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Job Details

Merck & Co, Inc

2024 University Recruiting - Discovery Biologics Co-op

Science and Research

University Research


South San Francisco, California, United States

Job Description

The Future Talent Program features Co-ops that last up to six (6) months and will include one or more projects. These opportunities in our Research & Development Division can provide you with great development and a chance to see if we are the right company for your long-term goals.

For the candidate: These positions in our company's Research Labs will provide you with a great development opportunity and a chance to see if we are the right company for your long-term goals.

For our organization: We get to meet the best and brightest individuals who represent the future of scientific endeavor in the US.

Our Company is a global health care leader with a diversified portfolio of prescription medicines, vaccines, and animal health products. Today, we are building a new kind of healthcare company – one that is ready to help create a healthier future for all of us.

Our ability to excel depends on the integrity, knowledge, imagination, skill, diversity, and teamwork of an individual like you. To this end, we strive to create an environment of mutual respect, encouragement, and teamwork. As part of our global team, you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with talented and dedicated colleagues while developing and expanding your career.

We are seeking candidates with a passion for scientific research, excellent academic performance, communication skills, teamwork, and the ability to work in a multi-functional environment. A strong science background in applied laboratory settings, computer science or cheminformatics is essential. Applicants with previous research experience in the listed areas are highly preferred. You will be provided with laptops/lab equipment etc. as necessary to perform the role. Potential involvement in a scientific publication may occur as a result of the research undertaken during the Co-op.

The department of Discovery Biologics is offering multiple Co-ops in the following disciplines:

Protein Analytical Characterization

The protein characterization group is using various analytical protein characterization techniques to characterize biologics, support protein engineering initiatives and help guide candidate selection for development. The candidate will be involved in implementing new analytical methods for protein characterization and developability assessment of biologics modalities (monoclonal antibodies, bispecifics, antibody and protein scaffolds, Antibody-drug-conjugates (ADCs). Prior experience with methods such as SEC, HIC, RP, DSF, SPR, ELISA and automation would be beneficial. The candidate will learn how to characterize biologics, interpret data, optimize protocols and develop new methods to help support protein engineering and biologics candidate selection. The Co-op will be exposed to many areas of research relevant to the drug discovery and development process.

Mass Spectrometry

The Mass Spectrometry group within Protein Sciences department is using various Mass Spectrometry-based methods to characterize biologics to support protein sciences core activities and enable biologics candidate selection for progression to development. The candidate will be involved in developing new mass spectrometry methodologies for biologics characterization (antibodies, bispecifics, fusion proteins, antibody drug conjugates, and bioconjugates). The position requires candidates being passionate about developing analytical methods. Prior experience with protein characterization using LC-MS and familiarity with different ionization methods (e.g., CID, ETD, HCD, and UVPD) is strongly preferred.

The candidate will learn how to characterize biologics, interpret data, optimize protocols and develop new methods to help support protein engineering and biologics candidate selection. The Co-op will be exposed to many areas of research relevant to the drug discovery and development process.

Biologics Engineering, Expression, Purification

The successful candidate will work to support biologics discovery by using some or all of the following methods: molecular biology, protein design, engineering, protein expression in mammalian cells (transient, stable cell lines), protein purification (using various chromatographic support and chemistries such as affinity, ion-exchange, hydrophobic, size-exclusion chromatography) and characterization using methods including SDS-PAGE, CE-SDS, SEC, and etc. The Co-op will be exposed to many areas of research relevant to the drug discovery and development process.

Biologics Design & Display

The Biologics Design and Display group uses computational methods combined with yeast and phage display to identify and engineer novel therapeutic proteins. The Co-op working in this group will gain experience in a broad range of techniques from molecular biology, microbiology, and protein engineering.

Biologics Automation & Capabilities

The Biologics Automation & Capabilities group uses advanced automation and novel capabilities such as microfluidics to enable and enhance the discovery and engineering of biologics. The Co-op working in this group will gain experience in a broad range of automation skills as applied to the discovery biologics pipeline. Prior experience with automation is NOT required. Students will also learn the fundamentals of molecular biology, cell culture, and protein engineering.

Early Biotherapeutics Characterization

The Early Biotherapeutics Characterization group leverages phenotypic cell-based assays and biophysical measurements to evaluate biologics hits and leads for engineering efforts. Students working in this group will gain hands on experience with techniques to measure protein-protein interactions and/or cell-based function assays to enable protein engineering.

Gene & Cell Therapy

The Gene & Cell Therapy group focuses on the development of novel mRNA and cell-based therapies such as CAR T cell therapies. Students working in this group will gain experience in modern cell engineering methods to develop CAR T cell therapies.

Early Biologics and Technologies

The Early Biologics and Technologies group operates at the intersection of technology platforms, protein engineering, cellular assays, and antibody discovery to build next generation biotherapeutics with ground-breaking properties. The group collaborates with a wide spectrum of therapeutic area biology and drug discovery experts across our company and places a strong emphasis on demonstrating proof-of-concept with an iterative design-build-test process. Students will have the opportunity to join a breadth of existing early discovery projects and will be expected to initiate their own pilot project opportunities.

The Co-op will be responsible for accurate electronic notebook recording, safe laboratory practices, and presentation of data and their interpretation to a team of scientists. The intern will also attend departmental and team meetings to gain a wider perspective of the drug development process in the pharmaceutical industry.

NOTE: Co-ops are available in South San Francisco, CA; Boston, MA or Cambridge, MA based on candidate preference and business need. If a candidate is selected for an interview, he/she must be prepared to submit letters of recommendation, a brief research statement, and a copy of his/her transcript. Applicant must also select a location preference.


  • Candidates must be currently enrolled in a Bachelor's degree or higher education in biology or other related field with demonstrated interest/experience in research areas relevant to the drug discovery process

  • Candidate must have completed at least two (2) years of studies towards a Bachelor's degree OR at least one (1) year towards a Master’s/Ph.D. degree by June 2024

  • Candidate must be continuing with education towards a degree after the Co-op completes

Required Experience and Skills:

  • Candidate must be able to commit to a full-time onsite position for 10 - 12 weeks starting June 2024
  • Basic laboratory skills and research experience such as: protein biochemistry, biophysics molecular biology, protein expression and purification, protein characterization using biochemical and biophysical techniques, and safe lab practices
  • Be a champion for inclusive and diverse culture

Preferred Experience and Skills:

  • Expertise in computational protein engineering and machine learning with substantial expertise in predictive protein and antibody structure and significant interest in applying modeling/informatics methods towards drug discovery research

  • Experience with protein engineering, protein expression in mammalian cells and purification

  • Experience with mammalian cell culture and in vitro functional assays

  • Past experience characterizing proteins using techniques such as HPLC/UPLC (SEC, HIC, RP), CE-SDS, SPR, MS analysis

  • GPA of 3.0 or higher

Under New York City, Colorado State, 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:

$39,600.00 - $105,500.00



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.

Current Employees apply HERE

Current Contingent Workers apply HERE

US and Puerto Rico Residents Only:

Our company is committed to inclusion, ensuring that candidates can engage in a hiring process that exhibits their true capabilities. Please click here if you need an accommodation during the application or hiring process.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability status, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. For more information about personal rights under the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment laws, visit:

EEOC Know Your Rights

EEOC GINA Supplement​

Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination

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.

Learn more about your rights, including under California, Colorado and other US State Acts

U.S. Hybrid Work Model

Effective September 5, 2023, employees in office-based positions in the U.S. will be working a Hybrid work consisting of three total days on-site per week, generally Tuesday, Wednesday and either Monday or Thursday, although the specific days may vary by site or organization, with Friday designated as a remote-working day, unless business critical tasks require an on-site presence. This Hybrid work model does not apply to, and daily in-person attendance is required for, field-based positions; facility-based, manufacturing-based, or research-based positions where the work to be performed is located at a Company site; positions covered by a collective-bargaining agreement (unless the agreement provides for hybrid work); or any other position for which the Company has determined the job requirements cannot be reasonably met working remotely. Please note, this Hybrid work model guidance also does not apply to roles that have been designated as “remote”.

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.

Employee Status:

Intern/Co-op (Fixed Term)


No relocation

VISA Sponsorship:


Travel Requirements:

No Travel Required

Flexible Work Arrangements:



1st - Day

Valid Driving License:


Hazardous Material(s):


Requisition ID:R255459