Intern, Chemistry
Vertex Pharmaceuticals - Cambridge, MA

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The Vertex Summer Internship Program offers students the opportunity to learn about the pharmaceutical industry from a hands-on perspective. You will be working closely with and learning from some of the brightest people in the industry. When you join our internship program you should not be surprised to see that our environment is one that is innovative and team oriented, where collaboration is not just a word, and "we are fearless" is in everything we do. Students can expect to be challenged by their summer project plan, connect with other interns, and feel valued by the Vertex community. Not only will interns learn about their day-to-day tasks through their specific work assignments, but they will interact and have exposure to our organizational leaders and their teams through a series of "Lunch and Learn" sessions.

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This internship involves working in a synthetic organic laboratory under the supervision of a research chemist. The position includes synthesizing molecules according to established procedures (either internal or from the literature). The objective is to determine whether the rate of conversion of acids into their corresponding acyl chlorides via typical means can be accelerated using a variety of catalysts.

Carboxylic acids are often readily converted into their corresponding acyl chlorides using either thionyl chloride, oxalyl chloride, or any of a number of other reagents and under a variety of conditions. Typically, these reactions are promoted by the use of an amine base. However, in certain instances, the use of a stoichiometric base can be detrimental to either the starting material or the acyl chloride product. In these instances, it would be beneficial if a catalytic system could be devised to replace the stoichiometric base. The student would evaluate the possibility of accelerating the formation of acyl chlorides from acids which are otherwise relatively slow to react.

The starting materials for this chemistry are typically available. A method to quantitatively detect the acyl chlorides will need to be developed by the student, which will likely involve the synthesis of some of their derivatives (eg. esters, amides).

  • Some background research into chemistry and techniques being studied
  • Contribute intellectually toward project goals
  • Application of chemistry techniques in a problem-solving manner
  • Communication of results via a written report and/or a poster presentation
Minimum Qualifications

  • Applicants must be enrolled in a College/University and have finished at least two years of a Bachelors Degree. Applicants can also be recent undergraduates, but are only eligible if they are returning to graduate school in fall 2013.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Applicant must be highly motivated
  • Prior university-level organic chemistry lab experience
Preferred Qualifications

  • Ability to navigate and be successful in a fast-paced, highly-matrixed work environment
  • A desire to be part of a highly innovative company aimed at transforming the lives of people with serious diseases, their families and society.
  • Embody the Vertex Core Values of Uncompromising Commitment to Patients, Fearless Pursuit of Excellence, Innovation is Our Lifeblood, and We Wins.
Vertex creates new possibilities in medicine. Our team discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapies so people with serious diseases can lead better lives. Vertex scientists and our collaborators are working on new medicines to cure or significantly advance the treatment of hepatitis C, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other life-threatening diseases. Founded more than 20 years ago in Cambridge, MA, we now have ongoing worldwide research programs and sites in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Vertex has consistently been recognized as one of the industry's top workplaces by leading publications such as Science Magazine, The Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, San Diego Business Journal and The Scientist, For more information and to view Vertex's press releases, please visit

Vertex is committed to equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination for all employees and qualified applicants without regard to a person's race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, veteran status, genetic information,sexual orientation or any characteristic protected under applicable law. Vertex will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities, in accordance with applicable law.

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals aims to cure patients with previously incurable diseases. The biotechnology company uses an integrated,...