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Scientist, Computational Biology

Willow Biosciences
Sunnyvale, California, US
Closing date
May 16, 2024

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Academic / Research
Informatics / GIS
Sustainability, Biology
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
Job DescriptionJob Description
About Willow Biosciences: Willow Biosciences is a synthetic biology company that develops and produces precision fermented ingredients for the health and wellness, food and beverage, and personal care markets. Willow's FutureGrownTM and BioOxiTM platforms were built to revolutionize industrial manufacturing of pure, consistent, and sustainable ingredients with sustainability at its core. Willow's R&D team engineer organisms to produce plant-, animal-, and petrochemical-derived ingredients through precision fermentation. Our fully integrated processes are more sustainable, secure, and cost-effective than traditional extraction or chemical synthesis routes and typically provide products of higher purity and yield.

Mission, Values and Beliefs: It is rewarding to work at a company where people genuinely believe in what they are doing. At Willow Biosciences, we are committed to bringing high-purity functional ingredients to market through scalable and cost-effective bio-based processes. We work hard, we are serious about what we do, and we like to have fun while we are at it!

Position: Scientist, Computational Biology:

We are seeking a motivated computational biologist with bioinformatics and data science experience to drive engineering efforts for biosynthesis and biotransformation processes using microorganisms, specifically yeast. You will support Willow's multidisciplinary team engaged in enzyme engineering, strain engineering and process development using a state-of-the-art computational platform. Your primary role will be to provide data-driven design of libraries for enzyme and strain engineering, as well as integrating the resulting HTP screening data with data obtained through process optimization. Previous experience working in a laboratory setting and working with bench scientists is essential as you will be collaborating closely with our molecular biologists, analytical chemists, fermentation scientists and process chemists to understand, interpret, integrate, and develop bioinformatic analyses in multiple contexts. A strong desire to work in a fast-paced, collaborative startup environment is preferred.

Location: Sunnyvale, CA US

Education: MSc/PhD in Computational Biology, Data Science, Computer Science, Statistics, Systems Biology, Bioinformatics, or similar field; interdisciplinary work is strongly encouraged. A combination of strong wet lab skills and computational knowledge is preferred.

Experience: 3 years' experience analyzing biological data, examples include genomics, RNA-seq, and NGS preferably within the biotechnology industry. Knowledge of best practices for collaborative software development (version control systems, test-driven development, and good documentation habits). Proficiency in programming languages commonly used in bioinformatics and computational biology, including R and Python.

Responsibilities Include:
  • Design of enzyme libraries as well as large-scale genome-wide knockout and over-expression libraries using in-house platform for HTP screening
  • Working closely with molecular biologists on enzyme discovery efforts (based on sequence, structure, AI, and known/postulated chemistry)
  • Working closely with an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers to develop and automate algorithms, models, and computational workflows to analyze large amounts of data (sequence, analytical, fermentation)
  • Work on machine learning / deep learning models to extract insights from large screening experiments to drive engineering efforts (collaborative effort)
  • Analyze data from next generation sequencing assays (e.g. RNA-seq)
  • Support in-house sequencing platform and perform analysis of full genome and amplicon sequencing as required
  • Maintain LIMS platform (experience with Benchling strongly preferred)
  • Work closely with Willow scientists across distinct disciplines to rapidly iterate through the cycle of experimental design, hypothesis testing, data collection, and interpretation
  • Build and/or implement new computational biology capabilities to translate biological data into insights
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to work independently and collaboratively in a multidisciplinary team environment

Preferred Qualifications
  • Bioinformatics and data science experience in Python or R
  • Experience with statistical modelling for biological data
  • Proficiency working on the command-line in a Unix-like environment
  • Familiarity with protein structural bioinformatics and genome analysis methods
  • Experience with molecular biology methods and concepts.
  • Other requirements: the ability to work in a highly parallel manner, ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team; critical thinking and attention to detail; ability to plan, prioritize responsibilities, and multi-task; excellent housekeeping and safety practices; outstanding team player with strong interpersonal and communication skills (written and verbal), excellent documentation, and organization skills; a strong desire to grow as a scientific researcher, learn new techniques and adopt new technologies for process improvements, experience working with LIMS

Physical Demands:
  • Remaining in a seated or standing position for extended periods
  • Performing repetitive tasks with hands, fingers, and wrists
  • Use of standard lab PPE (lab coats, safety glasses and gloves)

Position Type: Full-time onsite position

Travel: Not required

Work Authorization: Authorized to work in the US.

  • Competitive salary package, 401k, healthcare benefits, medical, vision & dental
  • Paid vacation and company holidays
  • Life / AD&D, Short-term and Long-term Disability Insurance
  • Opportunities for professional development
  • Company, and team wide social events

Equal Opportunity Employment: Willow Biosciences is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or any other applicable legally protected characteristics. All employment is decided based on qualifications, merit, and business need.

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