Postdoc Positions Available – Augmented Exosomes for Cardiac Repair, AstraZeneca, Sweden



Location: Gothenburg, Västra Götaland County, Sweden Job reference: R-046184
Posted date: May. 31, 2019

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for some of the world’s most serious diseases. We’re proud to have a unique workplace culture that inspires innovation and collaboration. We believe in the potential of our people and you’ll develop beyond what you thought possible.

The new R&D Oncology organisation brings together early and late oncology teams, from discovery through to late-stage development, with oncology specific Regulatory and Biometrics groups.

You’ll be in a global pharmaceutical environment but also exposed to strong rigorous academic science. For example, every postdoc has an external academic mentor to ensure we are working and publishing at the highest level in a field. What’s more, you’ll have the support of a leading academic advisor, who’ll provide you with the guidance and knowledge you need to develop your career.

Our Discovery Sciences team operates from truly state-of-the-art centres spanning the UK, US and Sweden. You’ll work with some of the most knowledgeable technological experts in the industry, all collaborating on high-profile drug discovery projects.

Extracellular vesicles represent an exciting opportunity for delivery of complex RNA-based drugs, and since 2015 we have been working with a team of postdocs on developing new technologies for drug loading, targeting and functional delivery using extracellular vesicles. We now have openings for three new postdocs working on 1) delivery of mRNA, 2) targeting to heart, and 3) developing innovative in vitro and in vivo models of heart disease to explore the action and underlying biological mechanisms of engineered extracellular vesicles in a therapeutic setting. The internal postdoc work at AstraZeneca is supported through collaborations with leading academic experts.

Myocardial infarction (MI) results in severe damage to the heart muscle tissue with scar formation and irreversible loss of cardiac function leading to the development of heart failure. Encouraging results have been achieved with cell therapy to regenerate the heart tissue and improve function, but there is accumulating evidence that these beneficial effects are mainly mediated by extracellular vesicles. We propose to study the action of engineered extracellular vesicles from human IPS-CPCs (cardiac progenitor cells) and from adult stem cells in vitro (angiogenesis, cardiomyocyte proliferation, apoptosis) and in rodent models of MI in vivo. We will engineer extracellular vesicles to carry additional (known and novel) stimulatory factors to augment their biological activity (e.g. VEGF-A, mRNA coding for genes driving proliferation, etc.). We have developed novel cell-based and in vitro technologies for EV loading with proteins and RNA, which will be exploited in this project (focus for postdoc-1). We will explore targeting of extracellular vesicles to heart tissue (focus for postdoc-2) with known and novel ligands and examine improved drug exposure to heart tissue. We will multiplex in vivo experiments with extracellular vesicles by bar-coding technology for bio-distribution studies. In addition, we have a separate recruitment ongoing in CVRM for a 3rd AZ postdoc working on the development of novel in vitro and in vivo regenerative models of heart disease. The three postdocs will work closely together on the shared goal of developing novel opportunities around the use of engineered extracellular vesicles for therapeutic treatment of heart disease. As a postdoc you will also get the opportunity to try novel techniques and ideas. We will also support development of leadership skills and deeper understanding of drug development process.

Education and Experience required:


  • A PhD in biological sciences with a strong cell biology or biochemical focus.
  • A strong scientific track record, as evidenced by published papers in high quality peer-reviewed journals.
  • Excellent organizational, communication and interpersonal skills, combined with the ability to work collaboratively across boundaries and problem solve in the absence of complete information.
  • Entrepreneurial ways of working


  • Experience of cell imaging, confocal microscopy, FACS and RT-PCR
  • Experience with in vivo experiments and bio-distribution
  • Experience with EV drug loading (postdoc-1) and/or drug targeting (postdoc-2)

Skills and Capabilities required:

  • Working experience of isolation, characterization and manipulation of extracellular vesicles.
  • Excellent expertise with mammalian cell culture including iPSC and adult stem cells, general molecular biology techniques, RNA biology, and protein engineering.
  • Experience working with proteomics and transcriptomics data
  • Strong oral and written communication skills

This is a 3 year programme.  2 years will be a Fixed Term Contract, with a 1-year extension which will be merit based. There are 2 vacancies for engineering of extracellular vesicles (e.g. postdoc-1 and -2). The roles will be based in Gothenburg, SE, with a competitive salary on offer. To apply for this position, please click the apply link below.

Advert opening date – 31st May 2019 / Advert closing date – 9th August 2019

AstraZeneca is an equal opportunity employer. AstraZeneca will consider all qualified applicants for employment without discrimination on grounds of disability, sex or sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity leave status, race or national or ethnic origin, age, religion or belief, gender identity or re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, protected veteran status (if applicable) or any other characteristic protected by law.