Autonomous Research Engineer

Redwood City, CA /
Lab Automation /
/ On-site
We are a well-funded, untraditional bio startup based in Redwood City. 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 cell and tissue function with the ultimate aim of adding years to a healthy human lifespan by 10 years.

We are seeking a highly motivated  Engineer to build our Autonomous Research team. The team aims to automate key experiments to increase research velocity, as well as develop novel assays in-house.

As a founding member of the Autonomous Research team, your main focus will be building the robotics & writing the software that powers Retro’s fully automated reprogramming & -omics workcells. 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.

In this role you will:

    • 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
Our team is a group of mission-driven, kind, and thoughtful individuals. We take pride in evolving a work environment that fosters collaboration, open communication, and authenticity. We believe that great results are best delivered by a highly creative group working in concert. We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company; we do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

The annual salary range for this role is $125,000-$200,00. Total compensation also includes generous equity and benefits.

Benefits and perks:
- 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
- Paid parental leave
- Annual learning & development stipend 
- Free lunch and snacks

This position is 100% on-site (encouraged to live closely).