SENIOR AUTOMATION ENGINEER - HTS at Koniku Inc.
San Rafael, CA, US

Koniku is an early-stage, rapidly-growing company based in Silicon Valley. We build smell cyborgs by merging genetically modified living biological neurons with classic devices. Our flagship device, the Konikore™, detects smells using GPCR’s or olfactory receptor proteins hosted in biological cells. There are dynamic applications in healthcare, security, synthetic flavors & foods, and much more. 

We partner with a range of Fortune 500 companies as Technology Integrators and have been recently featured by The Financial Times, CNN, Bloomberg, TechCrunch & others. Notable partners, customers and investors include: Airbus, BASF, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Fraunhofer Institute Stuttgart, P&G, SoftBank, Platform Capital, IndieBio (SOSv).  

Beyond the numerous B2B opportunities, we aim to have a Konikore in ten million homes as a real-time disease diagnostic tool within the next decade. Koniku is a face-to-face company and our campus & culture are the nucleus of the Koniku spirit. Our headquarters include a next-generation deep technology Wetlab and a robust manufacturing facility, alongside our corporate, administrative & customer support teams. We are driven by a fundamental belief that “Bio is Tech™”.

JOB SUMMARY 

We have designed, built, and patented a new, unique, exciting screening platform that lets us scale the screening of protein-ligand interaction at unprecedented speeds, scale, and precision. You will play a critical role in turning this solution and the architecture you inherit into a robust internal resource. 

The chosen candidate must work alongside internal users to ensure results and data from this technology is ultra-precise, reproducible, robust, and scalable. You will take leadership and ownership of the governing architecture, hardware, and software. You will oversee and sign off on SOPs, develop automation strategies from bench-side to data.   

Senior Automation Engineer will also work alongside the VP of Product and external stakeholders in driving the evolution of this internal resource to meet customer needs and company revenue objectives.

WHY IT MATTERS

The technologies and architecture surrounding this role is a key development in the last 3 years. We also believe it represents a significant technical advance for the field in general. We are of the view that science advances with great instrumentation & technology that makes reliable and reproducible data possible.

You will play a critical role in helping us follow through on that philosophy - scalable, precise, reliable and reproducible data. We expect you to take leadership of this internal resource from instrumentation, data quality, data processes and infrastructure perspectives. The role will also oversee the technical aspects of resource allocation, upgrades and maintenance. This role will work with other leaders to ensure IP protection, security and access control other requirements & tasks which this unique asset may require.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Design, and implement the overall automation architecture of screening. This master plan will take a long term view, with phased implementation and clearly defined “exit ramps” which result in products for existing and new customers. Your customers are both internal and external clients.

  • Work with external partners to improve the existing technology stack. In parallel, lead internal efforts to enhance Koniku’s capabilities without creating unnecessary forks.

  • Provide leadership and technical direction to external engineering partners, equipment vendors, and throughout all project phases. For example, in concert with external suppliers and vendors implement new but robust, reliable and reproducible modalities for sample preparation and presentation. 

  • Recruit and work with external vendors to implement orthogonal data verification tools. That is, you must benchmark Koniku technology with existing solutions on an ongoing basis. Especially technologies which rely on spectroscopy principles.

  • Build out the screening resource team from the ground up in collaboration with the VP Operations.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Bachelor's degree in automation engineering, mechanical, electrical, bioengineering or related engineering fields is required. A master's degree in automation or related discipline is preferred.  

  • At least 5 years of direct experience in high throughput screening, and automation engineering is a must. Experience must be in the Pharma industry or biotech company. 10 years experience in high throughput screening including direct work with large scale image processing and analysis is preferred.

  • Experience with liquid handling equipment. Small scale liquid handlers - lab-based and large scale liquid handlers - industrial. 

  • Solid grasp of the “need to” and “how-to” integrate analytic and laboratory equipment into laboratory information systems and ERP systems.

  • Exceptional understanding of the automation industry and tools available - lab and process automation.

  • Experience with the integration of laboratory equipment into laboratory information systems.

  • Experience in experiment and data test methodologies within big data environments. Some familiarity with cloud-based control systems and data handling best practices is desired.

  • Previous work in developing automation solutions for adherent mammalian cells (neural cells) is a plus.

  • Experience in translating internal protocols to SOPs, validating process and standardized operating procedures.

  • Ability to evaluate experimental results rigorously and independently.

  • A strong work ethic and attention to details is a requirement.

COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

  • Salary range $110,000 - $180,000 per year (depending on qualifications, experience and justified ability to deliver on exact metrics).

  • Generous sign-on bonus and performance-based grants.

  • Opportunity to participate in the company's employee equity program.

  • Employer-sponsored 401K plan with 4% matching. 

  • Generous health, life, dental and vision insurance.

  • Paid & flexible vacation.

  • Fully-paid parental leave.

  • Reserved parking and commuter benefits.