Volta Labs, Inc. (W19)
Biological automation as agile and scalable as digital electronics.

Senior Scientist - NGS

Cambridge, MA
Full-time
About Volta Labs, Inc.

Volta Labs is a venture-backed startup spun off from the MIT Media Lab by co-founders Udayan Umapathi and Will Langford. We were incubated at the MIT Engine and are supported by top VC firms.

Volta’s vision is to make biological automation as agile, scalable and reliable as digital electronics. To realize this vision we are building a platform technology by engineering the full-stack -- hardware, software, chemistry, and biology.

About the role

COMPANY DESCRIPTION

 

Volta Labs, Inc. (https://www.voltalabs.co) is an MIT spin-off company that makes programmable fluidic chips for biological automation. We are a transdisciplinary team combining engineering, surface chemistry and molecular biology to enable the next generation of automation for genomics and genetic engineering.

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

We are in the processing of gathering people with an interdisciplinary mindset to form the foundations of what will become the company over the next few years. You will come on board as an early member of the team and grow with our organization. You will work collaboratively with a team of engineers, biologists and scientists and take responsibility for the design, development and optimization of various biological applications on Volta’s proprietary digital fluidic platform.

 

THE TEAM

 

You’ll join a team where everyone—including you—is not afraid to go into unexplored territories across many fields to develop assays for our automation system. We are an incredibly supportive team–we love to pitch in when problems arise and give great peer feedback to help each other grow. We are passionate about lots of things--automation, biology, computation, robotics, fabrication, industrial design, great user experience for customers--and we love sharing those passions with each other. You'll be a key driver of instilling these values in our new Cambridge office and play a big role in helping grow the team.

 

WITHIN 1 MONTH, YOU'LL

 

-        Get a good hold of our system and its capabilities for automating biological applications. This will involve highly collaborative experimental work on a day-to-day basis on our current platform for existing NGS workflows in development.

-        Work closely with the instrumentation and consumable development team to solve critical issues with the core technology development.

  • Design experiments to implement next-gen NGS workflows on the Volta platform.

 

WITHIN 3 MONTHS, YOU'LL

 

  • Develop proof-of-concept for the workflow (workflows) that you designed.

  • Work closely with the instrumentation team to optimize assay parameters for the best sequencing results.

-        Support the biology team on other NGS and synthetic biology workflows in development.

-        Collaborate with engineering and product leadership to define priorities and set delivery goals.

 

WITHIN 6 MONTHS, YOU'LL

 

-        Turn proof of concept into robust implementation and generate NGS data in preparation for deployment with early access customers

-        Collaborate with early access customers to enable them to successfully use Volta’s platform.

  • Start implementing new NGS assays (R&D and POC development)

-        Define priorities for new feature development in collaboration with the engineering team.

  • Support the filing of any new IP that was developed by you and with the team

-        Participate in interviewing and hiring, as a way to influence team growth and how our values inform our culture.

 

WITHIN 12 MONTHS, YOU'LL

 

-        Individually contribute to develop new applications and support existing customers.

-        Develop strategy for balancing R&D efforts in new application development and support of existing customers for the current applications.

-        Work closely with leadership to define future applications and features

-        Invent and generate IP for the company.

 

COMPANY BENEFITS

 

-        Generous equity, competitive salary and robust healthcare benefits.

-        Collaborative and friendly environment with an opportunity to break things, build, learn and invent across many fields. In the process contribute to IP generation of the company.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

 

Required:

 

-        PhD in Molecular Biology or equivalent

-        2 or more years in a biotechnology / life sciences company or equivalent experience

-        If you are exceptional and are qualified we can skip the first two requirements, so please apply if you think you fit the bill.

-        Strong experience with molecular biology and NGS techniques: NGS library preparation including DNA-seq and/or RNA-seq, short-read sequencing (e.g. Illumina) and/or long-read sequencing (ONT, PacBio), DNA/RNA extraction and analysis

-        Familiarity with laboratory automation system and enthusiasm for working on evolving prototypes

-        Understanding of NGS computational analysis tools and experience interpreting NGS results

-        Enthusiasm and demonstrated skills and aptitude for leading and executing independent experimental R&D projects

-        Ability to work in a fast-based start-up work environment with ability to adjust workload based upon changing priorities

-        Outstanding verbal and written communication skills to clearly articulate ideas, protocols and concepts with biologists, engineers and non-scientists.

-        Excellent organization and task planning skills and capability for multi-tasking

-        Good communication, interpersonal, teamwork, and supervisory skills

-        Self-starter who requires minimal supervision to be productive

 

Desired:

 

-        Experience with microfluidics technology

-        Employment experience in a small company setting

-        Prior experience working in a highly multidisciplinary team environment

 

Technology

Volta is building a agile, scalable and reliable automation for genomic and genetic engineering. Our technology stack can be broken up into three components: hardware, software and biochemistry.

The underlying hardware combines solid-state electronics with a proprietary surface coating to fundamentally reduce the complexity of basic liquid-handling operations and improve precision tremendously To build this complex stack of hardware:

  • our team collaborates on various fields of engineering including electrical, mechanical and surface chemistry
  • our system also involves engineering several robotic, fluidic and industrial components to enable a complete automation system

To enable this to be useful we are building a suite of solutions solutions:

  • a simple high-level software abstraction (no-code interface) that allows users with no specialized knowledge to configure and implement any new or existing biological workflow on Volta’s platform quickly
  • API for integration with other robotics and lab automation tools
  • ML / AI driven tools for workflow optimization and data visualization

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