MIT and GlaxoSmithKline are pleased to announce the opening of the application process for the MIT-GSK Gertrude B. Elion Research Fellowship Program for Drug Discovery and Disease. This program funds up to three selected Fellows to conduct post-doctoral research at MIT, with a goal of promoting basic research while introducing scientists to key aspects of pharmaceutical research and development. The Fellowship Program honors Gertrude Belle Elion (1918-1999), an early leader in the field of chemotherapeutic agents. Elion worked at Burroughs Welcome, which became GlaxoSmithKline in 2000, from 1944 until she retired in 1983 as Head of Experimental Chemistry. In 1988, Elion shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for “discoveries of important principles for drug treatment.”

About the Program

The Fellowship Program funds research that has the potential to transform and modernize drug discovery. We encourage applications from basic or applied scientists and engineers interested in innovative technology and/or platforms that can enable transformative advances in drug discovery. Selected Postdoctoral Associates will receive funding for salary/benefits, lab supplies and indirect costs for two years, with extension possible upon mutual agreement. Associates will conduct their research in the laboratory of a Principal Investigator (PI) Mentor at MIT and will have a scientific Co-sponsor at GSK. We envision ongoing communication and exchange of information amongst the PI Mentor, Postdoctoral Associate, and GSK Co-sponsor as a critical part of the program.

Application Process

PIs will submit preliminary applications describing the proposed research and the postdoctoral associate they are nominating. Scroll down or click on the links below to learn more information:

Please contact with any questions, citing “MIT-GSK Gertrude B. Elion Research Fellowship Program” in the subject line.

Key Program Dates

Program Schedule Date
Applicants submit Phase 1 proposals. Confidential information will be protected by an existing Confidential Disclosure Agreement between MIT and GSK. November 1 2019
GSK scientists and Program Joint Steering Committee complete review of Phase 1 proposals. Up to 6 Finalists selected for Phase 2 proposals. December 13 2019
Finalists notified and Phase 2 proposals requested. December 20 2019
Finalists submit Phase 2 proposals. February 14 2020
Face to face interview with Phase 2 candidates. March 13 2020
GSK completes review of Phase 2 proposals from Finalists. March 27 2020
Program Joint Steering Committee selects Post-doctoral Associate Awards. April 17 2020
Post-doctoral Associate Awardees notified. April 24 2020
Agreement with Awardees. May 2020
Public Announcement of Program Awards. June 2020 


Principal Investigator qualifications

  • MD, PhD or MD/PhD MIT faculty member with clear focus on technologies and platforms related to fundamentals of drug discovery currently running active, productive research programs at MIT
  • Senior PIs should have an established track record of successfully mentoring postdoctoral fellows
  • Junior PIs should have evidence of a promising research program

Postdoctoral Associate qualifications

  • PhD, MD, or MD/PhD degree
  • Record of accomplishment in scientific research
  • Clear interest in translational science related to drug discovery and human disease
  • Fewer than three years of post-doctoral experience
  • Already in lab of PI Mentor or in process of joining PI Mentor’s lab (must have or establish primary appointment at MIT)

Area of Interest: Drug Discovery Modernization

Unprecedented understanding of the genetics underpinning human disease combined with constantly emerging tools to perturb the genome are fundamentally changing the way we understand the biology that underlies disease. GSK has made significant investments to access human genetic data. In order to rapidly translate this genetic information into medicines thatare of value to patients, GSK plans to evolve key fundamentals of drug discovery. We envision a discovery platform that maximizes the ability to identify connections between human disease and molecular targets by using functional genomics and translate those insights into targets for drug discovery. GSK is additionally focused on applying next generation approaches to design, predict and identify molecules to rapidly translate these compounds in to medicines for patients in need. By applying a parallel, design-driven approach to investigate disease indications, GSK envisions linking molecular targets with drug candidates at an unprecedented scale and pace. We believe the core areas described below will help us achieve our vision.


Functional Genomics Technology Platforms

  1. Improved tools for perturbing gene function at genome scale
  2. Improved tools for probing the function of non-coding genetic variation
  3. Improved translational in vitro models
  4. Advanced single cell omics technologies

Protein Sciences

  1. Gene engineering for early small molecule hit identification
  2. Protein engineering
  3. Advanced cellular engineering

Biopharm discovery

  1. Deep mining antibody repertoires
  2. Detection and characterization of product-related impurity in Antibody

Small molecule discovery

  1. Prediction
  2. Cycle time
  3. Artificial intelligence
  4. DNA-encoded library
  5. Rapid chemical tool discovery platform
  6. Nano-scale small molecule screening platforms

Computational modeling and simulation

  1. Advance Physiological based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) science
  2. QSP – virtual population development and model validation
  3. Linking QSP models with AI/ML and network modeling
  4. Develop an immune fingerprint map for autoimmune diseases
  5. Quantitative systems toxicology (QST) challenge
  6. Biomarker analysis
  7. Patient selection/drug-repurposing
  8. Cross-domain data integration and mining

Phase 1 Application Guidelines

By 11:59 pm Eastern Time on Friday, 1 November 2019, complete the application via Google forms at Please use the file name format of Last Name, First Initial. MIT- GSK Fellowship Program.pdf when attaching a single file to the Google form. The file should contain all of the information below.

Please contact with any questions about completing your application, citing “MIT-GSK Gertrude B. Elion Research Fellowship Program” in the subject line.

1: Cover page

A. Principal Investigator Mentor
Full Name:
Telephone Number (office):
Email Address:
Core area of expertise:

B. Proposed Postdoctoral Fellow
Full Name:
Current Affiliation:
Core area of expertise:

2: Cover letter

  • Letter from PI Mentor describing how the proposed project will address a drug discovery technology goal (one page maximum).

3: Description of Proposed Research Project (submitted by PI Mentor; one page maximum)

  • Title of proposed research
  • Abstract of proposed research
  • Project description

4: Curriculum Vitae for proposed Postdoctoral Associate

*Applicants who advance to Phase 2 will be notified by November 10, 2017 at which time Phase 2 materials will be requested.

Phase 2 Application Guidelines for Finalists

1: Research Proposal (four pages maximum, excluding references; submitted by PI Mentor)

  • Executive Summary
  • Background
  • Research plan
  • References

2: Budget

  • Brief description of costs and rationale for purchases to support the proposed research. We anticipate costs of approximately $100,000 – $150,000 per Postdoctoral Fellow per year, which includes direct costs, indirect costs and salary/benefits.