Research Associate - Chemistry

Facility:  Research

Lexington, MA, US

About the Department

Dicerna, a Novo Nordisk company, is focused on driving innovation in RNAi (ribonucleic acid interference) to selectively target and silence genes that cause or contribute to disease. Our proprietary GalXC™ and GalXC-Plus™ RNAi technologies have the potential to address conditions that are difficult or impossible to treat with other modalities. Established as a Transformational Research Unit (TRU) following Novo Nordisk’s acquisition of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in December 2021, the Dicerna TRU is a unique new organization within Novo Nordisk that brings together the best of both worlds – the agility, collaborative pioneering spirit and calculated risk-taking profile of a biotech along with the scale, resources and capabilities of a global leader in drug development. With approximately 200 researchers, scientists, drug developers and operational staff, we are a team of inventive and entrepreneurial thinkers pushing the boundaries of science to create and drive new RNAi-based therapies for both rare and more prevalent diseases from the bench to the clinic. Together, we are driving change. Are you ready to make a difference?


The Position

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals is seeking a highly motivated Research Associate with a strong background in synthetic and medicinal chemistry to join the Chemistry Team. The candidate will be responsible for the synthesis of oligonucleotide conjugates, nucleoside analogues, small molecule ligands, and linkers. This position will contribute to the development of novel nucleic acid conjugate platforms and support therapeutic programs in multiple disease areas. The Dicerna research team will provide an exciting learning opportunity and a collaborative and fast-paced research environment.



Reports to an Associate Director.


Essential Functions

  • Synthesize, deprotect, purify and anneal oligonucleotides, oligonucleotide conjugation with lipids, peptides, small molecules, and carbohydrates to improve siRNA delivery.
  • Characterize the synthesized oligonucleotides and conjugation reactions using LC-MS and conduct purification using HPLC.
  • Develop and optimize reaction conditions, characterize reaction impurities, troubleshoot in the synthesis and purification process, and determine the purity of synthesized compounds.
  • Synthesize novel nucleoside analogues to be incorporated into siRNA to improve metabolic stability and potency.
  • Analyze and interpret data independently; organize and present data in a clear manner.
  • Contribute to the team’s knowledge through updating scientific literature and discussions.
  • Maintain and troubleshoot lab instruments such as purification systems, HPLC, and LC-MS.
  • Management of chemical, lab supply, and solvent inventories
  • Database registration of oligonucleotides


Physical Requirements

0-10% overnight travel required.



  • Bachelors or Masters in Chemistry or related field.
  • 1-3 years of experience of industrial experience working in a synthetic chemistry laboratory setting is preferred.
  • Demonstrable superior laboratory skills in oligonucleotide synthesis, characterization, and purification (highly desirable)
  • Solid understanding of organic chemistry reactions and mechanisms.
  • Detail-oriented in both data analysis and project timelines.
  • Self-motivated with a proactive mindset.
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and oral).
  • Ability to thrive in a multi-disciplinary and fast-paced research environment with tight deadlines.
  • Knowledge in oligonucleotide chemistry.
  • Experience in multi-step organic synthesis is preferred.


We commit to an inclusive recruitment process and equality of opportunity for all our job applicants.


At Novo Nordisk we recognize that it is no longer good enough to aspire to be the best company in the world. We need to aspire to be the best company for the world and we know that this is only possible with talented employees with diverse perspectives, backgrounds and cultures. We are therefore committed to creating an inclusive culture that celebrates the diversity of our employees, the patients we serve and communities we operate in. Together, we’re life changing.


Novo Nordisk is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by local, state or federal laws, rules or regulations.


Novo Nordisk requires all new hires to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the first date of employment. As required by applicable law, Novo Nordisk will consider requests for reasonable accommodation.


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