Student Position in Cheminformatics


Up ]
1-year Student Position in Cheminformatics – 0700468

Job Description

Purpose of the Role:
The project "Shape-based Similarity and Diversity Measures" is aimed at applying in-silico methods to the design and selection of combinatorial libraries. The successful candidate will perform literature mining, evaluate existing approaches and develop a standardized workflow that can be integrated into our drug discovery process. S/He will have the opportunity to present and publish the results.

Main Tasks & Responsibilities:
The way in which combinatorial chemistry and the concepts of similarity and diversity are applied in modern drug discovery has changed considerably since their early heydays.
After an introduction to the methodology and the background, the project will start with the extraction of suitable training sets (libraries, actives, X-ray structures) from the literature, notably for the major target classes, kinases and GPCRs. With these in hand, the following questions should be addressed:

How useful is diversity: are there universally disfavoured regions in shape-space, where compounds have a lower likelihood of being bioactive? Can shape-similarity be used for focusing, i.e. do actives for targets / target classes cluster closely enough to warrant the inclusion of a corresponding criterion in the selection process? How sensitive is the method to its parameters, e.g. the way to describe flexible molecules? The results will directly benefit the early phases of small-molecule efforts by improving our capabilities in library design, compound acquisition and selection. Although we will focus on shape as a description of molecules, much of the developed methodology will be applicable in a wider context.


Language & Education:
MSc or equivalent (or in the process of finishing studies) in Chemistry with an interest in computational approaches; alternatively, in one of the following fields, with a strong background in chemistry: biology, pharmacology, scientific computing, mathematics.
Good English is required, French or German would be an asset

Professional Skills & Experience:
Computer fluent; experience in UNIX or programming is a plus.
At least basic understanding of combinatorial chemistry.
Experience in literature mining, data mining or in-silico modeling is a plus.

Personal Qualifications & Competencies:
Potential to work independently
Flexibility and Resilience
Critical Analysis
Written And Spoken Communication

Organisation Description

Merck Serono International SA in Geneva is the Group’s Headquarters (employing around 1,200 employees), consisting mostly of Research, Clinical Development, Marketing, Support Functions and the Corporate Management.

Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a global business focusing on innovative prescription pharmaceuticals with headquarters in Geneva, Merck Serono International SA. The company was established following the acquisition of Serono by Merck and the integration of the business with the former Merck Ethicals division. The entity counts more than 14'000 employees worldwide and has leading brands serving patients in the areas of Oncology, Neurology, CardioMetabolic Care, Reproductive Health and other therapeutic areas in more than 150 countries.

Merck Serono International SA in Geneva employs over 1'000 employees in its brand new state-of-the-art facilities. The Geneva Research Center (GRC) is an integral part of the global research operations of Merck Serono International S.A. It is also home to an integrated, multinational team of around 200, highly qualified scientists. We focus on the early stages of drug discovery, with the aim of discovering new therapeutics in Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological or autoimmune diseases, by building on an in-depth understanding of human disease mechanisms and using innovative science at the interface of genetics, biology, chemistry, biotechnology and pharmacology.

Application Process

General questions about the student program or any particular vacancy should be addressed to the Human Resources department, questions on the scientific content can be sent to Applications have to be submitted via the Merck Serono website, using the reference number in the first line.

Last updated: October 5, 2007

Comments to these pages to the site manager