PhD Program, Applied AI

Redwood City, CA
Retro PhD /
Full-time /
Retro Biosciences is a fast-growing biopharma startup using high-throughput, high-dimensional approaches to develop therapies for diseases driven by the biology of aging. Ultimately, we’re on a mission to extend healthy human lifespan by 10 years. 

Retro recently announced the accreditation of Retro College of Woolf University and the Retro PhD program. Retro’s PhD is an accelerated 3-year program. As a fellow, you will support and lead aging research projects, progressing through key milestones designed to prepare you for a scientist role.

If you are extremely motivated and have a strong desire to learn while also being a high-impact team member, you might be a Retro fellow. As a Retro fellow, you’ll gain exposure to a fast-paced startup environment and work under the guidance of the world’s leading scientists in the field. You’ll have access to all the resources of a well-funded company and the ability to accelerate your learning, as well as your experimentation volume. 

The Applied AI program is focused on building AI models that compress drug development timelines, and enable new scientific discoveries that humans would not have been able to make otherwise. The volume of publicly available biological data is increasingly indigestible for humans, and Retro itself is generating terabytes of data every week. We are leveraging this vast amount of biological data to accelerate longevity research.

In this program you will:

    • Plan and execute wet lab and/or computational experiments as part of the team and independently.
    • Participate in cutting edge research with your team under your PI’s supervision.
    • Select research topics collaboratively with your team, in alignment with both your program goals and Retro’s mission.
    • Foster collaboration with other internal groups, including Computational Biology, Automation, Animal Facilities, and Operations, to drive research progress.
    • Produce extensive studies, publish and present your results at relevant conferences.  
    • Write a thesis of at least 20,000 words, as well as at least 3 papers of publishable quality.
    • Conduct formal oral thesis defense before your thesis committee.
    • Lean into the immersive experience. This may mean experiments by day, writing in the evenings, and/or feeding cells/training models on the weekends. It will definitely mean a huge opportunity for learning, mentorship, and personal and professional growth.
    • Meet growth expectations and milestones of progressive independence and by the end of the program have developed into an independent scientist. 

General Program Qualifications:

    • STEM MS or a BS. BS must have additional experience. This is a European-style PhD program that does not start off with intro classes like an American PhD; you need to hit the ground running.
    • Proven ability to drive things to completion by yourself and in the team; highly self-motivated to make progress on research and writing.
    • Demonstrated organizational skills, time management, and attention to detail.
    • A budding passion for research on aging and age-related diseases.
    • Ability to present your science clearly and concisely and excellent scientific writing skills. 

Applied AI Program Qualifications:

    • Demonstrated enthusiasm about mathematics, modeling, algorithms and/or other computational approaches. 
    • Proven interest in implementing, improving, and developing new ways to make use of data and models.
    • Have experienced a eureka moment, for example by converting raw data (literature, databases, data collection, preprocessing and/or analysis, etc.) into a personally exciting discovery (showcased by projects, software, papers, presentations, etc.).
    • Fluency in Python and PyTorch — enough to get to the result while keeping code/pipelines reasonably clean, readable, reproducible, adaptive, etc.
    • Eagerness to always improve software engineering, modeling, algorithmic, data practices in a science-heavy environment.
    • Genuine excitement about learning, applying, and developing modern AI approaches for advancement of biomedical research in a dynamic, cross-disciplinary and fast-paced scientific environment.
- $90,450 annual salary
- Generous equity
- Medical, dental, and vision insurance for you and your family
- 401(k) plan with 4% matching
- “Unlimited” time off and 10 company holidays per year (with manager approval)
- Paid parental leave 
- Annual learning & development stipend 
- Free lunch daily and snacks

We take pride in cultivating an environment that fosters collaboration, open communication, and authenticity. We believe that great results are best delivered by a highly creative team working in concert. We are an equal opportunity employer; we do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We are diverse in background and singular in mission.