Principal/Staff Scientist, In Vivo Pharmacology

Job Locations US-CA-South San Francisco
Preclinical & Translational Science
Position Type
Regular Full-Time

About Us

Nkarta Therapeutics is a publicly traded (Nkarta NKTX symbol), South San Francisco headquartered, early-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of allogeneic, off-the-shelf engineered natural killer, or NK, cell therapies to treat cancer.


Founded in 2015 at the birthplace of biotechnology, our development pipeline of engineered NK cell therapy candidates includes two co-lead clinical programs, NKX101 and NKX019. Clinical trials for 101 are in process; 019 will begin in H2 2021. Nkarta recently announced a collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics, a world leader in gene-based medicines, for the development and commercialization of up to three new cell therapy candidates and access to clinically validated CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering.


Complementing our broad research and development capabilities, Nkarta has also built an extensive cell therapy manufacturing operation.  We have a 2,700-square foot clinical good manufacturing practice, or cGMP, facility on-site at our primary corporate location in South San Francisco, California. We plan to start in-house manufacturing of NKX019 in 2021 and NKX101 in 2022. We are also currently designing a separate, larger cGMP facility, to supply our anticipated pivotal clinical trial and commercial need.


This Pre-Clinical In Vivo Pharmacology Group Leader is responsible for leading and managing core functions at Nkarta responsible for in vivo candidate validation, effective conduct of IND-enabling studies, and pre-clinical biomarker analyses. The successful candidate will develop novel animal models and work with other research and development groups to prioritize and coordinate efficient use of the in vivo department facilities, equipment, and staff. 

This position requires a collaborative, creative individual with proven ability to work across a matrixed environment to advance preclinical programs from target validation through IND enabling activities. The ideal candidate will have group management experience and will serve as a subject matter expert for cell therapy in vivo pharmacology, rodent models of human disease and preclinical imaging and histology. This is a full-time position in In Vivo Pharmacology, reporting to the Senior Director/Vice President, Preclinical and Translational Biology.


  • Coordination with the program leads in a in a project team structure to ensure effective time and staff management and prioritization of corporate and group goals
  • Provide oversight and aid in the design and performance of various animal studies that may require a wide variety of technical skills for compound/cell administration, bleeding, surgery, imaging and analysis
  • Develop and validate new mouse tumor models to evaluate the efficacy of novel Nkarta products
  • The candidate will develop novel animal models that more closely mimic human cancer and answer mechanistic questions, validate early targets that have the potential to progress, and test and screen drug candidates using a wide range of animal models
  • Represent the Nkarta Pre-Clinical team to both internal and external audiences
  • Recruit and develop a trained and motivated in vivo team
  • Ensure GLP-compliance in the design and execution of key pharmacology and toxicology studies
  • Complete reports and related documents required for relevant regulatory filings


  • Attention to detail with excellent leadership, organizational and record keeping skills is a requirement.
  • Excellent communication skills with ability to effectively communicate both oral and written scientific results and conclusions to peers, supervisor and department teams.
  • Extensive and diverse hands-on experience with various rodent models of oncology and immunological pharmacodynamic responses, including first-hand knowledge of IVIS instrumentation and other tumor/organ imaging modalities
  • Experience with the application and interpretation of a broad variety of analytical methods
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to interact effectively with people, internally and externally is required.
  • Dedication to working in a team-oriented environment to contribute to shared project and organizational goals.
  • Proven track-record of supervising and motivating research teams.
  • Embodies the Nkarta culture of empowerment, diversity, and inclusion.


Education / Background

  • Ph.D. degree in Immunology, Cell Biology, Pharmacology, or other related fields with a minimum of 5 years of relevant industry experience.


This position requires the ability to occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities for this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus and the ability to work in and around common laboratory equipment. Normal lab PPE including eye protection as well as masking (Covid mitigation) required. The regular requirements of an office environment (computers, computer screens, workstations, etc.) apply when not working in or around a laboratory environment. 

Working at Nkarta Inc.

The 130+ team members describe working at Nkarta through some of the following comments. While getting better work-life balance and improving communications between groups in an early stage start up environment are two areas in which we’re working, here are real anonymous comments of why people think Nkarta is a great place to work.


  • People are always open to ideas. This company provides a safe place for its employees (covid testing, etc.)”
  • Exceptionally talented, committed, *kind* & supportive team”
  • The CEO is transparent and honest with expectations for the whole company. There is genuine care amongst the leadership team for their peers and employees. I believe this is unique.”
  • Not to sound corny, but the emphasis on people as a valuable resource is something I  recognize doesn't often exist elsewhere, and it's here in ample supply, which is great.”
  • It's the first place that I've worked where the executive team truly values the employees. It's a pretty amazing thing not to hear that employees can be replaced with someone new. Institutional knowledge is understood.”
  • We have a very diverse team with executives that are friendly and accessible.”
  • Smart and dedicated colleagues. Mission to make a difference in patients lives. Empower us with tools needed to succeed.  Open and transparent culture. Transparent leadership. Handling of covid and running the company was done very well.”

To learn more about our work at Nkarta and the career opportunities that will drive us forward to serve patients, please visit the company’s website at


Sorry the Share function is not working properly at this moment. Please refresh the page and try again later.
Share on your newsfeed