Pfizer Senior Associate Scientist (Non in La Jolla, California

Cancer Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics seeks to discover and develop novel vaccines for the treatment of various cancers by using a variety of vaccine technology platforms in combination with immunomodulatory agents. We are searching for a motivated individual with both a solid scientific understanding of immunology (cancer immunology a bonus) and experience in the theory and practice of multiple immunoassay and cellular techniques to join the Immunology group. The candidate will be required to proactively apply their knowledge to conduct experimental work plans provided by their supervisor and effectively complete their work semi-independently and as a member of larger assay teams. The candidate will be required to summarize and critique their results, with guidance from their supervisor, as well as communicate data effectively at functional line and project team meetings.

This role is predominantly laboratory-based (80% of time) with a major emphasis placed upon implementing state-of-the-art immunologic techniques, and routinely conducting high-quality assay work in an organized and safe manner. Primary responsibilities will include preparing and culturing lymphocytes, maintaining cell lines, performing cell-based immune readouts (ELISpot, intracellular cytokine staining, and cytotoxicity assays), profiling cell populations using flow cytometry, conducting serology assays (ELISA and MSD), preparing tissue sections for immunohistochemical analyses, and performing RNA/DNA extractions from cells and tissues.

Laboratory and related work (80% of time) with minimal supervision:

  • Define study aims and experimental plans with supervisor and follow detailed SOPs to run a variety cell-based immunoassays and serological assays on large panels of samples generated from vaccine project studies.

  • Maintain tumor cell lines and prepare suspensions of lymphocytes from tumors, tissues and blood for use in cellular assays.

  • Perform immune cell profiling and intracellular cytokine staining using high-dimensional flow cytometry. Work will include cytometry setup, sample acquisition and data analysis.

  • Perform ELISA and MSD assays on serum samples and tumor lysates

  • Prepare tissue sections from fixed/embedded samples and stain for immunohistochemical analysis

  • Safely handle and isolate immune cells, DNA and/or RNA from animal tissues containing infectious viral vectors.

  • Accurately analyze experimental data and, with support of supervisor, generate high-quality data summaries for interpretation by project teams. This will include assisting with accurate quality control of data conducted by other colleagues.

  • Regularly record experimental work upon completion in electronic notebook systems and archive instrument raw data in server databases in a timely fashion.

• Identify and report any experimental problems, proactively troubleshoot causative factors, and implement necessary corrections following discussion with supervisor.

  • Support general laboratory operations including daily preparation of media, buffers, and solutions, weekly ordering and restocking of laboratory supplies, and maintenance of equipment and instruments as needed.


  • Actively participate in discussions, contribute ideas at work group and functional line meetings.

  • Provides clear, concise and timely responses for data and experimental information to line manager.

  • Excellent interactive skills with people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.


  • Adhere to use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in standard laboratory spaces and dedicated viral vector use areas.

  • Comply with all EH&S regulations and safe laboratory practices and act as a vigilant advocate for the safety of fellow colleagues.

  • Identify and act to reduce hazards and risks in the laboratory through use of risk assessments and job-based hazard assessments.

  • Work safely with human, non-human primate and murine blood and tissue samples that may contain infectious agents.


• B.S. degree in life sciences (preferably including coursework in immunology and cancer biology)

• 3+ years of experience working in a biotech or pharma laboratory setting that routinely performs cellular and humoral immunoassays on samples from animal models and/or humans.

• Practical understanding and application of statistical methods to experimental design and outcome measures.

• Highly organized in daily tasks.

• Effective verbal and written communication skills; listens well and can properly translate verbal instructions into actions.

• Preference for local candidates (no relocation assistance available).

Mental and Physical Requirements

• Ability to perform mathematical calculations, read/understand/perform written protocols, perform moderately complex data analyses, and use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and GraphPad software packages.

• Ability to stand, sit, walk, bend, and lift objects in a laboratory setting.

• Ability to sit and stand in standard business office settings.

Other requirements:

• Will be required to work with BSL2 infectious viruses (e.g., Vaccinia virus, adenovirus, influenza) and must receive and maintain required vaccinations or provide satisfactory proof of same.

Other Job Details:

  • Eligible for Employee Referral Bonus

EEO & Employment Eligibility

Pfizer is committed to equal opportunity in the terms and conditions of employment for all employees and job applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or gender expression, national origin, disability or veteran status. Pfizer also complies with all applicable national, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act and IRCA. Pfizer is an E-Verify employer.

Sunshine Act

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Pfizer is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all applicable equal employment opportunity legislation in each jurisdiction in which it operates.