Director, RNA Biology

RNA Biology · Waltham, Massachusetts
Department RNA Biology
Employment Type Full-Time

Director, RNA Biology

Do you have the passion to join a group whose mission is to pioneer the discovery of a new class of medicines to treat diseases unaddressed by today’s therapies?  Does it excite you to be a part of a company with a focus on cancer and genetically-validated targets in other disease areas with unmet medical need?  If yes, you may be a great fit to join Arrakis on our path to bring powerful new therapies to millions of patients. 

Your Impact at Arrakis

The mission
of Arrakis Therapeutics is to extend small molecule medicines into new realms of biology by discovering and developing compounds that selectively target RNA (“rSM”). By targeting distinct RNA structure/function relationships, Arrakis is generating drug candidates with novel mechanisms of action for molecular targets that are challenging to drug in disease areas with high unmet medical need. 

A thorough understanding of the biology of RNA is critical to the Arrakis drug discovery platform.  Our major focus is targeting structures within mRNA in order to alter the expression of disease-driving proteins that are undruggable at the protein level.  Drugging mRNA requires capabilities in mRNA annotation and expression analysis as well as deep knowledge in the regulation of translation, splicing, alternative splicing and mRNA decay.  Our goal is to build a powerful knowledge base linking RNA structure to function. 

The Director, RNA Biology will make a large impact on Arrakis R&D as a member of the Research management team, leading a group of scientists across diverse activities in Molecular and Cellular Biology. The ideal candidate will enjoy working in a collaborative, fast-paced start-up environment, combining a high degree of problem solving and trouble-shooting skills with excellent oral and written communication skills to make a large impact on our mission. 


Job Responsibilities:

  • Supervise a group of Scientists and Research Associates in diverse activities in molecular and cell biology.
  • Recruit, hire and supervise additional RNA Biology staff, as needed, to meet project goals.
  • Elucidate RNA biology susceptibility points for pharmacologic intervention, with a particular focus on translation and splicing.
  • Build and validate the molecular and cellular tools and assays needed to assess splicing and translation.
  • Work with RNA Biochemistry and Computational Biology groups in annotating target mRNAs, investigating RNA folding and exploring the links between RNA structure and function.
  • Work collaboratively with the Target Biology and Translational Medicine team to evaluate RNA targets and select sub-target RNAs for high-throughput screening.
  • Perform studies to determine the mechanism-of-action of drug candidates.
  • Survey the scientific literature to stay informed of the latest molecular biology tools.
  • Contribute to a culture of open and effective collaboration between experimental and computational scientists.


  • Ph.D. in Biology, Molecular Biology, Genetics or related discipline with 8+ years of relevant experience, including 5+ years in industry.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively supervise, inspire, and develop early-career scientists.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of Molecular Biology, including data types that are relevant for the study of RNA
  • Experience with the following tools:  RNA-Seq, TSS-Seq and CAGE, qRT-PCR, Ribosome profiling, Cell-free translation assays, TimeLapse-Seq, chemical probing methods, functional genomics screens and reporter assays.
  • Ability to effectively communicate methodologies, results and program status with colleagues, including bench scientists, research management, project team leaders and advisors.
  • Understanding of the structure of RNA and tools to evaluate RNA folding is a plus.




Arrakis is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, military service, veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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  • Location
    Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Department
    RNA Biology
  • Employment Type