Scientific Project Manager

Gilbert Family Foundation | Detroit, Michigan


The Gilbert Family Foundation is a private nonprofit foundation founded by philanthropists Dan and Jennifer Gilbert to address their two priorities and passions: accelerating a cure for neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and transforming the city of Detroit, Michigan. The Foundation has embarked on two bold NF1 research initiatives: (1) the Gene Therapy Initiative, to develop curative therapies that address the underlying genetic abnormalities in NF1 patients, and (2) the Vision Restoration Initiative, inspired by their son’s loss of vision from NF1 and with a goal of advancing vision restoration therapies.

The Gilbert Family Foundation’s Vision Restoration Initiative (VRI) launched in April 2019, awarding more than $11M over 3 years to a consortium of distinguished ophthalmology, neuroscience, and NF1 expert investigators. In its initial phase, it will focus on basic science and early, pre-clinical proof-of-concept studies. In particular, VRI is focused on developing three types of therapeutic products to restore vision in NF1 patients who have lost their sight due to optic pathway glioma: endogenous cell replacement, exogenous cell replacement, and neuro-enhancement.

Job Summary

The Gilbert Family Foundation is in search of a Scientific Project Manager for VRI. The Foundation seeks a mid-level manager with an advanced scientific or medical degree and experience in drug discovery and/or preclinical development, ideally with experience in cell therapy and/or vision restoration/ ophthalmology programs, and extensive project management skills. The Scientific Project Manager will serve as the administrator for VRI; provide technical assistance to VRI applicants, grantees, and advisory board; review progress reports and conduct site visits to grantee institutions to determine the adequacy and progress of research; identify research areas warranting either increased or decreased funding emphasis; and work collaboratively with Gilbert Family Foundation leadership and staff to achieve the overall goals of the program.

The ideal Scientific Project Manager is driven by an inquisitive mind and is able to deeply explore scientific ideas and research opportunities. He/she has a strong willingness to pursue novel ideas and collaborations towards a robust NF1 vision restoration research agenda. The Scientific Project Manager is a self-starter who can work independently but is also an excellent team player. The candidate should have a track record as a successful project manager with the ability to manage multiple biomedical projects and investigators at one time. Strong organizational and interpersonal skills are absolute musts.

This is a full-time position. The Gilbert Family Foundation is located in Detroit, Michigan. The successful candidate will not be required to be based in the Detroit area, but preference will be given to candidates who are located in or are willing to relocate to the area. The Scientific Project Manager will be expected to travel periodically for professional meetings and site visits nationwide.

Reports To

Scientific Officer of Gilbert Family Foundation


  • Reviewing progress and financial reports, highlighting critical issues and reporting therein
  • Conducting site visits to grantee institutions and nurturing the relationships critical to VRI’s success
  • Leading coordination of virtual scientific meetings and in-person annual meeting
  • Leading coordination of VRI advisory board meetings
  • Providing support to grantees on data sharing activities
  • Identifying, engaging, and conducting due diligence on new opportunities related to VRI
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with VRI grantees and other experts in the field
  • Keeping abreast of new developments and challenges in the field, and identifying resources to
  • address such issues
  • Providing support to the Scientific Officer as needed


Must have successfully completed an advanced scientific or medical degree that includes training in the biomedical sciences and have at least three years of relevant experience in drug discovery and/or preclinical development. Evidence of a successful track record as a mid-level project manager in a biomedical research environment is required. Ideal candidates will have experience in cell therapy and/or vision restoration/ophthalmology drug discovery and/or development programs.

How to Apply

Candidates interested in learning more about this engagement should send a cover letter, CV, and three references to YooRi Kim, Scientific Officer of the Gilbert Family Foundation at no later than January 6, 2020.

Gilbert Family Foundation


Organization: Foundations