Gene Expression Optimization Research Lead

Join the Spark Team


We were born of innovation, springing from the curiosity, imagination and dedication of remarkable scientists and healthcare visionaries. Our shared mission is to challenge the inevitability of genetic disease by discovering, developing, and delivering treatments in ways unimaginable – until now.


We don’t follow footsteps. We create the path.


The Gene Expression Optimization Research Lead will manage one or more research programs as part of the Discovery group where s/he will be responsible for the development of novel gene expression cassettes with improved efficacy and safety profiles. Responsibilities will include directing and overseeing discovery programs that support translational research of gene therapies. Specifically, these will involve implementing strategies to develop more potent expression cassettes which incorporate spatial and/or temporal control of transgene expression for gene therapy purposes leveraging a strong understanding of mechanisms underlying transcription and translation, promoter and enhancer functions as well as non-coding elements to modulate expression. Prior experience with screening and constructing novel promoter and enhancer elements, optimizing sequence (coding and non-coding) and utilizing genetic circuit engineering for cell- and state-specificity is desired.


  • Facilitating translation of Discovery projects from in vitro through in vivo proof-of-concept in support of current and future therapeutic programs.
  • Delivering rigorous, interpretable and scientifically sound workflows to facilitate product development (e.g. design and implementation, validation, in vivo proof-of-concept, etc.)
  • Providing leadership within a group of scientists/research associates.
  • Initiating and overseeing joint programs and collaborations with external parties.
  • Establishing and managing project timelines and ensuring work is completed according to schedule.
  • Training and developing staff at varying levels of experience.
  • Writing study reports, manuscripts and presenting results at appropriate scientific meetings.

45% - Lead a team of scientists initiating and developing discovery programs through to preclinical development.  Mentor and develop staff. Ensure departmental goals and objectives are met and aligned to the broader organizational goals and objectives.   

25% -Identify and evaluate novel means of optimizing expression cassettes. Design and trouble-shoot experiments based on personal experience and literature review. Prepare and deliver scientific presentations at internal and external meetings

15% - Set project priorities, plan workload, manage resource and personnel scheduling

10% - Prepare sample analysis reports, study reports, etc.

5% - Hands-on execution of experiments on the bench.


Ph.D. in a relevant scientific discipline (e.g. cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, etc.).

•             Typically has 10+ years of hands-on experience in the field of gene therapy.

•             Hands-on research experience with optimizing expression cassettes and/or synthetic biology using a combination of in vitro and in vivo methods and models.

•             Experience in AAV gene therapy and/or in key therapeutic areas, such as hematologic, metabolic, ocular and/or CNS disorders is a plus.

•             Previous management or supervisory experience strongly preferred.

•             Strong publication record is a plus.

•             Experience managing external collaborations is a plus.


Strong organizational skills.

•             Experience with next-gen sequencing, barcoding, high throughput screening and other enabling technologies.

•             Strong understanding of mechanisms underlying transcription and translation, non-coding elements, promoters and enhancer functions.

•             Experience with studies in laboratory animals.

•             Excellent communication skills (both oral and written).

•             Strong leadership, analytical and problem-solving skills.

Salary Range
$76,000.00 - 135,000.00
per Year
Salary range estimated by
Philadelphia, PA 19019, US