Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Principal Investigators

A Principal Investigators (PI) for a key scientific partnership

The Organizations

The Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) is an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and technology, Government of India is as a part of the interdisciplinary Health Biotech Science cluster, located in the National Capital Region. It is an ambitious initiative which creates the unique institutional environment for the conduct of truly multidisciplinary research that translates scientific and technological advancements into medical innovations that will improve human health. The other members of the cluster include the Regional Center for Biotechnology (RCB) under the aegis of UNESCO and the NII with which THSTI will have seamless scientific collaboration to achieve the interdisciplinary expertise. The cluster institutions will have access to state of the art experimental animal facility and the platform technology center for the sophisticated instrumentation.

In collaboration and partnerships with research institutions and hospitals, the THSTI is designed to be a dynamic and interactive organization with a mission to conduct innovative translational research and develop research collaborations across disciplines and professions to accelerate the development of concepts into tangible products and provide affordable technologies and solutions that address global healthcare challenges. It also aims to produce researchers, physicians and business professionals with training that spans a range of convergent disciplines, and will contribute to a worldwide network of leaders who share a global awareness that will inform and inspire their work.

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global, not-for-profit, public-private partnership organization working to speed the search for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. Founded in 1996, IAVI, and its network of partners operate the second largest AIDS vaccine research and development program in the world. IAVI also advocates for a vaccine to be a global priority and works to assure that a future vaccine will be accessible to all who need it. IAVI is a young, dynamic and mission-driven organization, and the work environment is fast-paced and intellectually stimulating IAVI’s culture is one that involves working collaboratively with a variety of internal and external peers, using scarce resources effectively, and sharing a common sense of commitment, purpose and sensitivity to cultures that binds IAVI’s staff and its collaborators together.

IAVI’s scientific program operational in 24 countries identifies and advances vaccine candidates by an active and growing intramural vaccine effort linked to a network of global partners comprising more than 30 private companies and academic and government agencies worldwide. In the last six years, IAVI and its network of partners have translated innovative technologies into six vaccine candidates that have entered human trials in 11 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. IAVI’s Human Immunology Laboratory, housed at Imperial College London, links HIV vaccine laboratories worldwide and provides comprehensive training and support to field laboratories and clinical staff involved in IAVI-sponsored trials. IAVI has also brought together leading international HIV researchers to form two integrated scientific consortia: the Neutralizing Antibody Consortium (NAC) and the Vector Design Consortium to address major obstacles in AIDS vaccine development.

Position Overview

In a global search effort, THSTI and IAVI are seeking Principal Investigators for their new joint program located in Gurgaon, National Capital Region of Delhi, India. It will be an innovative discovery program and will be directed at designing, testing and implementing high-throughput (HT) strategies for HIV-1 envelope-based immunogen screening and prioritization to help discover and advance novel HIV vaccine candidates. The program is targeted to expand the number of vaccine candidates for testing, and enhance the speed with which they can be assayed. The unique industrial-type high-throughput vaccine design, screening and selection processes proposed for the THSTI-IAVI HIV-1 Vaccine program will be largely facilitated by interdisciplinary interaction and thus driven by principles of international collaboration, high-quality science and vaccine-oriented research.

The laboratory where the program shall be implemented will be an integral part of the THSTI cluster of research centers. The program will be closely linked to global network of R&D facilities, including IAVIs Neutralizing Antibody Consortium (NAC) and IAVI Design and Development lab in Brooklyn, New York. The Design Lab examines novel AIDS vaccine platforms and immunogens, standardizes preclinical testing of AIDS vaccine candidates, and develops candidates for use in clinical products.

Key Responsibilities

The Principal Investigator (PI) will formulate, lead, and guide all scientific aspects of the Program related to his/her area of research under the broad direction of the Program Director. The Principal Investigator (PI) is charged to conduct research that generates independent, high quality, and reproducible results. The Principal Investigator is responsible for the management and integrity of the design, conduct, and reporting of the research project and for managing, monitoring, and ensuring the integrity of any collaborative relationships. Additionally, the Principal Investigator is responsible for the direction and oversight of compliance, financial, personnel, and other related aspects of the research project and for coordination with other departments within the program to assure research is conducted in accordance with established regulations and THSTI-IAVI policies and procedures. The PI also has primary responsibility for achieving the technical success of the program, while also complying with the financial and administrative policies and regulation for the THSTI-IAVI program. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Administers and oversees research and all related activities related to his/her group.
  • Execute the project as outlined in the work plan, using sound management techniques
  • Develop and manage the project’s budget & financial plan or make changes to the plan following a prescribed set of policies and procedures.
  • Review, preparation and monitor the necessary scientific protocol to ensure compliance with policies and procedures.
  • Oversee the conduct of research and research team to help ensure ethical conduct in all aspects of the research process including but not limited to conflicts of interest, data acquisition, management, sharing and ownership, publication practices, responsible authorship, and collaborative research and reporting.
  • Obtain, maintain, and safeguard equipment used to conduct research
  • Report on project progress as outlined in the project plan and maintain accurate records of project related activities and expenses.

Reporting Relationship

The Principal Investigator, reports directly to the Program Director of the THSTI-IAVI HIV Vaccine Design Program.


The Principal Investigator will have a strong foundation in science and be an experienced vaccine scientist with a commitment to the design and advancement of HIV vaccines. The successful candidate will be:

  • A PhD or other equivalent degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry or any other discipline of Life Sciences with at least 3 year work experience in the fields of immunology or virology or protein biochemistry.
  • Candidates with work experience in HIV research with understanding of either one or more of the following areas would be preferred:
    • B-cell biology or
    • molecular biology and bioinformatics or
    • protein purification, physicochemical characterization and protein structure
  • Significant record of professional accomplishment including publications, patents and invited speaking engagements; experience in developing country realities, and expertise in areas relevant to the project
  • Believes in the potential of collaborative approaches to problem solving; able to contribute to and follow the project plan with minimal guidance from the Program Director.
  • Experienced in leading and mentoring a group of scientists.
  • Ability to manage short-term and long-term lab resource needs and facility budgets to achieve the set objectives.
  • Effective scientific communicator as evidenced by publications and presentations at scientific meetings.
  • An understanding of priority-setting, resource management and the bridge-building required to foster scientific cooperation.
  • Encourages open communication and participation with an emphasis on transparency and the sharing of information.
    • Able to handle challenging situations, including daunting tasks and complex interpersonal issues, with a calm, assured, unflagging approach that keeps all “eyes on the prize.”
    • A champion of innovation who responds to complex problems and challenges by applying new perspectives and exploring a variety of relevant possible solutions.
    • A team player and team-builder who is willing to work with and patiently align diverse stakeholders who maintain their individual autonomy and decision-making.



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