Software Engineer - Autonomous Research

Redwood City, CA /
Lab Automation /
/ On-site
Retro develops therapies for diseases driven by the biology of aging.

We work on (1) partial reprogramming, (2) blood factors, and (3) autophagy to rejuvenate and restore function to cells, tissues, and organisms.

We are looking for a Software Engineer to build our Autonomous Research team. The team aims to automate key experiments to increase research velocity, as well as developing novel assays in-house.

As a founding member of the Autonomous Research team, your main focus will be writing the software that powers Retro’s assay development and automation efforts. Sometimes you will need to modify the tools to achieve this, and other times the tools might not exist so you’ll have to build them. You will set up and scale a focused research program in collaboration with a world-class team of scientists and engineers with diverse technical backgrounds.

Our team embraces technical challenges head-on with the belief that our deep understanding of the task at hand and use of state-of-the-art tools allows us to fundamentally advance our field in ways not immediately apparent.

Why Retro:

    • Substantially faster iteration loops than big pharma & academic labs
    • Vertical integration of anything important
    • Long-term bet on autonomous research systems outperforming humans and improving scientific output in specialized tasks
    • A lot will change during this early stage, providing opportunity for significant impact - It is not for the faint of heart

Your Primary Responsibilities:

    • Code highly parameterized algorithmic wetlab methods in Python
    • Build your own micro LIMS (Lab Information Management System) & robotic scheduler
    • Deck out your liquid handler with several cameras. Build tools for logging, test-cases, process QC, and feedback control. Achieve parity with human error rates.
    • Manage flow cytometry, imaging, -omics, and robotic execution data.
    • Identify and eliminate sources of dataset batch variation
    • Optimize cell culture conditions by setting up feedback-control experiments
    • Predict cell state in fully automated epigenetic reprogramming experiments in direct collaboration with Computational Biology team

Ideal qualifications:

    • Demonstrated ability to ship quickly in an unstructured startup environment
    • Advanced Python programming skills, experience with Python testing and packaging infrastructure, and knowledge of the Python ecosystem
    • Ability to act as your own wetlab scientist and get your hands dirty throughout the entire Retro stack
    • Knowledge of the following is a plus but not required: Systems programming languages (Rust, C++), Lab robotics (e.g. Opentrons, Hamilton, Tecan, MGI), ML frameworks (PyTorch, JAX), Computational biology tools (scVI, Scanpy)

You may be a good match for this role if you are:

    • A Hacker: you build quickly, information finds its way to you
    • Enthusiastic about rapidly and creatively experimenting, learning, and improving
    • Excellent at explaining technical concepts clearly and have an open communication style
    • Deeply care about aging and extending healthy human lifespan
The base salary range for this full-time position is $100,000-$190,000 annually + equity + benefits. Within the range, individual pay is determined by factors including job-related skills and relevant education or experience. Please keep in mind that the equity portion of the offer is not included in these numbers.

This position is 80% on-site (encouraged to live closely).