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ID#:Lab Director - 722    Posted: 14 Sep 2011
Lab Director, New Delhi, India
Type of Position: Full-time   
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Deadline: 1 Jan 2038
IAVI
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a nonprofit scientific and charitable organization founded in 1996 whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. IAVI's work focuses on four areas: implement a focused & innovative Research & Development (R & D) program; secure and sustain global commitment; promote public policies that support vaccine R&D and future access; and engage as partners the countries significantly affected by the epidemic where the need for a vaccine is most pressing.
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DETAILS

The Program Director, will gain approval for the execution of the overall scientific and operational plan from the THSTI-IAVI Program Steering and Management Committee.

S/He will report directly to the IAVI Country Director – India, with a technical reporting line to the Vice President for Vaccine Design, in New York. The position will have 3 Principal Investigators and a Scientific Project Manager as direct reports, 

Location Gurgaon, National Capital Region, India

Primary Purpose 
Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) an initiative of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), have entered into a joint collaborative program to accelerate and advance HIV vaccine research and development. THSTI and IAVI are seeking a Program Director for our new joint collaborative program located in Gurgaon, National Capital Region of Delhi, India. The Program Director will lead, plan, monitor, review, coordinate and guide all scientific and operational aspects of the laboratory, ensuring integration with THSTI’s vision and mission and the scientific agenda of IAVI’s global Neutralizing Antibody Consortium and scientific collaborators. His/Her key responsibility will include providing the program with scientific direction and be responsible for the quality of work conducted.

The Vaccine program will include the establishment of a new laboratory on the campus of THSTI in the National Capital Region of New Delhi.  The program will primarily focus on one of the greatest scientific challenges of AIDS vaccine design and development: the elicitation of antibodies capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of circulating HIV variants, a problem that stems in large part from the almost unparalleled mutability of HIV.

The program shall be an integral part of the THSTI cluster of research centers and will be closely linked to global network of R&D facilities, including IAVIs Neutralizing Antibody Consortium (NAC) and IAVI Design and Development lab, situated in Brooklyn, New York. The Design Lab examines novel AIDS vaccine platforms and immunogens, standardizes preclinical testing of AIDS vaccine candidates, and develops candidates for evaluation in clinical trials. HIV Vaccine Design Program will capitalize on recent research advances that have sparked a renaissance in AIDS vaccine R&D. In September 2009, scientists at IAVI and their colleagues in the Neutralizing Antibody Consortium (NAC), which is run by IAVI, reported the isolation of a pair of potent and very broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV. That discovery, the first of its kind in a decade, was followed by the isolation of other broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) by researchers at the Vaccine Research Center of the US National Institutes of Health and of still more by the IAVI-affiliated team. The most promising of these antibodies are now being scrutinized by researchers to elucidate the specific mechanisms by which they bind to and neutralize HIV. The idea is to create artificially synthesized mimics of their targets on HIV, to be used in vaccines to elicit similarly potent bNAbs and teach the immune system how to thwart HIV infection.


Strategy of the research program

The program shall engage scientists, build scientific capacity in India, enhance global R&D efforts for HIV Vaccine, strengthen efforts to share and commercialize scientific knowledge and foster inclusive innovation.  It would be an innovative discovery program and will be directed at designing, testing and implementing high-throughput (HT) strategies for HIV-1 envelope-based immunogen screening and prioritization to help discover and advance novel HIV vaccine candidates.  The program is targeted to expand the number of vaccine candidates for testing, and enhance the speed with which they can be assayed.  The unique industrial-type high-throughput vaccine design, screening and selection processes proposed will be largely facilitated by interdisciplinary interaction and thus driven by principles of international collaboration, high-quality science and vaccine-oriented applied research. 
The program as a part of thee THSTI cluster through various alliances including IAVIs Design Lab in Brooklyn, NY, the IAVI NAC Center and Scripps Research Institute at La, Jolla, CA, will share ideas, facilities and resources collectively to solve the neutralizing antibody problem in selected areas and will contribute to the training program among the partners for fellows and young innovators. The efforts would be through established high-throughput screening and analysis to conduct Prototype activities for high- through put discovery and screening platform technology. Proto-array’s and B-cell assays activities will also be conducted and based on the proof-of-concept studies will be converted to high-throughput validated screens for identification and prioritization of immunogens for animal testing.

Key Responsibilities:

• The Program Director will lead, plan, monitor, review, coordinate and guide all scientific, legal and operational aspects of the Program ensuring integration with THSTI’s vision and mission and the scientific agenda of IAVI’s global Neutralizing Antibody Consortium and scientific collaborators.
• The Director will prepare, refine and gain approval for the overall scientific plan from the THSTI-IAVI Program Steering and Management Committee and also interact with THSTI, Executive Committee of IAVI NAC and relevant entities to facilitate/execute the same. 
• S/He will be responsible for the key initiatives on technology mapping and sourcing plans, including establishing and managing key technology partnerships (academics, consultants, inventors and, industry) to support these efforts.  
• S/He will serve as a member of the Program Management Committee and report to it, regularly on progress.  
• S/He will be responsible for the efficient management and functional excellence of the Program. 
• S/He will be responsible for the recruitment, management and mentoring of scientific and operational staff. 
• S/He will prepare and monitor the Program budget as per the scientific plan.
• S/He will have additional key responsibilities will include: ensuring that the highest quality of scientific skill, diligence and rigor is applied to all projects within the Program and establishing effective working relationships, scientific linkages and collaborations with other scientists within THSTI cluster and IAVI NAC and also with THSTI and IAVI India office.

ELIGIBILITY

Qualifications:

 • M.D. or Ph.D. degree in a biological science. 
Experience:  • Over 10 years in HIV research, high throughput screening, immunogen design and vaccine development. Knowledge of: 
 Protein production for analytic use
 Development of assays useful for the assessment of proteins and immunological responses
 High throughput methods
 Immunology of infectious disease and vaccination
 Virology of persistent virus infection especially HIV or HCV
 Generation and testing of experimental vaccines
• Experienced in leading and mentoring a group of scientists. 
• Ability to manage short-term and long-term lab resource needs and facility budgets to achieve the set objectives.
• An understanding of priority-setting, resource management and the bridge-building required to foster scientific cooperation. 
• Experience working on vaccine design and development in partnership with diverse collaborations of stakeholder.

Competencies:
 • Good recognition in India as well as internationally. 
• Since this role encompasses working with various labs in different geographical locations, the candidate must be able to integrate them, thus bringing about a greater synergy across different collaborations & stake holders. 
• Champion innovator – be able to provide scientific direction.
• Leadership Skills- Ability to lead and mentor a group of scientists
• Decision making abilities in the backdrop of a challenging project, resource management, ambitious goal setting in a globally diverse and highly matrixed environment
• A team player and team-builder who is willing to work with and patiently align diverse stakeholders who maintain their individual autonomy and decision-making. 
• Strong written and oral communication skills and should have significant record of professional accomplishment including publications, patents and invited speaking engagements.





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