Science Writer - Peptide Biology Laboratory, Dr. Alan Saghatelian

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Oct 28, 2020
Full time   Biology/Biotechnology/Life Sciences

Job Description

Posting Details

    • Posted: July 20, 2020
  • Full-Time
  • Locations

    Showing 1 location
    Salk Main Campus

    La Jolla, CA, USA
    Salk Main Campus

    La Jolla, CA, USA
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Job Details


Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all position (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.

The Opportunity:

Melding the principles of directed evolution and engineering to rationally design novel biological devices  —macromolecules, viruses, and cells — that transform the detection and treatment of diseases ranging from genetic syndromes to cancer, inflammation and infectious disease.

The Need: We now know the underlying genetic and molecular targets that cause many devastating diseases, such as, cancer, inflammation and infection. Yet we grapple with a frustrating challenge: for most of these diseases, there are no effective treatments, much less cures. We desperately need new therapies that overcome the limitations of traditional small molecule drugs.  To conquer disease, we need medicines that are as biologically sophisticated as the diseases themselves.

Our Approach: Design is the ultimate test of understanding; to engineer new life, the defining act of creativity. The aspirations of the Redesigning Biology and Medicine Initiative are to explore new frontiers by combining Big Data, engineering and synthetic biology to create transformative medicines. We are developing therapeutic processing units (TPUs) that are assembled from libraries of DNA modules and synthetic gene circuits into viral, cellular and microbial medicines that sense and target disease with unprecedented selectivity and potency.  Our initial focus is on cancer, inflammation, vaccines and gene therapy.

 Why you?

We are looking for a singular individual who can work together as part of an interdisciplinary team in translating foundational discoveries and transformative therapies into landmark papers and multi-million-dollar research funding. This will require an ability to understand, synthesize and simplify complex ideas into foundational principles described in technically correct but memorable and compelling prose. The ideal individual will be a world class scientist and master storyteller who can convey verbally and visually science at the frontiers between fields and translating these discoveries into text-book contributions and transformative therapies.

 "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
--Benjamin Franklin

 "The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself."
--Albert Camus

"Words are a lens to focus one's mind."
- Ayn Rand



 Writes and/or edits complex content for grant proposals, peer-reviewed publications, patents and communications. In collaboration with faculty and lab members, prepares grant applications and papers pertaining to new frontiers in cancer, virology, structural biology, synthetic biology, imaging, molecular biology and biotechnology. Ideal person is responsible for editing and coordinating the written content-technical and stylistic-together with associated figures for papers and grant proposals with the lab members and faculty.  He or she must be able to meet proposal submission deadlines and funding goals, relate scientific and strategic goals to individual grant opportunities, and remain informed about information technologies, research trends, and research development within the PIs as well as other research institutions, universities and government entities within the field.  


(50%) Proposal Development

  •  Facilitates and executes the scientific writing and development of research proposals from ideation to submission.
  • Researches, writes, edits, and reviews grant proposals and supporting documents in collaboration with faculty.
  • Requires the candidate to stay up to date on the science.
  • Provides project management for proposal development by establishing and coordinating milestones, internal deadlines, meetings, e-mail reminders, calendar updates, etc., to ensure timely submission.
  • Tracks all aspects of proposal development; conducts outreach to selected external stakeholders, team members, and sponsors; and provides specialized services to enhance the competitiveness of submissions.

(50%) Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Facilitates and executes the scientific writing and development of research manuscripts by working with investigator teams to plan for a successful manuscript.
  • Works closely with faculty and researchers in translating scientific/research concepts into appropriate language for publication. Writes, edits, and reviews critical sections of a manuscript.



  •  Writes stylistically compelling and grammatically correct documents.
  • Excellent written and verbal English
  • Adept communicator -capable of working with diverse personalities and translating world beating science into elegant prose and landmark papers
  • Ability to communicate and translate the scientific question and significance to both a technical and lay audience is critical
  • A minimum of three years of experience in successful writing of published papers and funded grant proposals.
  • Experience managing multiple projects, priorities, and deadlines
  • Experience writing and coordinating interdisciplinary research proposals and papers with multiple collaborators.
  • Demonstrated experience in researching, writing and submitting grant applications.
  • Demonstrated experience reading and interpreting funding agency program announcements or requests for applications and development of proposals that are in compliance with agency requirements.
  • Strong interest in and ability to quickly comprehend faculty scientific programs.
  • Advanced analytical skills in researching and analyzing scientific research issues. Sound knowledge of scientific research design and methods, and strong ability to interpret and evaluate research results (i.e. data analysis, statistics, etc.). Ability to codify ideas into coherently written manuscript and/or proposal.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills to manage the writing process (research, draft preparation, review, and revision) of complex grant proposals and deliver fundable proposals in a timely manner to meet both interim and final deadlines.
  • Ability and specialized skills to take initiative and independently plan, organize, coordinate, and perform work in various situations where numerous and diverse demands are involved



  •  Expertise with Papers and software for managing references/bibliographies
  • Expertise with Adobe software suite (Photoshop, Illustrator) and powerpoint to facilitate the preparation of figures
  • Ability to organize data, references, and text into easily accessible and shared folders for grants and papers



  • M.S. in biological sciences. 


  • Ph D. in biological sciences.




  • Proven effective, clear and concise verbal and written communication skills including the ability to effectively interact with a diverse population and broad cross section of individuals including principal and co-investigators and other Institute stakeholders.
  • Ability to write clear and concise reports, memoranda, directives, letters, proposals and grant applications.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.


  • Ability to perform statistical analysis; analyze data and make accurate projections using business mathematics and basic statistics.
  • Experience in writing grants, including NIH R01 proposals.
  • Experience using and implementing collaboration and document management platforms, such as Sharepoint, Basecamp, Google docs or similar for project management.
  • Knowledge of research funding sources, including NIH, voluntary health agencies and other funding sources.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with Microsoft Office suite to create technical and sophisticated written communication materials.

Physical Requirements: 

This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside.



Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

Application Details

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