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 1 – Multimodal biophysical cytometry and instrumentation
To translate cell CQA into cell manufacturing process analytics with translational impact at sufficient speed and resolution, new optical approaches are required. This PDA will study of the biophysics of cellular autofluorescence, and the engineering of tools to utilize this feature for cellular cytometry. CAMP seeks to apply this technology to characterize the activity/energetic state of cell therapy products, including cells that either do or do not require surface adherence to maintain viability and proliferation.
- Development of optical instrumentation for monitoring the redox profile of single cells in the adherent or suspended state
- Improve data analytics for this optical cell characterization modality
- Investigate the underlying biophysics to establish a deeper understanding for cellular autofluorescence, and how that may correlate with important biological properties for cell therapy products including tissue stem and progenitor cells, committed immune cells, and genetically engineered cells that are/not adherent. This study will be conducted in collaboration with PDA biologists in CAMP due to its interdisciplinary nature.
- Ph.D. degree in biological engineering, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or other relevant fields is required. An interdisciplinary research background in optics, biophysics, data analytics, and cell biology is an asset.
- Strong hands-on ability to carry out experimental engineering / instrumentation
- Proven track record in the field of imaging / optical engineering and image analysis
- Creativity to solve challenging technical problem with uncertainty
- Good communication skills to work with researchers from biological / clinical backgrounds
- 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.