Berkeley Lab's BioSciences Area Office Division has an opening for a Sr. Scientific Engineering Associate. Under limited supervision, you will lead automation engineering efforts within the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) Synthetic Biology Informatics and Agile BioFoundry (ABF) teams at the Emery Station East (ESE4) Facility, and will apply standard and unique engineering, scientific, and/or other technical concepts to provide broad and varied technical support for sophisticated biotech-laboratory equipment. The position will collaborate with JBEI and ABF research personnel to develop and implement automated processes and solutions, and develop and operationalize training and implementation plans for these new automation capabilities. You will perform complex assignments related to operating, programming, and repairing the instrumentation, evaluating and supporting the procurement of new instrumentation, as well as troubleshooting automation systems and instruments. You will also contribute to scientific and technical peer-reviewed publications, and present results at scientific and technical meetings and conferences.
Independently manage day-to-day activities and work queues of the ESE4 automation team; provide direction and guide team members
Independently coordinate and prioritize the work, plans, and schedules of the automation team with other JBEI and ABF departments and groups as well as internal and external collaborators
Serve as the subject matter expert for all lab automation aspects of JBEI and ABF R&D activities
Manage the technical evaluation of existing and proposed custom equipment
Plan, organize, and conduct innovative engineering and process improvement projects to advance the JBEI and ABF missions and to gain operational efficiencies in terms of reductions in project cycle time, cost, and/or labor time
Collaborate with research personnel to design, develop, and implement automation solutions for biotechnological work processes
Utilize commercially available software, including Visual Basic, VBScript, VB.Net, VBA, and Excel as well as custom software applications (including Biomek, Biomek Method Launcher, and Semi Ex) to program robotic platforms and general laboratory equipment
Script automated workflows on robotic liquid handlers and large integrated robotic systems (e.g., a Biomek FXP Laboratory Automation Workstation integrated with microplate hotel, conveyer, incubator, centrifuge, and plate reader)
Create user interface, analysis, and/or process software tools as needed
Train and collaborate with end-users on the operation of new systems and tools, and support their implementation, including the development of training material, Standard Operating Procedures, and validation testing
Collaborate with vendors for the support, troubleshooting, and repair of laboratory instruments including: Liquid Handlers, Robotic Systems, Analysis Instruments, and other similarly complex scientific and biotech lab equipment
Respond to automation-based work requests, log and manage all work in JIRA (or other ticketing system as appropriate) and provide regular reports as requested by the Supervisor
Maintain clear communication and high levels of customer service with appropriate JBEI and ABF personnel concerning service and support issues, including instrumentation and process troubleshooting
Contribute to the preparation of scientific and technical manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication and posters for presentation at scientific and technical conferences and meetings
Provide oversight and guidance for research associates, and other scientific staff, where appropriate
Provide technical support for the installation, evaluation and ongoing support of new instruments, including establishing recalibration & maintenance frequencies
Consult with service engineers and coordinate service for the repair and maintenance of equipment under maintenance contracts with the vendor
Collaborate with the informatics team to automatically collect meta data of the experimental design into the Experiment Data Depot
Assist with special projects as assigned (e.g., ergonomic modifications to commercial instruments)
Participate in lab organizational meetings, and provide periodic updates in lab group meetings
Ability to communicate to diverse audiences in print, online, and in person in order to promote the Biosciences Area's scientific accomplishments.
Perform other duties to support the Biosciences Area's communications efforts as assigned by the Supervisor.
B.S degree in Biology, Engineering or related discipline, and 3-5 years minimum professional technical experience in a research laboratory or an equivalent combination of education and experience
Demonstrated experience applying technical, scientific, and engineering principles to evaluate manual laboratory work protocols/process and develop automated work processes
Proficiency with process optimization methodologies
Strong knowledge and expertise in laboratory technology including automated high-throughput and biotech instrumentation, including the ability to create, validate, optimize, and maintain liquid handling processes on robotic workstations
Experience with scripting automated workflows on robotic liquid handlers (e.g., Biomek FXP/NXP/FX/NX)
Knowledge of Visual Basic, VBScript, Biomek, Biomek Method Launcher, and Semi Ex programming for data manipulation & instrument integration
Ability to design, install, maintain, calibrate and operate a variety of electronic components, devices, instruments, circuits, equipment, or systems
Experience gathering feedback and requirements and analyzing data to make recommendations
Excellent interpersonal skills for working in a team environment
Strong written and verbal communication skills
General personal computer application skills with spreadsheets, databases, and word processors
Able to be flexible within a team to achieve objectives
Ability to handle multiple tasks in parallel while working effectively
Willingness to learn new skills on new instruments as appropriate
Good organizational and record keeping skills
Ability to work independently and make appropriate decisions during shift work without additional support.
On occasion, lift and move equipment up to 25 lbs
Additional Desired Qualifications:
Knowledge (or demonstrated knowledge) in laboratory and general molecular biology techniques
Familiarity with Coastal Genomics/Hamilton NIMBUS, Labcyte Echo550, and Molecular Devices QPix460 instruments
The posting shall remain open until the position is filled, however for full consideration, please apply by close of business on January 31, 2018 .
This is a full time 2-year term appointment with the possibility of extension or conversion to Career appointment based upon satisfactory job performance, continuing availability of funds and ongoing operational needs.
Full-time, M-F, exempt (monthly paid) from overtime pay.
Salary is commensurate with experience.
This position may be subject to a background check. Any convictions will be evaluated to determine if they directly relate to the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Having a conviction history will not automatically disqualify an applicant from being considered for employment.
Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) — Bldg. 978, 5885 Hollis St., 4th floor, Emeryville, CA.
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