Discovery Scientist in Protein Degradation in Neuroscience & Rare Diseases Research

Switzerland, Basel-City, Basel

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At Roche, we believe it is urgent to deliver medical solutions now – even as we develop innovations for the future. We are passionate about improving the lives of patients with brain diseases, and strive for ambitious ideas, innovative approaches and urgent action. Our belief is that our success as a company will come from developing therapies for patients in need, which is why we come to work every single day. We commit ourselves to scientific rigor, unassailable ethics, and access to medical innovations for all. We do this today to build a better tomorrow.

Within Roche’s Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED), Neuroscience & Rare Diseases represents a major focus area where we are committed to realizing our long-term vision of changing lives of patients with severe brain disorders. Our preclinical research and early clinical development activities center around large and rare indications within the four major pillars of neurodevelopmental disorders, movement disorders, dementias, and multiple sclerosis. With unparalleled strengths across diverse disciplines, Roche is uniquely positioned to lead in transforming science to medicines for patients with disorders of the nervous system.

To achieve our goals, Roche pRED Neuroscience & Rare Diseases is currently undergoing a major  and exciting recruitment effort for a large number of new positions to further build our discovery engine for the next generation of transformative therapies.  Among these we are seeking a Discovery Scientist  in Protein Degradation in the Section of Neural Signalling  within the Department of Neuroscience & Rare Diseases Research. All positions are based in the Roche Innovation Center Basel in Switzerland.

The position

As Discovery Scientist you will be an integral part of the Protein Degradation Lab within the Neural Signalling Section in the Neuroscience & Rare Diseases Research department. In this 100% permanent position you will perform lab research roughly 50% of your time while leading research and early portfolio projects for drug discovery efforts towards the goal of targeting pathways related to protein degradation in neurons and glia. In our highly collaborative and multidisciplinary pharma research matrix environment you will perform exploratory activities focusing on various intracellular protein degradation mechanisms and pathways with respect to Neuroscience & Rare Diseases indications. In addition you are expected to provide support for assay development, establish screens for early drug discovery projects, provide intellectual input towards understanding of disease mechanisms, and propose new drug targets and approaches to target proteins in the brain in specific cell types. In this single contributor role with initially no direct reports you will be mentored and trained to lead an early drug discovery project and project team of 8-10 people with the goal to develop you towards an independent preclinical pharma research scientist, lab head and Roche Research Project Leader. This position is ideal for individuals with relevant technical expertise who are motivated to switch from an early academic position (postdoc level) to a pharma industry research career and to get introduced to the new way of working in such an environment.

Your main responsibilities 

  • While performing substantial hands-on lab work (~50% of the time), you also will be the subject matter expert on proteasomal and related protein degradation pathways and lead, perform and build up efforts in Neuroscience and Rare Diseases Research towards state-of-the-art methodology and approaches in this field with a focus on applications to drug discovery. 

  • Under mentorship of an experienced Roche Research Project Leader you will lead an early drug discovery research project team of roughly 8-10 people (no direct reports)

  • You will propose new drug targets and therapeutic approaches and lead research aimed at advancing drug discovery projects through the pipeline starting from identification of protein degradation targets, target validation, design of in vitro assays for screening, design and execution of proof of mechanism studies. 

  • You will support development and characterization of relevant biochemical, cellular and rodent models to explore and test protein degradation.

  • You will effectively, design, plan, execute, document and communicate scientific research and results both within the departments as well as to supporting functions. 

  • You will summarize scientific novelty from your research, submit patent applications and present your results at conferences and publish in peer-reviewed journals

  • You will also join a vibrant multicultural team of scientists, associates, postdocs and students working towards innovative approaches to drug discovery in CNS disorders. In that environment you will be asked to train or supervise as non-line manager research associates, postdocs, students and trainees.

Who you are

Must haves

  • You have a PhD in Biochemistry, Life Sciences,  Molecular and Cellular Biology, Medical Biotechnologies/Biology, Neuroscience, or a related field

  • You are working or have been working as a postdoc related to protein degradation (UPS related pathways preferred) or proteinopathies, ideally on a CNS or neurodegeneration related topic or have proficient hands-on technical experience in proteasomal protein degradation in non-CNS cell types (e.g. in cancer biology) that can be applied to the brain too

  • You have strong hands-on protein biochemistry expertise and apply this in cells and tissue 

  • You are proficient in animal and cellular modeling of proteinopathies or protein degradation and ideally have experience with viral vectors in this context; hands-on experience with mammalian or primary cell culture techniques is expected 

  • You have a deep understanding of cutting-edge methodologies for studying/assessing subcellular compartments/mechanisms including fluorescent or other reporter-based live-cell imaging (i.e. Incucyte, Operetta, or similar), confocal microscopy or other high resolution imaging of cell culture experiments or immunostaining of brain tissue and you are proficient in related image analysis and quantification

  • You are passionate about Neuroscience & Rare Disease drug discovery, scientific rigor is a genuine part of your working style, and you bring a flexible mindset to an agile department with fast-paced project work

  • You have a proven scientific publication track record in the field of proteinopathy or protein degradation, ideally with links to Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative disorders

  • Experience with working in drug discovery projects in biotech / pharmaceutical industry is a plus but not a prerequisite

  • You are well self-organized and -driven and have excellent communication skills in English (speaking and writing) and are proficient at planning, recording, and executing experiments and data analysis. 

  • You have strong interpersonal skills to lead collaborative research work in a multi-disciplinary matrix structure and the motivation to grow eventually into an independent lab head and people leader


  • You are familiar with disease mechanisms related to proteinopathies of the CNS including tauopathies, synucleinopathies or related disorders and have experience with in vivo models for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease;  having a Swiss LTK1/2 or respective European Felasa or similar certificate is a plus

  • basic understanding of principles of pharmacology (e.g. potency / efficacy, measures of receptor occupancy / target engagement, strategies to define a pharmacologically active dose etc.) is a plus;

  • Knowledge of iPSC or co-culture systems and methods is a plus;

  • You are tech savvy and keen to learn or develop novel methods (including single cell multi-omics) and implement them in your work process. Associated with this,  you are also used to interact with bioinformaticians or data scientists or are trained in handling large data-sets yourself; experience in structural biology and EM is a plus

Are you ready to apply? Roche embraces diversity and equal opportunity in a serious way. We are committed to building teams that represent a range of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. 

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For non-EU / EFTA citizens: Please state your eligibility status to work in Switzerland (e.g. B-Permit, C-Permit) and note that if you do not own a valid Swiss work permit, Roche cannot guarantee your final employment due to authority regulations.