Director/Associate Director- Mammalian Assay Development & Cell Pharmacology

Ginkgo Bioworks, Boston, MA


Duration: Full-Time

Our mission is to make biology easier to engineer. Ginkgo is constructing, editing, and redesigning the living world to answer the world’s growing challenges in health, energy, food, materials, and more. Our bioengineers use an in-house automated foundry to design and build new organisms.

Core to our organism engineering pipeline is the testing and analysis of our engineered strains. We leverage high-throughput screens and selections to measure thousands of strains simultaneously for improved enzyme activity of critical steps or increased titers of final products. Given the diversity of projects at Ginkgo, our assay development approaches involve multiple hosts, products of interest, and a wide range of detection strategies. 

The Director/Associate Director of Mammalian Assay Development & Cell Pharmacology will lead an assay development group within the High Throughput Screening (HTS) team that leverages Ginkgo’s synthetic biology and cell engineering platform to discover, develop, and optimize cell therapies, biologics, and drugs. Specifically, the group utilizes assays to characterize engineered mammalian cells, screen small and large molecules or vectors for improved or desired activities, creating biological solutions for use across biomanufacturing, multiple disease, and therapeutic indications.  

In this crucial HTS leadership role, you will continue to build out and set the future vision for Ginkgo’s mammalian cell-based assay development and screening capabilities. You will manage team members, providing mentorship, coaching, and technical support for current and future talent to help them meet their full potential. Ideal candidates have a strong background in team leadership, project and resource management, and communication across interdisciplinary teams of scientists. In addition, you will have an established track record in developing human disease-relevant cellular assays, scaling systematic or combinatorial gene editing approaches to large library screens, and high throughput cell functional screening and profiling for desired or improved activities. 

The Director/Associate Director will be responsible for many projects in parallel, evaluating project strategies, providing insights towards experiment design, deriving biological insights from large screening data sets, and effectively utilizing resources and prioritizing efforts across the team. You will have experience balancing the demands of a fast-paced, ambitious, and diverse group of research objectives through collaborating with cross-functional teams of both internal and external stakeholders to deliver on our cell and gene therapy and drug discovery efforts.    



  • Lead a talented team of immunologists and cellular assay development scientists supporting a diverse portfolio of projects maintaining and fostering scientific excellence, continuous learning, and a culture of innovation.
  • Support and develop industry-leading immunology and cell pharmacology team through mentorship and coaching.
  • Continuously improve the team by identifying relevant assay technologies and innovative approaches and help scout and recruit new talent.
  • Identify and develop predictive and translational plate-based cell-based assays to assess engineered designs or test agents for functional characterization, resulting in the impactful invention of newly optimized and improved cells to generate or identify biotherapeutics.
  • Accountable for the team deliverables, ensuring the use of appropriate assay/detection approaches and execution of robust screens using multiple platforms (e.g. reporter, imaging, immunoassays, gene expression, single-cell, 3D cellular models, etc.) to generate high-quality data, biological insights, and data-driven decisions that impact the progress of projects.   
  • Proactively manage the team’s project portfolio, engaging in resource planning, project prioritization, risk assessment, and mitigation strategizing while fostering collaboration and communication with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Serve as a communication bridge between the assay development & HTS team to functional teams comprising but not limited to project team leads, program directors, design and protein engineers, operations teams, business groups, and commercial partners. 
  • Advance projects by applying internal expertise across in vitro cellular pharmacology & screening (reporter, proliferation, immune profiling, functional read-outs) and leverage external networks to provide capabilities or solutions where necessary. 
  • Propose, develop, and optimize novel cell-based assays for high-throughput screens with a deep understanding of the scientific purpose behind screening goals. 

Desired Experience and Capabilities

  • Ph.D. in Immunology, Cell Biology, in vitro Pharmacology, and experience as a drug hunter or cell/gene therapy scientist with at least 8 years of relevant industrial biotech or pharmaceutical experience; or MS/BS with relevant years of industry experience. 
  • Previous experience leading and building a team of R&D scientists establishing methods to characterize gene editing outcomes in mammalian cells using molecular, immunological, and cell functional readouts.
  • Predictive or translational cell-based assay development and screening that has resulted in achieving a pipeline or clinical milestone.
  • Recognized for technical rigor and scientific excellence with a strong track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals and external presentations, preferably in the areas of (immune-oncology, immune tolerance, immune evasion, inflammation, or autoimmunity). 
  • Extensive knowledge and experience in Immunology with practical application in autoimmune, neuroinflammation, immuno-oncology diseases, or vaccine therapeutics.
  • Demonstrated experience developing plate-based cell-based assays for high-throughput screening with in-depth knowledge and experience working with immune primary cell types (NK, T-cells, B-cells, Macrophages, antigen presentation, or mixed lymphocyte reactions), recombinant and engineered cells, as well as iPS derived cell types. 
  • Expertise in cellular and assay technologies (e.g., multi-color flow cytometry for immune profiling and function, Luminex, high content imaging, TR-FRET, AlphaLisa, Nanobit, NanoBRET, HiBiT, and multiple additional assay formats).
  • Solid understanding of statistical concepts associated with assay development, validation, and high-throughput screening. 
  • Familiarity with running cell-based assays in 384- and 1536- well format in an automated, integrated screening environment, working with computational biology and bioinformatics to optimize data analysis and visualization in tools (e.g., Genedata, Spotfire).
  • Strong ability to hone in on scientific priorities, set timelines, utilize project management tools/principles, and design well-controlled, purpose-driven experiments.
  • Excellent written, verbal communication, and advocacy skills across a variety of relationships including reports, team members, company-level leadership, and cross-functional teams.
To learn more about Ginkgo, check out some recent press:

We also feel that it’s important to point out the obvious here – there’s a serious lack of diversity in our industry, and that needs to change. Our goal is to help drive that change. Ginkgo is deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its practices, especially when it comes to growing our team. Our culture promotes inclusion and embraces how rewarding it is to work with people from all walks of life.  

We’re developing a powerful biological engineering platform, so we must remain mindful of the many ways our technology can – and will – impact people around the world. We care about how our platform is used, and having a diverse team to build it gives us the best chance that it’s something we’ll be proud of as it continues to grow. Therefore, it’s critical that we incorporate the diverse voices and visions of all those who play a role in the future of biology.

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.