “slow motion” cinematography) instruments for single-cell analyses of fast activities (action potentials, contraction, etc.) of human stem cell-derived brain, heart, muscle, and other cell types; develops and validates assays and screens for use in early drug development in pharmaceutical companies; and develops new therapeutics for related diseases.

The scientist will work in a lab performing experiments about 50% of the time and at an office desk about 50% of the time performing analyzing results and composing reports, publications and presentations of them. Safe lab practices must be followed at all times following established guidelines.


  • Paid Time Off
  • Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance
  • 401(k)

Job Type: Full-time


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