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Antiviral Medicinal Chemistry Postdoctoral Fellow Positions, Antiviral Program for Pandemics, Div.

National Center of Advancing Translational Services
Rockville, Maryland
Commensurate with experience based
Closing date
Mar 19, 2022

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Job Type
Full time
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The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a major research component of the National Institute of Health (NIH), seeks applications from qualified candidates to fill postdoctoral positions in medicinal chemistry in the Antiviral Program for Pandemics (APP) within the Center’s Division of Preclinical Innovation. Multiple positions are available for motivated individuals to work in a translational science laboratory team environment. The program will include multiple target-based projects requiring medicinal chemistry support for lead generation and lead optimization. The selected candidates will join a multidisciplinary team with biology, chemistry, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK), toxicology, structural biology, and informatics expertise to identify preclinical drug development candidates active against novel targets and pathways associated with SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses of pandemic potential. The candidates will be assigned to a mentor and will be expected to design and synthesize biologically active drug molecules.

Launched in June 2021 with more than $3 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan, the APP will accelerate the development of a portfolio of promising antivirals that can move rapidly into late-stage clinical trials to combat future pandemics. Having safe and effective oral antiviral candidates ready for deployment against a newly emergent virus would save lives, reduce serious illness and prevent overwhelming surges in hospitalizations during a viral outbreak or pandemic. NCATS will partner with extramural scientists and the private sector to advance drug discovery and development programs for oral antiviral candidates. NCATS can collaborate on projects with entry points anywhere along the development pipeline — and with flexible project exit points — to accelerate discovery and overcome the scientific, technical and enterprise barriers to delivering drug candidates.

Core Responsibilities

The selected candidates must be able to work independently and be well trained in multistep organic synthesis with the ability to synthesize, purify, identify, characterize and analyze compounds using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry. The selected candidates will keep accurate and complete records of all scientific experiments according to established procedures and ensure that these records and raw data are retained properly. They will draft technical reports, manuscripts and patent applications and will present work internally and to external consultants and collaborators as needed. The understanding of and previous experience or exposure to Structure-Activity Relationship studies and DMPK property optimization is desirable but not necessary. The selected candidate will work under the mentorship of a chemistry team leader and will be expected to learn about the cutting-edge technologies and expertise used for lead optimization in a drug discovery program.


Applicants should have (or expect to receive) a Ph.D. and have less than three years of postdoctoral experience in organic chemistry and/or medicinal chemistry. Experience in drug discovery and lead optimization is desirable but not necessary. Candidates should be independent thinkers and team players and be able to work in an interactive, fast-paced environment. Applicants must be well trained in the methods and concepts of organic chemistry and have experience in the following: organic synthesis (experience in heterocyclic chemistry is desirable), purification and analysis of reaction products, and design and testing of synthetic routes to novel compounds by proposing and reducing to practice multistep syntheses. Experience in methodology development is desirable. Further, experience in standard spectroscopic and purification methods, including NMR (routine pulse techniques for structure determination) and standard or automated liquid chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography methods is required.


Annual stipends are provided commensurate with experience based on the NIH Postdoctoral Intramural Research Training Award scale; medical insurance coverage will be provided. The fellow also may take part in Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences courses at NIH. The position is renewable for up to five years.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should email a cover letter describing their research and career goals, a current curriculum vitae with a complete bibliography, and the names of and contact information for three references to NCATS APP Hiring at Applicants also should indicate when they are available to start. Please note that the starting date of the fellowship is flexible but preferably within 2022. The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Learn more about NCATS’ role in the APP.

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