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How to Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Who We Are:

Michigan Drug Discovery (MDD) is a University-wide collaboration to find, fund and mentor drug discovery projects originating from faculty research across all disease areas, including bacterial and viral infections, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disorders, oncology, ophthalmologic disease, metabolic disorders, neurodegeneration, psychiatric disorders and other important unmet medical needs.  MDD supports University of Michigan (U-M) investigators' efforts in drug discovery — from target validation to clinical trials — with complementary expertise, grant funding, technology, and five core laboratories:  Center for Chemical Genomics, Center for Structural Biology, Pharmacokinetics and Mass Spectrometry, Natural Products Discovery, and Medicinal Chemistry.  MDD is administratively housed in the U-M Life Sciences Institute (LSI) and overseen by an executive committee comprised of members from the LSI, College of Pharmacy, Rogel Cancer Center, Medical School, and other campus units. 

Job Summary

MDD and LSI are seeking a knowledgeable, experienced professional with demonstrated leadership and drug discovery, drug screening and drug development skills and experience to lead the campus-wide program.  An academic appointment in the College of Pharmacy, the Medical School, and/or another unit, is possible for interested and qualified candidates. The MDD director will strengthen and catalyze the University’s drug discovery and development goals through a comprehensive approach where strategic institutional expertise and knowledge are leveraged via internal and external collaborations and advanced on-site core technologies.  Reporting to the MDD Executive Committee and LSI Director, the Director of MDD will devote effort to the following:


  • Provide academic leadership in strategy and tactics in drug discovery and development project planning and execution across the University, including target identification and validation, assay development, hit identification by various means including knowledge-based and broad screening, Hit ID, lead optimization, in vivo efficacy, PK, safety, regulatory toxicology and identifying translational biomarkers for preclinical and clinical decision making.
  • Develop a scientific network of campus researchers working or interested in drug discovery research to facilitate greater campus community and assist with mentorship to faculty who are pursuing projects and/or funding in the drug discovery and development area.
  • Run a coordinated pilot program providing funding to faculty interested in accessing the five core laboratories supporting drug discovery research.
  • Establish and populate review committees to prioritize pilot project awards and provide direct and regular mentorship of awardees in milestone-driven drug discovery research.
  • Provide timely feedback to applicants not selected for pilot funding including detailed written communication regarding reviewer feedback, items for modification and potential for resubmission.
  • Create mechanisms to market the pilot funding program, mentorship and additional resources available through MDD, including attending academic department meetings to present information directly to faculty, holding meetings with Deans, Directors and Chairs, and participating in additional presentations, seminars or related events.
  • Take a leadership role in organizing a cross-campus seminar series, invited lectures and workshops on drug discovery, including providing direction for the development of related educational and training tools.
  • Working with the MDD Executive Committee Chair and additional campus stakeholders, facilitate, create agendas, prepare presentation materials, and invite applicable guests for the monthly Executive Committee meetings.
  • Develop strong relationships to ensure cohesion and coordination with additional campus units and programs funding and/or facilitating drug discovery work, including the Rogel Cancer Center, Michigan Initiative for Clinical & Health Research, Fast Forward Medical Innovation, and Forbes Institute for Cancer Discovery, among others.
  • Direct the creation and roll out of communications, website content and maintenance, and print materials for drug discovery and development across campus.
  • Oversee MDD annual budget creation and presentation of financial details to MDD Executive Committee, unit stakeholders and additional partners.
  • Manage solicitation, continuation, and expansion of financial support for MDD both internally and through external sponsorship.
  • Facilitate large grant applications across faculty disciplines in drug discovery and development.
  • Work with University academic and administrative leadership and central offices including Tech Transfer, Business Engagement Center, and Office of University Development, to improve communication of drug discovery and development projects to the business and philanthropic community.
  • Direct the creation and/or maintenance by MDD staff and relevant LSI administrative staff of applicable standard operating procedures, budget templates, award and non-selection letters, online application system requirements, deadlines/timelines and additional business processes.
  • Supervise administrative and project staff supporting MDD activities.

Required Qualifications*

  • PhD., PharmD, M.D., or equivalent.
  • 15+ years of proven success in managing translational strategy and implementation of multiple therapeutics discovery programs in a variety of disease areas.
  • Excellence in mentoring and building the careers of others.
  • Track record of success working with and/or in biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies.
  • Demonstrated technical, administrative, and project management capabilities, as well as effective oral and written communication skills in relating to colleagues and associates both inside and outside the university.
  • Proven capability to partner and build collaborative relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the complexities and recent trends in drug development and the ability to apply such knowledge to early stage discovery.
  • Outstanding inter-personal skills and ability to work well in individual and team settings.
  • Exceptional leadership qualities and strategic planning capabilities.
  • Experience in presenting research pipeline to existing and prospective stakeholders, as well as external scientific audiences.
  • Thorough understanding and detailed knowledge of drug discovery process from planning through initial discovery project execution to early drug development.
  • Ability to motivate a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, evidenced by successfully managing and mentoring talent.
  • Ability to interact in a positive manner and effectively influence all constituencies, including scientists, management, board members, corporate partners and investors.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills in implementing programs and new initiatives and organizing and motivating research teams and research support teams.
  • Strong financial oversight and administrative skills.
  • Leadership experience working with external collaborators, service users and vendors.
  • Experience with clinical development, commercialization, regulatory affairs and intellectual property desired.

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks.  Background checks are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.