Opportunity Details

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics


Associate Professor/Full Professor

Director, Center for Drug Discovery

Washington University seeks an impactful and collaborative scientific leader with industry experience for the newly created position of Director, Center for Drug Discovery (CDD). The CDD supports and facilitates preclinical discovery research in both small molecule and biologic-based therapeutics and provides services and consultation to PIs across the entire enterprise. The CDD currently comprises a state-of-the-art high-throughput screening (HTS) core facility and medicinal chemistry services.

Reporting to the Vice Chancellor for Research with matrixed reporting to the Chief Commercialization Office and Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, the Director leads a group of scientists responsible for consulting and partnering with principal investigators (PIs) to develop strategies and execute the identification and validation of disease biology for advancement into clinical development. The Director will grow and expand the CDD’s biologics capability through proactive engagement with the WashU research community.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

Consulting and Project Management
Provide advice and strategic consultation to investigators on methods to advance molecules through the drug development process. Makes recommendations on drug design, potential therapeutic applications, and regulatory and development pathways. Manage ongoing drug development projects working with CROs, PIs, and other stakeholders to ensure project timelines and milestones are met. Serve as connector and conduit, introducing PIs with other potential collaborators/partners. Develop and provide written reports, data sets, technical summaries, and presentations to communicate project outcomes/recommendations.

Pipeline Development/Outreach 
Builds CDD biologics pipeline through ongoing marketing strategies:
Regularly communicates CDD opportunities to the research community through the promotion of grant award programs, speaker panels, hosting/attending workshops, and distribution of the CDD newsletter. Develops and executes new business development/growth strategies. Sets and meets productivity goals and growth targets.

Provides administrative oversight of CDD operations including:
Meets regularly with the CDD team to review operations and set priorities. Hires, mentors, and develops new staff and provides regular feedback. Reviews and approvals of contracts, POs, and Center finances. Develops and manages annual budget and maintains a roster of qualified CROs and other partners/vendors. Project management; reviews and assigns new and ongoing projects. Provides progress reports to the Vice Chancellor for Research, Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Chief Commercialization Officer, and the Provost.

Strategic Collaboration  
Collaborates with key research centers, Office of Technology Management, Vice Chancellor for Biopharmaceutical Strategy, and Cortex Research Community to advance the goals of the CDD; participates in relevant university strategic initiatives. 

Develops and Manages independent research projects. Participates in publishing and grant writing. 

Minimum Qualifications

  • PhD in a relevant scientific field plus 8-10 years of experience in pre-clinical drug development in a biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, or CRO setting.
  • At least 5 years of experience supervising scientists and leading multi-disciplinary teams.

Preferred Qualifications

  • PhD in a relevant scientific field plus 10-15 years of experience in pre-clinical biologic drug development.
  • Deep knowledge of the drug development process from basic science to commercialization (IND). 
  • Demonstrated experience in managing relationships with CROs and other outsourcing partners.
  • Strong track record of independent and innovative research as evidenced by publications in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Tenure track appointment in the School of Medicine as an Associate or Full Professor is available for qualified candidates.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Experienced at identifying and prioritizing research projects in early-stage drug discovery.
  • Proven track record for transitioning targets from early-stage drug discovery into the clinic.
    • Ability to build professional relationships across a wide range of stakeholders and staff including senior leadership. 
    • Ability to lead cross-functional teams and collaborate with colleagues in Chemistry, PK, Pharmacology, Discovery Toxicology, Biology, etc.
      • Detail-oriented and highly organized, with the ability to manage multiple projects and meet deadlines.
      • Excellent diplomacy and interpersonal skills. High EQ with the ability to navigate group and organizational dynamics.
      • Adept at navigating a complex, matrixed environment.
      • Ability to work in a lean environment; enjoys being hands-on.
      • Strong oral and written communication skills.
      • Stays abreast of biopharma/pharma drug development field and regulatory trends

      Application Process

      Outstanding individuals with experience in translational drug discovery are encouraged to apply. Minority and women scientists are especially encouraged to apply.

      Please submit a resume/CV, letter of interest, and a brief description of your research interests. For confidential inquiries, please contact Nancy Donohoo, ndonohoo@wustl.edu

      EEO Statement

      Washington University is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.

      Nancy Donohoo





      An Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer

      Washington University in St. Louis is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. It is the university’s policy to recruit, hire, train, and promote persons in all job titles without regard to race, color, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, veteran status, disability, or genetic information. Washington University seeks an exceptionally qualified and diverse faculty; women, minorities, protected veterans and candidates with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

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