Scientist I

About Ikena
Ikena Oncology is a targeted oncology company that discovers and develops biomarker-driven therapies for cancer patients who need life-saving treatment, by understanding what drives their disease. Ikena is advancing five clinical, preclinical, and discovery programs and has a global strategic collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb. We have raised capital from top tier investors OrbiMed Advisors and Atlas Ventures and recently announced the closing of a $120M in an oversubscribed Series B financing.

Role Description
We are seeking a highly talented cancer biologist to contribute to progressing our early discovery projects. He/she would join an innovative, scientifically rigorous and fast paced team focused on developing breakthrough cancer therapies. The successful candidate will bring a sense of urgency and commitment to help Ikena Oncology reach its potential and deliver novel patient-directed therapeutics to patients.


  • Design, establish and execute cellular assays to support medicinal chemistry and lead optimization
  • Measure target engagement, pathway modulation and cellular phenotypic changes
  • Determine potential off target liabilities and resistance mechanisms
  • Identify beneficial drug combinations
  • Define mechanism of action for compounds and contribute to the identification of pharmacodynamic markers
  • Independently conduct, optimize and troubleshoot cellular assays
  • Proactively employ a breadth of cell and molecular biology techniques such as western blot, IF, FACS and cell line engineering
  • Provide interpretation and analysis of results with clear communication in cross-functional project team meetings highlighting implications for the broader program
  • Proactively review literature to bring in the newest scientific findings, ideas, and methods/ technologies for discovery research


  • PhD in Biology, Pharmacology, Biomedical Sciences and 2 years of post-doctoral experience or Master’s degree with at least 8 years of relevant experience in a biotechnology or pharmaceutical company
  • A passion for designing and executing lab experiments to generate impactful data and specifically test scientific hypotheses
  • Demonstrated experience developing, trouble shooting and running cell-based assays, including endpoint (viability, apoptosis), phenotypic (live cell), and protein quantification assays (Western Blot, ELISA), RNA analysis
  • Skilled in developing genetically engineered cell lines using lentiviruses and using genetic approaches such as CRISPR knockout/in and RNAi for target validation
  • Proven solid skill set in cancer biology techniques, experience with in vitro and in vivo pharmacological assessment of small molecules
  • Work collaboratively within a dynamic matrix environment, with strong contribution to project strategies and progression
  • Demonstrated ability to implement new techniques, independently analyze and interpret experimental data, lead or participate in productive discussion with peers, and conduct multiple laboratory tasks efficiently
  • Eager to deepen the understanding of the small molecule drug discovery process and will work with urgency to get new therapies to patients
  • Attention to detail and proven track record in handling, analyzing and recording experimental data, and presenting results to project teams

Personal attributes: team oriented, goal-driven, organized, highly collaborative, open-minded, data-driven, creative, persistent in the face of obstacles and uncertainty, flexible, self-aware of strengths and weaknesses, objective in the evaluation of data and strongly optimistic about overcoming challenges.

Application Form

Our supportive work environment fosters creative thinking and freedom of expression.