Pfizer Senior Principal Scientist, Computational Biology in Cambridge, Massachusetts


Pfizer is making significant investment in the creation of novel, first-in-class therapeutics, by combining internal discovery and validation of drug targets with external partnerships to produce clinical drug candidates for the Pfizer pipeline. This position will work within the Target Sciences (TS) group, which has collective expertise in human genetics and functional genomics, computational biology and data management, and target validation biology, and an overall remit to discover and validate hypotheses for novel, emerging science drug targets. The primary responsibility of this position is to design, develop, execute and interpret computational experiments, utilizing relevant internal and external biological data sources, to advance drug-discovery targets within Pfizer's Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) and emerging science target hypotheses emanating from public data, commissioned data, and from Pfizer's industrial-academic partnerships. To this end, the position will work closely with the emerging science geneticists, biologists and functional genomics scientists in TS, as well as with the academic-partner scientific leads and CTI project leads. This position will advance the development and use of bespoke data integration environments, analytical and visualization tools, and supporting pipelines and workflows that enable key computational experiments, and will also work to leverage and extend cross-R&D tools and capabilities that address specific TS computational needs. The position requires a deep expertise in computational biology, bioinformatics and data integration techniques; a practical, working knowledge of disease pathophysiology in at least one disease area of interest to Pfizer R&D; experience in progressing target hypotheses and projects through computational approaches and insights; and an ability to achieve impact through focus and prioritization within a wide swath of potential target opportunities and early-stage discovery projects.


  • Be accountable to and work with senior CTI staff, the Emerging Science genomics and biology groups, academic partnership scientific co-leads, and TS portfolio management to: Ensure strategic and functional alignment around target identification and validation needs and activities in the emerging science space; identify opportunities where novel, innovative scientific and computational approaches or technologies could be applied to advance critical target validation objectives; and champion innovative proposals that translate strategy into action.

  • Deliver computational analyses of high-dimensional datasets, e.g., RNA-Seq, NGS, proteomics or metabolomics, from model systems, disease systems, and molecular profiling databases to understand the interplay between disease biology, genes and mechanisms that enable progression of emerging science target hypotheses and discovery projects.

  • Integrate multiple levels of biological information to inform protein-disease networks in the context of emerging science drug discovery.

  • Provide hypotheses and insights based on complex, multi-dimensional data analyses to inform and aid in design of biological validation studies to be conducted by the Emerging Science genomics and biology groups, CTI project teams and/or RU project teams for functional validation (e.g., siRNA, CRISPR/Cas9) of emerging science target hypotheses and projects.

  • In partnership computational colleagues from other departments and with biostatistics experts, identify novel data sources, computational methods, and external collaborations that will grow capabilities in computational target validation.

  • Lead key internal/external collaborations that secure access to innovative computational methodologies and/or relevant datasets to advance our ability to understand disease pathophysiology from large-scale molecular and phenotypic data.

  • Manage direct computational resources to achieve goals on strengthening emerging science target hypotheses and advancing CTI projects, drawing on the broader skillsets of colleagues


  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology, Biological Sciences, Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics or other natural science required; 7+ years relevant experience applying quantitative approaches to solving biological problems, preferably in a pharmaceutical, biotech or comparable context.

  • Strong, practical background in human biology/medicine, with a practical, working knowledge of disease pathophysiology in at least one disease area of interest to Pfizer R&D, e.g., Immunology & Inflammation, Oncology, Rare Disease, and Internal Medicine.

  • Curiosity about biological and pathological processes and mechanisms.

  • Proficiency in multiple programming, scripting, querying or statistical analysis languages, incl. R, Python, PERL and SQL.

  • Demonstrated expertise in the design, development, execution and interpretation of data generation and computational experiments on in vivo and in vitro biological data, especially RNA-Seq or other NGS data.

  • Demonstrated expertise in delivering insights and hypotheses from complex multi-dimensional biological data in a biomedical context.

  • Pharmaceutically relevant experience or formal training in computational biology, bioinformatics, computer science or medicine.

  • Demonstrated ability for sound experimental design of in-silico experimentation/workflows required, in addition to ability to effectively interface with Emerging Science / CTI biologists to communicate/discuss results, ideas, and follow-up experiments.

  • In depth knowledge of relevant public and proprietary databases, methods and tools.

  • Demonstrated experience leading limited duration, cross-disciplinary teams to achieve specific goals.

  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written) as demonstrated by publications and presentations.

EEO & Employment Eligibility

Pfizer is committed to equal opportunity in the terms and conditions of employment for all employees and job applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or gender expression, national origin, disability or veteran status. Pfizer also complies with all applicable national, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act and IRCA. Pfizer is an E-Verify employer.

Sunshine Act

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Last Date to Apply for Job: March 1, 2019

  • Eligible for Relocation Package

  • Eligible for Employee Referral Bonus

Pfizer is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all applicable equal employment opportunity legislation in each jurisdiction in which it operates.