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BioInformaticist, MicroByre (Berkeley/Oakland Bay Area)

MicroByre is hiring a bioinformaticist. As a part of our team, you will use tools from biotechnology and machine learning to genetically modify previously intractable bacteria. The patented new strains will utilize waste biomass to cost-effectively produce sustainable biochemicals cheaper than petroleum-based alternatives.

The MicroByre team makes pets out of bacteria. The vast majority of prokaryotes on the planet are not currently considered cultivable, let alone genetically modifiable. MicroByre domesticates and then genetically engineers otherwise reluctant, recalcitrant, and rebellious bacteria. We get them to eat out of our hands.

With friends like these, who needs petroleum? Newly cooperative bacteria will help us replace ancient biomass (petrochemicals) with renewable biomass (lawn clippings) efficiently and economically.

This isn’t the synthetic biology you’ve read about. We don’t do Escherichia coli and we don’t do Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We don’t do gene circuits and we don’t do heterologous expression. We engineer naturally cool but stand offish bacteria to be cooperative, and thus even cooler.

As a team member you would teach robots to talk to bacteria. Our bench scientists make first contact with brand new bacteria, but they can’t program and so the trails they blaze stay muddy little trails. You will strike out with the scientists, observe them the way they observe bacteria, and then codify their protocols. Then you and our software developers will deploy robots to pave those little trails into highways. You will build databases to aggregate the kind of information that will catapult the bench scientists into even rougher terrain, where you will follow with even better robots.

No one has ever known what you will learn about bacteria.

Responsibilities:

  • Develop prototype pipelines for biological data acquisition processes
  • Help convert bioinformatic prototypes into robust software solutions that scale for automated data acquisition
  • Develop and maintain database schemas and back ends
  • Liaise with both laboratory scientists and software developers to ensure data relevance, experimental compliance, software support, and mutual understanding

Required qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in bioinformatics, computational biology, computer science, or a related field; or a Masters degree and 3+ years of industrial experience; or a Bachelors degree and 6+ years of industrial experience
  • Experience working with interdisciplinary teams
  • Experience adhering to best practices for software generation and maintenance (testing, documentation, version control, patterns, refactoring)
  • Fluency in at least one common programming language (Python, Perl, Java)
  • Comfort with POSIX command line interfaces

Also helpful:

  • Experience with the AWS cloud computing environment
  • Experience with high throughput robotics or liquid handling robots
  • Experience with standard genomics software: BWA, GATK, SAMTools, etc
  • An affection for niche robots
  • An interest in making friends with shy-but-neighborly bacteria

As an Employer MicroByre is a biotech startup in the Berkeley/Oakland Bay Area. We take a lesson from the diversity evident from the study of ecology: it takes a lot of different kinds of skills working together with mutual respect to make a dent in the world. We are committed to a maintaining a work environment free of harassment and discrimination. All recruitment, salary, & promotion decisions are based on business need, qualification, and job requirements with no regard to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, family or parental status, veteran or disability status, religion or belief, or age. MicroByre is not sponsoring work visas for this position.

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Anissa Cooke

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