SMART CAMP (Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine) is a new interdisciplinary research programme in Singapore (CREATE international research campus and innovation hub) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). SMART CAMP addresses key technology bottlenecks in cell therapy manufacturing: (i) critical quality attributes of safe, effective cell therapy products; and (ii) integrated process analytics to monitor and modulate those attributes. While cell therapies are poised to transform healthcare for both the industry and the patient, there remain many outstanding scientific and technical challenges to significant global impact that this R&D programme addresses. This high-impact focus includes measurement and feedback control of processing parameters (process analytic technologies, or PAT) that contribute to cell viability and function during cell proliferation, and the measurement at intermediate and final steps of the cell product properties correlated with positive therapeutic outcomes (critical quality attributes, or CQA).
This interdisciplinary team comprises engineers, biologists, clinicians, manufacturing, and data analytics experts from multiple MIT academic units, and multiple Singapore-based universities, research centres of excellence, and hospitals who are experienced at translational demonstrations of technologies in safety-regulated industries such as cell therapies. As with all postdoctoral associates (PDAs) in SMART CAMP based in Singapore, the PDA will work in a diverse team of experts including several principal investigators (PIs) and PDAs, and receive direct mentorship regarding career development from a pair of who are based in Singapore and at MIT, respectively.
CAMP’s unique, enabling and cross-cutting capabilities include cell and clinical biology, microfluidics, real-time optics and spectroscopies, 3D-printed devices, process analytics, data analytics, and bioinformatics. This programme will demonstrate these approaches required of cell-based personalized medicine through three translational testbeds (three Flagship Projects), ultimately facilitating access for more patients to life-saving, approved cell therapies for currently intractable health challenges. These flagship projects will address allogeneic and autologous cell therapy products, including but not limited to cell sources including adult stem/progenitor cells and immune cells for treatment of specific cancers, tissue degeneration, and autoimmune diseases.
Flagship Project 1: Label-free critical quality attributes (CQA) for personalized efficacy of cell therapies, including multivariate analysis of biological and biophysical attributes
Flagship Project 2: Rapid critical quality attributes (CQA) for safety of cell sources & cell therapy products, including process analytic technologies (PAT)
Flagship Project 3: Integrated process analytic technologies (PAT) for cell proliferation and recovery, including in-line and intermittent monitoring to promote efficacy and safety CQA
CAMP Flagship Project 3 – Process analytics that include microcarrier protocols/materials for adherent-cell culture systems
Process analytic technologies (PAT) for cell therapy manufacturing must be accessible to or integrated with the culture vessels in which the cells are expanded to sufficient cell number and quality. This can be especially challenging for adherent cell types such as mesenchymal stromal cells, for which production scaleup includes cell adhesion to microcarrier beads and subsequent removal from those surfaces for most types of cell therapy product administration. This PDA will focus on therapeutic applications of MSCs and the means for improving their efficacy through process optimization in an automated cell culture platform. Protocols for scalable production of MSCs on microcarriers that exhibit established CQA will be developed. High-throughput process optimization will be conducted on microbioreactor arrays that have been adapted for the production and facile retrieval of adherent cells on microcarriers.
- Development of protocols for production of high-quality MSCs adhered to microcarriers
- Validate CQA including proliferation and label-free correlates of cell potency, as well as efficient retrieval of viable cells, from candidate microcarriers within a bioreactor
- Work closely with other team members who are developing novel analysis tools and clinical partners that are defining critical quality attributes for optimal potency and efficacy of the MSCs
- Ph.D. degree in biological/biomedical engineering, biology/life sciences or a related field is required. An interdisciplinary research background in stem cells, mesenchymal stromal cells, translational science, biophysics, and data analytics is an asset.
- Knowledge and demonstrated skill set in MSC biology or application science, cell culture, primary tissue handling, bio/molecular assays and experimental techniques including microscopy (confocal, high-content), multi-parameter flow cytometry, secretome analysis, etc.
- Able to work well and communicate ideas effectively in a multidisciplinary team of researchers with different training backgrounds
- Good track record of publications and scientific output
- Self-motivated, independent, with superior organizational and analytical skills
- Able and committed to work in Singapore
To apply, please visit our website at: http://smart.mit.edu/careers/career-opportunities. Interested applicants are invited to send in their full CV/resume, cover letter and list of three references (to include reference names and contact information). We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be notified.