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RNA Delivery Formulation Discovery and Characterization Scientist (with a focus on lipid nanoparticles [LNPs], liposomes, and polymeric delivery)

  • Research & Development (Wet Lab)
  • Full-time
  • Hyderabad, IN

Posted on August 15, 2023

PopVax is an Indian biotechnology company based in Hyderabad. We are funded via research agreements with the Gates Foundation and Vitalik Buterin’s biosecurity company Balvi. For the past year, we have been building a novel second-generation mRNA platform for low-cost broadly-protective vaccines via computationally-driven antigen design, starting with an open-source booster vaccine candidate that is intended to protect against the entire sarbecovirus species and, if things go well, the betacoronavirus genus, including current and future strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

We work extensively on the discovery and development of novel lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulations and other mechanisms for nucleic acid delivery, with a focus on new delivery modalities and the improvement of the long-term thermostability of mRNA formulations to make them compatible with the realities of developing world pharmaceutical supply chains. We are recruiting both junior and senior candidates to contribute to this work, in particular with a background in the life sciences, chemistry, microfluidics, or interdisciplinary engineering, with prior experience in some subset of formulation discovery (including the synthesis and evaluation of LNPs, liposomes, or polymeric delivery vehicles), microfluidics, particle size analysis (via DLS or other methods), and nucleic acid quantification.


  • MSc or PhD in a life sciences or related discipline (for example chemistry, biophysics, or a relevant branch of engineering) with at least one substantial project demonstrating prior experience in nucleic acid (RNA or DNA) delivery or an adjacent delivery modality in either academia or industry.

  • An ability to read and understand diverse literature across the many disciplines relevant to nucleic acid delivery to distill the best new ideas in the field and apply them to our work.

  • A track record of coming up with and successfully executing new ideas in nucleic acid delivery and formulation, or a related field.

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. The ability to present scientific findings clearly and concisely is a vital and non-negotiable component of success at PopVax.

  • A collaborative mindset and the ability to work effectively within a team environment.

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities, with a demonstrated track record of independently interpreting experimental data and troubleshooting technical challenges.

  • A willingness to shoulder substantial and often repetitive formulation and characterization workloads on a daily basis when needed.

  • A desire to rapidly learn, troubleshoot, and master new experimental techniques.


Note that you don’t need experience in all of this, just a subset, but the more experience you have across these areas, the better.

  • Lipid or polymer-based drug delivery and formulation, preferably for nucleic acids, and ideally for mRNA in particular.

  • Microfluidics, preferably for lipid or polymeric nanoparticle synthesis, encapsulation, and characterization.

  • Formulation or nanoparticle characterization, including particle size and zeta potential measurements, pKa determination, and viscosity.

  • Nucleic acid quantification techniques such as RiboGreen-style assays and NanoDrop-style spectrophotometry.

  • Gel electrophoresis for nucleic acid and protein characterization (including by Western blot).

  • Formulation or nanoparticle downstream purification methods such as ultrafiltration and TFF.

  • Cell-culture of immortalized cell lines, as well as transfection of nucleic acids and nucleic acid formulations.

  • Cell-based assays such as reporter assays (luciferase, GFP) and ELISA.

  • The setup and operation of high-throughput in vitro screening protocols for delivery formulations.

  • Formulation or assay automation, including lab automation equipment setup and programming.

  • Animal studies of drug or vaccine delivery formulations, ideally nucleic acid delivery.

We offer very competitive compensation, comprehensive health insurance with an option to cover immediate family (including pre-existing conditions), and, most importantly, a collaborative work environment focused on solving the cutting-edge multidisciplinary challenges of our novel mRNA delivery platforms.