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Job Details

Merck & Co, Inc

Postdoctoral Research Fellow - VHH Sequence Optimization

Science and Research

Biological Research


South San Francisco, California, United States

Job Description

Be a part of the legacy: Postdoctoral Research Fellow Program

Our Research Laboratories’ Postdoctoral Research Fellow Program aims to be a best-in-industry program for industrial postdoctoral researchers, designed to provide you with an academic focus in a commercial environment. With the resources, reach, and expertise of a large pharmaceutical company, postdoctoral researchers will be positioned to excel in an institution committed to breakthrough innovation in research and discovery.

Position Overview:

We are seeking a talented and motivated Postdoctoral Scientist with expertise in biochemistry and a strong interest for protein/antibody modeling and in-silico predictive approaches to join the Protein Purification and Analytical Characterization group part of the Protein Sciences Department at the company's Discovery Biologics site in South San Francisco. The successful candidate will develop a high throughput analytical characterization platform to understand key sequence attributes which are impactful for the developability of single-domain antibodies (VHHs). This large dataset will shed light on key biophysical properties which are important for optimal developability of this new biologics modality. The postdoctoral fellow will work in close collaboration with data Scientists at our company to use the data generated to develop, train and validate in-silico developability sequence-based prediction tools and machine learning algorithms. The candidates should have strong and documented expertise in protein purification using atmospheric and FPLC based purification methods and chromatographic supports and analytical characterization methods including but not limited to: UP-SEC, Reverse Phase (RP), thermal and chemical stability assessments (Nano-DSF), DLS, capillary electrophoresis etc.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Express and purify large numbers of VHH molecules

  • Analyze generated molecules using current biophysiochemical characterization methods

  • Develop and implement new characterization methods as needed

  • Review data and use statistical analysis approaches to identify patterns and correlations

  • Actively participate to the design of new variants of VHHs based on learnings from previous rounds of purification, analytical characterization and statistical analysis outcomes

  • Actively participate in the development, training and validation of in-silico developability sequence-based prediction tools and machine learning algorithms

  • Actively participate in the lab life and maintain needed lab equipment

  • Comply with company data retention and lab safety policies and procedures

  • Complete required trainings

  • Attend and actively participate in department and group meetings

  • Attend and actively participate to our company and external scientific symposiums and meetings/seminars

  • Literature mining

  • Write and review publications and manuscripts

Education Minimum Requirement:

  • Candidates must currently hold a PhD or will you have completed your PhD within the next year, in biochemistry, biologics, engineering (structural).

Required Experience and Skills:

  • Strong expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology techniques and methods

  • Protein expression using CHO, HEK and E. coli systems

  • Protein purification including atmospheric and FPLC based approaches (AKTA systems preferred)

  • Protein analytical characterization such as UP-SEC, RP, DLS, CE-SDS, Nano-DSF etc.

  • Basic statistical analysis

  • High attention to detail and scientific and technical problem solving

  • Must have strong organizational skills to deal with large amounts of data

  • The candidate should exhibit excellent communication and collaborative skills for working on cross-functional multi-disciplinary teams

Preferred Experience and Skills:

  • Previous experience working with VHHs preferred

  • Antibody/ VHHs biochemistry experience preferred

  • Protein/Antibody in-silico structure modeling experience is a plus

  • Initial machine learning and in-silico predictive sciences experience preferred

  • Previous experience with high throughput technologies and methods for antibody/ VHHs analytical characterization is preferred


We are a research-driven biopharmaceutical company. Our mission is built on the simple premise that if we “follow the science” that great medicines can make a significant impact to our world. We believe that a research-driven enterprise dedicated to world-class science can succeed by inventing medicine and vaccine innovations that make a difference for patients across the globe.

Who we are …

We are known as Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, New Jersey, USA in the United States and Canada and MSD everywhere else. For more than a century, we have been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Today, our company continues to be at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions and advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and animals around the world.

What we look for …

Imagine getting up in the morning for a job as important as helping to save and improve lives around the world. Here, you have that opportunity. You can put your empathy, creativity, digital mastery, or scientific genius to work in collaboration with a diverse group of colleagues who pursue and bring hope to countless people who are battling some of the most challenging diseases of our time. Our team is constantly evolving, so if you are among the intellectually curious, join us—and start making your impact today.


In accordance with Managers' Policy - Job Posting and Employee Placement, all employees subject to this policy are required to have a minimum of twelve (12) months of service in current position prior to applying for open positions.

If you have been offered a separation benefits package, but have not yet reached your separation date and are offered a position within the salary and geographical parameters as set forth in the Summary Plan Description (SPD) of your separation package, then you are no longer eligible for your separation benefits package. To discuss in more detail, please contact your HRBP or Talent Acquisition Advisor.

Post Doc:

Under New York City, Washington State and California State law, the Company is required to provide a reasonable estimate of the salary range for this job. Final determinations with respect to salary will take into account a number of factors, which may include, but not be limited to the primary work location and the chosen candidate’s relevant skills, experience, and education.

Expected salary range:


Available benefits include bonus eligibility, health care and other insurance benefits (for employee and family), retirement benefits, paid holidays, vacation, and sick days. For Washington State Jobs, a summary of benefits is listed here.

Employees working in roles that the Company determines require routine collaboration with external stakeholders, such as customer-facing commercial, or research-based roles, will be expected to comply not only with Company policy but also with policies established by such external stakeholders (for example, a requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to access a facility or meet with stakeholders). Please understand that, as permitted by applicable law, if you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and an essential function of your job is to call on external stakeholders who require vaccination to enter their premises or engage in face-to-face meetings, then your employment may pose an undue burden to business operations, in which case you may not be offered employment, or your employment could be terminated. Please also note that, where permitted by applicable law, the Company reserves the right to require COVID-19 vaccinations for positions, such as in Global Employee Health, where the Company determines in its discretion that the nature of the role presents an increased risk of disease transmission.

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We are proud to be a company that embraces the value of bringing diverse, talented, and committed people together. The fastest way to breakthrough innovation is when diverse ideas come together in an inclusive environment. We encourage our colleagues to respectfully challenge one another’s thinking and approach problems collectively. We are an equal opportunity employer, committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace.

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Search Firm Representatives Please Read Carefully
Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ, USA, also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC, Rahway, NJ, USA, does not accept unsolicited assistance from search firms for employment opportunities. All CVs / resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at our company without a valid written search agreement in place for this position will be deemed the sole property of our company. No fee will be paid in the event a candidate is hired by our company as a result of an agency referral where no pre-existing agreement is in place. Where agency agreements are in place, introductions are position specific. Please, no phone calls or emails.

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Requisition ID:R208403