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Astellas Pharma Associate Director, Natural Killer Cell Engineering in Seattle, Washington

Universal Cells conducts clinical-grade gene editing of stem cells and has a major effort in R&D. We design and produce stem cells that avoid rejection, and we engineer cells with improved therapeutic properties, all through our world-class gene editing platform. We aim to provide cells for regenerative medicine applications that can treat all patients. Through internal R&D and our corporate partnerships we are pursuing a diverse range of disease indications, including blindness, cancer, vascular insufficiency, and autoimmune diseases. Universal Cells is located in Seattle, WA.

Universal Cells is announcing an Associate Director, Natural Killer Cell Engineering opportunity at their facility in Seattle, WA.

Universal Cells is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astellas Pharma. Astellas is an R&D-driven global pharmaceutical company whose philosophy is to contribute to the improvement of people's health around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products.


Responsible for leading cross-functional research and development teams to ensure operational excellence/quality in the design, execution and completion of studies/projects. Oversees and manages scientists and research associates. May participate in global/local regenerative medicine initiatives, including due diligence teams.

Reporting to CSO, the candidate will assist in the design and facilitate the implementation of programmatic objectives for our Natural Killer cell therapy program. S/he will provide subject matter expertise and mechanistic insight into the development, differentiation, and therapeutic indications of Natural Killer cells, in particular universal donor NK cells derived from pluripotent stem cells. S/he will ensure timelines and quality standards are met and play an integral role in troubleshooting technical issues, inspiring team members to excel and be accountable for meeting deliverables and contributing to strategic improvements.

Essential Job Responsibilities:

  • Experience to lead a program focused on NK cell therapies with in depth understanding of translational science, pathophysiology, and clinical unmet needs.
  • Demonstrated industry experience or academic achievement, as evidenced by drug development portfolio or publications in high impact journals.
  • Conceptual knowledge of innate and adaptive immune cells and immunomodulatory cytokines. Hands-on experience in cytotoxicity assays and culture of lymphocytes/NK cells.
  • Uses professional concepts in accordance with company objectives to solve complex problems in creative and effective ways. Performs research and/or development in collaboration with others. Participates in relevant partnership activities and scientific meetings as indicated.
  • Manages a team of 2-4 direct reports with a primary focus on demonstrating NK cell functionality.
  • Conducts hands-on experimentation as needed. Excellent scientific writing and editing as well as written/oral communication skills.
  • Makes detailed observations, analyzes data and interprets results. Prepares technical reports, summaries, protocols, and quantitative analyses. Presents progress at group meetings.
  • Exercises technical discretion in the design, execution and interpretation of experiments that contribute to project goals.
  • Maintains high level of professional expertise through familiarity with scientific literature.



  • BS with 15+ years of highly relevant experience will be considered
  • MS with 10+
  • Ph.D. with 8+ highly relevant experience, 6+ years of post-doctoral experience in lymphocyte/immunology research


  • Experience with human or mouse pluripotent stem cell manipulation.
  • Experience with managing team in preclinical R&D.
  • Experience in the embryologic and fetal development of immune cells.


Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Protected Veterans/Disabled

Category Research and Development