Research Associate, Strain Engineering

Willow Biosciences
Mountain View, CA
Closing date
Dec 5, 2022

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Job Description
Research Associate - Strain Engineering

About Willow Biosciences: Willow Biosciences is a synthetic biology company focused on the development of biobased processes for the production of ingredients, including those for consumer care, food & beverage, and pharmaceuticals. Our scientists engineer organisms to produce plant-, animal-, and petrochemical-derived ingredients through precision fermentation. Our processes are more sustainable, secure, and cost-effective than traditional extraction or chemical synthesis routes and typically provide the final products in higher purity.

Research Associate - Strain Engineering

We are seeking an experienced Research Associate who will work under the guidance of Scientists focusing on metabolic engineering of biosynthetic pathways in microorganisms, particularly yeast. The successful candidate will have a strong work ethic, and the ability to effectively focus using practical experience working with synthetic DNA and gene-editing tools to create, clone, and deliver diverse DNA libraries.

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

Experience: 1-2 or more years of demonstrated experience in a high-throughput environment working with DNA library construction/cloning techniques (PCR, cloning, microbial transformation, homologous recombination, sequencing, and CRISPR-based integration), in an industrial research setting (Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, or Life Sciences Industries).

Responsibilities Include:
  • Hands-on experience working with lab automation equipment such as robotic liquid handlers (e.g., Tecan, Bravo)
  • Work with scientists to design and build single/multi-gene and combinatorial libraries for strain improvement.
  • Utilize and improve protocols for building/cloning multi-gene DNA assemblies/libraries in yeast.
  • Participation in a rapid "Design/Build/Test/Learn" cycle with other lab scientists to meet company goals/milestones.
  • 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.
  • Utilize and improve protocols for high throughput sequencing of improved strains.
  • Maintain timely documentation of laboratory work.
  • Provide written documentation and specifications of strain engineering workflows (SOPs).
  • Collaborate with cross functional teams to reach company goals and milestones

Job Requirements:
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills (oral and written).
  • Ability to communicate/present work and analysis to audiences with diverse technical backgrounds.
  • Attention to detail, safety, and good laboratory practice.
  • Ability to track documentation, have good record-keeping, and write reports and SOPs.
  • Ability to take ownership, prioritize responsibilities, multi-task and remain flexible with changing needs.
  • Must be motivated and able to work under tight deadlines.
  • Work in partnership with other scientists (molecular biologists, computational biologists, and analytical scientists) to meet company goals/milestones.
  • Capable of high performance in independent work as well as in a team setting.
  • A strong desire to grow as a scientific researcher, learn new techniques, and adopt new technologies for process improvements.
  • Experience working with ELN and LIMS (preferred).
  • Be curious, creative, and tenacious.
  • Model our core values and believe in our mission.

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, onsite position


Not required

Work Authorization

Authorized to work in the US.

  • Competitive Benefits package, medical, vision, dental
  • Life / AD&D, Short-term and Long-term Disability Insurance
  • 401(K)
  • Flexibility pertaining to in person schedule
  • Four weeks of paid vacation plus company holidays
  • Opportunities for professional development
  • Snacks, weekly lunch, company, and team wide social events

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.

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