Senior Lab Manager at Koniku
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 

The Senior Lab Manager borders the biotechnology and operations team at Koniku. It's a senior-level role reporting to the COO, VP of Operations, or similar. The position ensures all laboratory equipment or facilities are optimally functioning. Our Senior Lab Manager also ensures all instruments and resources have the proper access levels throughout our facilities.  

The specific scope of work includes an in-depth understanding of general wet lab practices, ideally with previous experience in an industrial setting at a major biotech or synthetic biology company focusing on mammalian cells. This role requires an excellent knowledge of various assays and instruments used in mammalian or neurons cell culture.

Why It Matters

The saying: "we don't rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems" applies here. We are seeking a candidate to partner with the Koniku team in establishing, maintaining, and continuously evolving systems that help our scientists & engineers focus on their exceptional work.  

This candidate will own and drive a system that centralizes & caters to the needs of scientists and engineers. The candidate is a solid & competent leader who views their role as that of a service provider to internal subscribers. 

The Senior Lab Manager is responsible for organizing and cataloguing all company bio-assets, ensuring quality, secure access, safety, and continuity.

The candidate will control their budget tied to specific KPI's around internal end-user satisfaction - scientists and engineers. The leader in this role will reconcile their operations and activities with specific business objectives and outcomes. 

We expect the Senior Lab Manager to accelerate quickly in this role to manage more complex projects and hire their lab operations teams. Koniku is a unique company that eventually demands this role to become a senior-level management role.


  • Maintain and optimize processes within the lab to increase efficiency and effectiveness. We’d like an individual with a deep appetite for promoting innovation and innovative practices. For example, ensuring all decisions made concerning lab operations are driven by data & business objectives. The task also includes ordering and stockpiling supplies, cleaning and sterilizing equipment, and preparing standard reagents.
  • Manage our chemical inventory, DNA libraries - wild type & mutants, and other biologics assets. In co-operation with other scientists and engineers, you will create and validate SOP for cell lines. The lab manager will directly oversee the storage of cell lines, including regular calibration of equipment for production and storage.
  • Manage the integrity & reliability of Koniku biologics assets and through secure access control, multiple sites backup. TheSenior Lab Manager will liaise with external vendors for access control, integrity management and reliability.  Regular industry compliant methods to re-verify our stockpiles will be required.
  • Coordinate regular laboratory permits and license renewals.
  • Ensure company-wide laboratory operations deliveries/shipments inside and out of labs, including waste removal, are done on schedule and with precision. The lab manager will oversee the preparation of materials for external collaboration partners and ensure materials received at Koniku meet regulatory standards and conform with applicable laws.
  • Collaborate with R&D teams to validate, launch and consolidate new assays and instruments. Schedule equipment purchase and installation, preventative maintenance, calibration schedules, SOPs, and general lab procedures.
  • Oversee wet lab processes (operational, regulatory or compliance), including tracking, storage and disposal of biological materials, chemicals, and hazardous materials.
  • Observe and ensure strict end-user compliance with protocols in the lab wherever necessary and implement lab policies and practices. Take leadership and ownership of laboratory safety practice, compliance, training and updates. The role includes strict enforcement of PPE policy and lab safety rules.
  • Thoughtful and systematic mobilization of technicians, researchers, and engineers to comply with relevant local, state, and federal requirements regarding licenses, working conditions, and regulations without disrupting regular operations.
  • Establish a systematic method to define the life cycle of an asset and make recommendations as and when assets need to be replaced or retired.


  • B.Sc. or M.Sc. in molecular or cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, synthetic biology, or related fields. M.Sc. or PhD in a scientifically related field is preferred.
  • Experience with tissue culture and aseptic techniques for cellular and Molecular Biology.
  • Experience with large scale mammalian cell culture systems is required. Experience with neuron cell culture is a significant boost for this role.
  • Some familiarity with high throughput screening systems and surrounding technologies is not required but desirable.
  • +5 yrs experience working in a similar role in SynBio/Biotech/Pharmaceutical laboratory environment is required. 10+ years of experience in a similar role is preferred.
  • Deep level experience with LIMS, asset management combined with access control, and ERP systems is desired.
  • Experience with autonomous budget management and equipment centered cost tracking would be an asset.
  • Experience with regulatory processes and FDA requirements - is a significant plus.
  • You have had previous experience in space planning within a single building, multiple building and satellite locations.
  • Strong leadership skills and collaboration with multiple teams would help the candidate thrive — the ability to see yourself as an internal resource delivering first-class service to internal stakeholders.
  • Deep experience with LIMS, Laboratory Software, and Enterprise Software Systems is a plus. Specifically, experience with Benchling, Odoo, Arena or other lab and supply management CRM's will help the candidate get up to speed quickly.
  • Bring a detail-oriented approach to project management and lead projects from start to finish.
  • Have worked across multi-disciplined teams/cross-functional teams.
  • Excellent organizational skills, including efficiently evaluating, prioritizing, and handling multiple and changing programs/projects/budgets and priorities through proactivity.
  • Leadership skills, relationship-building, networking skills, and customer service mindset are required traits.
  • A demonstrated effective team player with excellent oral and written communication skills to both scientific and non-scientific audiences.
  • Team player with "can-do attitude".

Compensation & Benefits

  • Salary range $110,000 - $140,000 per year (depending on qualification 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.