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Intern Pharmacology

Semma Therapeutics

Semma Therapeutics

San Diego, CA, USA
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Job Description

The Vertex Internship Program offers students the opportunity to learn about the pharmaceutical industry from a hands-on perspective. You will be working closely with and learning from some of the brightest people in the industry. When you join our internship program you should not be surprised to see that our environment is one that is innovative and team oriented, where collaboration is not just a word, and "we are relentless" is in everything we do. Students can expect to be challenged by their project plan, connect with other interns, and feel valued by the Vertex community. Not only will interns learn about their day-to-day tasks through their specific work assignments, but they will interact and have exposure to our organizational leaders and their teams.

Job Summary:

Members of the Pharmacology Department aim to determine the potency and efficacy by which small molecule compounds bind an intended target and/or have an intended effect in disease-relevant cells, using in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo model systems. These data serve to prioritize compounds for continued preclinical advancement and to guide clinical dose predictions for new drug candidates. The intern position in Pharmacology will contribute to the development of primary cell and tissue-based target engagement assays to support drug discovery projects for neuropathic pain and inherited kidney disease.

Key Responsibilities:

The intern position in Pharmacology will focus on development & optimization of primary cell and tissue-based target engagement assays to support a drug discovery project for neuropathic pain. The assay/s will be used to determine whether voltage-dependent sodium channel inhibitors bind the intended target in dorsal root ganglia and spinal cord tissue, following in vitro and/or in vivo dosing of compound. This position will spend ~50-70% of time in the lab and the remainder of time analyzing & synthesizing data, documenting results in an electronic notebook, and formulating data-driven next steps. The intern position will likely collaborate with VRTX scientists/employees across multiple departments including: Pharmacology – assay development & execution, data analysis, and e-notebook documentation, Facilities & Ops – radioactivity & IACUC training, in addition to common lab safety training, Imaging Hub – image analysis methods, Chemical Biology – target engagement probes, Histology Hub – cryosectioning & IHC methods, Formulation Development – compound formulation, DMPK/Pharmacology – in vivo dosing, tissue collection.


  • The ideal candidate will have the following desired experience:
  • several yrs into a PhD candidacy in neuroanatomy, neuroscience, pharmacology, and/or kidney biology related field of study
  • experience cryosectioning tissue and histology methods (e.g., IHC, ISH, autoradiography)
  • experience pipetting small volumes, making serial dilutions from a stock concentration of compound, and targeting specific compound concentrations in assay buffer
  • some understanding of image capture and image analysis methods
  • experience documenting scientific studies in (electronic) notebook
  • some familiarity with the following: tissue collection, cell culture, pharmacologic & (neuro)physiologic fundamentals.
  • Legally authorized to work in the United States
  • Candidate must be enrolled in an advanced degree program if graduating in Spring 2024

Program Dates: June-September 2024, Full Time

Pay Range $30.00 – $50.00 USD/hour

This job posting is for a temporary role with a third-party agency partner that provides services to Vertex. The individual selected for this role will be offered the role as an employee of that third-party agency; compensation, medical benefits, fringe benefits and other terms and conditions of employment shall be presented by the third-party agency upon offer. The range provided is a reasonable estimate for the pay range for this job at the time of posting. Some roles may also be eligible for overtime pay, in accordance with federal and state requirements. The actual pay rate will be based on a number of factors, including skills, competencies, experience, and other job-related factors permitted by law.

Company Information

Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation.

Vertex is committed to equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination for all employees and qualified applicants without regard to a person's race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, or any characteristic protected under applicable law. Vertex is an E-Verify Employer in the United States. Vertex will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities, in accordance with applicable law.

Any applicant requiring an accommodation in connection with the hiring process and/or to perform the essential functions of the position for which the applicant has applied should make a request to the recruiter or hiring manager, or contact Talent Acquisition at