Research Assistant, Strain Engineering

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About Willow Biosciences:

Our multidisciplinary team of world-leading discovery biologists, biochemists and geneticists is dedicated to harnessing the therapeutic potential of plants. We have developed the only fully-integrated synthetic biology solution for opioid biosynthesis and are now leveraging our unique design-build process and our proven track record to the biosynthesis of cannabinoids. 

Job Listing:Research Assistant / Associate - Strain Engineering

We are seeking an experienced Research Assistant / Associate to contribute to the metabolic engineering of biosynthetic pathways in microorganisms, particularly yeast. The successful candidate will have a strong work ethic, the ability to effectively multi-task on a daily basis and practical experience using synthetic DNA and gene-editing toolsto create and clone diverse DNA libraries.

Education: BS or MS in genetics, molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, chemical engineering or a related field.

Experience: 0-2 or more years’ demonstrated experience in a high-throughput environment working withDNA library construction/cloning techniques in an industrial research setting (Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, or Life Sciences Industries). Hands-on expertise with synthetic biology & strain engineering-related techniques such as PCR, cloning, transformation of libraries, homologous recombination and sequencingis strongly preferred.

Position: This position is for a highly motivated and experienced individual with a strong desire to work in a fast-paced, collaborative startup environment. This individual will work under the guidance scientists on the identification and engineering of bottleneck enzymes in microbial metabolic pathways. Responsibilities will include: gene/library construction and cloning for high throughput (HTP) screening experiments; sequencing of variants; and participation in a rapid “Design/Build/Test/Learn” cycle with other lab scientists to meet company goals/milestones.

Job Description:                    

  • Hands on experience working with lab automation equipment such as robotic liquid handlers(e.g. Tecan)
  • Work with scientiststo construct single/multi-gene and combinatorial libraries for strain improvement 
  • Utilize and improve protocols for building/cloning multi-gene DNA assemblies/libraries in yeast
  • Utilize and improve protocols for high efficiency transformation of libraries into expression host microbes (yeast)
  • Work with scientists to develop automation platforms and high throughput workflows to increase experimental throughput
  • Apply a broad range of standard molecular biology methods including PCR, electrophoresis, plasmid preparation and transformation to QC and test strains with other scientists
  • Utilize and improve protocolsfor high throughput sequencing of improved variants (including high throughput plasmid preparation)
  • Participate in sequence/activity data analysis/interpretation of data for subsequent strain engineering decisions.
  • Maintain timely documentation of laboratory work
  • Provide written documentation and specifications of strain engineering workflows (SOP’s)
  • Ability to communicate/present work and analysis to audiences with diverse technical backgrounds
  • Work in partnership withother scientists (computational biologists, analytical and fermentation scientists)to identify, develop, and apply new synthetic biology & genome engineering tools to meet company goals/milestones.

Required Skills:

  • Outstanding team player with strong interpersonal and communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Efficient at multi-tasking
  • Capable of high performance in independent work as well as in team setting.
  • A strong desire to grow as a scientific researcher, learn new techniques and adopt new technologies for process improvements.
  • Attention to detail,good laboratory practiceand maintenance of a high degree of accuracy while working in high throughput.
  • Experience working with LIMS (preferred).
  • Proficiency with MS Office suite.

Physical Demands:

  • Remaining in a seated or standing position for extended periods
  • Performing repetitive tasks with hands, fingers, and wrists
  • Use of standard lab PPE (lab coats, safety glasses and gloves)

Position Type:

  • Full-time position


  • No

Work Authorization:

  • Authorized to work in the US


  • Healthcare Benefits – medical, vision, dental
  • Vacation + Paid Holidays
  • Life / AD&D, Short-term and Long-term Disability Insurance

Equal Opportunity Employment:

  • Willow Biosciences is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.  We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or any other applicable legally protected characteristics. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need.

Location: Mountain View, CA
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