South San Francisco, CA

Applications Engineer - Automation & Robotics

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Position Description

Counsyl’s automation team is a multidisciplinary group of scientists and engineers with backgrounds in chemistry, molecular biology, computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical and controls engineering, plus laboratory automation veterans.  

As an Applications Engineer within Counsyl’s automation team, you will play a leading role in the scale-up of our automated laboratory to support the simultaneous processing of thousands of samples across multiple workflows. The focus of your work will be implementing newly developed NGS chemistries and processes into our fully automated state-of-the-art clinical laboratory. You will be a key player in the integration and refinement of advanced liquid handling devices with our industrial robotic work-cells and laboratory automation equipment.

What you'll do:

  • Automate biological sample handling processes in a state-of-the-art medical diagnostics facility.
  • Automate and transfer processes for NGS to our integrated automated liquid handling platforms in order to scale our newest custom chemistry to support thousands of patient samples per day.
  • Design and execute studies and data gathering exercises with the aim of improving new and existing protocols.
  • Work with Counsyl’s custom industrial robotic work-cells and modern web-based scheduling and LIMS software stack.Support production activities; offer insight into troubleshooting methodology and problem resolution with complex instrumentation, systems or processes.

About you:

  • Degree in Life Sciences or Biomedical Engineering2+ years experience developing, refining, and implementing laboratory or manufacturing processes.
  • Knowledge of DNA sequencing protocols plus the chemistry and techniques used in DNA sample preparation and handling, preferably in an NGS environment with Illumina instruments.
  • Experience in the use of one of the major automated liquid handling platforms such as Tecan EVO, Hamilton STAR, Beckman Biomek, Agilent Bravo, or Perkin Elmer JANUS.  (Tecan EVO is preferable)You have experience working with small benchtop workstations or large integrated robotic work-cells.
  • You have experience with the process of design of experiments and have the ability to plan, conduct, and analyze controlled tests.
  • You have experience with statistical analysis such as the calculation of CV’s and their practical application to process characterization and guardbanding.You are familiar with continuous improvement activities such as Lean, 6-sigma, or 5S.
  • You have been a key member of a team that has shipped an instrument into a clinical laboratory environment either internally or externally.
  • You have a firm understanding of IQ, OQ, and PQ verification and validation activities.As a senior member of the team you can be relied on to be a technical lead on projects while mentoring more junior members of the team.
  • You have the ability to work diligently with minimal supervision and take initiative to drive project deadlinesYou can work independently but consider yourself to be a team playerYou are an expert in liquid handling techniques and parameters such as the use of air-gaps, liquid-level sensing, automated touch-off, and aspirate/dispense speeds using either disposable tips or fixed cannulas.
  • You understand the contribution of fluid properties such as surface tension/wettability/adhesion, viscosity, densityYou are familiar with the experimental and documentation overheads that come with being in a regulated environment (CGMP, CLIA, CAP)

Interview process

Counsyl is driven by some of the brightest people in the industry. Our interview process is geared to ensure that we continue to hire the very best. We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company.

Our interview process is composed of practical and situational interviews in a series of settings spanning Skype, practical exams, and in-person meetings. Our goal is to gauge both your ability to succeed in the first 90 days as well as your capacity to scale with us as we grow.

Why Counsyl?

Throughout it all, we are looking to understand why you are driven to be a part of our company. Specifically, we want to know how you identify with our mission and will contribute to our team.