Automation Padawan (1 year paid internship)

Ginkgo Bioworks, Boston, MA


Ginkgo is building an industrialized foundry for organism engineering. Our mission is to ‘make biology easier to engineer’. Just as in the semiconductor industry, where designs are decoupled from manufacture, we believe that the right engineering approach can dramatically accelerate the pace at which we create world-changing organisms. Ginkgo has used the foundry model to successfully deliver on several ambitious projects and attract numerous partnerships. We’re not done improving and expanding, though. We want to build a foundry where biologists never have to touch a pipette, where science is accomplished with guidance from expert systems, and where scientists can access tools at a scale that unlocks capability never available before.

Padawans (what we call interns) at Ginkgo work on projects just as ambitious as the Jedis (what we call full-time employees). Because of this, we’re looking for the best scientists and engineers who are excited by the challenges of scaling and improving our foundry in our Padawans. Because it touches nearly every part of the foundry, the Automation Team is integral to Ginkgo’s vision for the future. The Automation Team is creating integrated robotic workcells, designing processes around walkup robotic systems, improving how data is handled, working with scientists on scaling their processes, and much more. All the work we do is in service of increasing Ginkgo’s capacity in terms of the number of strains engineered and the diversity of species and products we can handle. It’s an enormous challenge and we need people who are eager to get started. You’ll be working hand in hand with biologists, software developers, and other engineers to co-develop the wetware, hardware and software infrastructure that underpin the Foundry.

This is a one year, full-time internship. We've found that three-month summer internships are too short for someone to get up to speed and be productive in our organism engineering foundry. Applicants are taken on a rolling basis. We suggest you apply two months before your intended start date. Undergraduate applicants are typically seniors looking for post-graduation plans and graduate applicants should be planning to graduate within a year. The Padawan position is also a good way for someone with less experience in industry to get a chance to see if Ginkgo is a good fit.


  • Developing automated experimental workflows for genetic engineering processes, strain cultivation, sample preparation, and multi-omics analysis
  • Writing software to drive operation of laboratory instruments and robotics
  • Validating and QC'ing automated protocols
  • Writing software for data acquisition, retrieval and processing
  • Operating automation equipment with biologists
  • Training automation users on workflows and best practices
  • Support and maintenance of automation hardware
  • Designing and building integrated automation infrastructure, including workcells for executing high-throughput processes, as well as flexible distributed automation tooling


  • Ability to work at Ginkgo Bioworks for up to one year as a Padawan
  • Experience with laboratory automation systems and experimental workflow development
  • Software development capability, especially pertaining to hardware control
  • Practical knowledge of high-throughput biological processes
  • Experience in hardware development, integration, and testing
To learn more about Ginkgo, check us out on Medium and BuzzFeed

We also feel it’s important to point out the obvious here – there’s a serious lack of diversity in our industry and it needs to change. Our goal is to help drive that change. We hope to continue to build a company whose culture promotes inclusion and embraces how rewarding it is to work with engineers from all walks of life. Making biology easier to engineer is a tough nut to crack - we can’t afford to leave any talent untapped.

It is the policy of Ginkgo Bioworks to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and employment applicants.

About Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo Bioworks is the organism company. We design custom microbes for customers across multiple markets. We build our foundries to scale the process of organism engineering using software and hardware automation. Organism engineers at Ginkgo learn from nature to develop new organisms that replace technology with biology.

Want to learn more about Ginkgo Bioworks? Visit Ginkgo Bioworks's website.