Associate Director, RNA Purification & Characterization

Ginkgo Bioworks
Full Time
Massachusetts, United States

We are searching for a remarkable Associate Director to lead a small team in circRNA / mRNA purification process development. At Ginkgo, your role will also involve leading collaborative work with scientists from various teams, focusing on designing, screening, generating and purifying RNA constructs for both therapeutic and non-therapeutic purposes. Your main responsibility will be to develop mRNA and circRNA processes including, purifications (both chromatography and high-throughput based methodologies), analytical method development / characterization and optimizing IVT reactions. Demonstrated success in purification, IVT and RNA work will be strongly favored with experience managing diverse team members. Expertise is required with how RNA secondary structure and topology affects both its generation (in vitro or in vivo) and its function. Knowledge of in vitro transcription methods for generating RNAs and familiarity with RNA-associated immunogenicity is important. Demonstrated experience managing interdisciplinary teams to deliver technical milestones on timelines is preferred. Internal title Senior Mammalian Engineer 2.

Your deep technical understanding should enable you to offer technical solutions to potential partners' challenges and then work to deliver those solutions. As a driven and organized team member, you will need to be flexible and able to re-prioritize with the changing demands of a fast-paced environment. Team members will be inspired by your commitment to technical excellence and delivery.

Please note: this role could be based in either our Seaport or Cambridge locations, but requires some flexibility to occasionally be present at the other location.

Your primary role involves management and hands-on research including purification process development and analytical development / characterization of mRNA and circRNA, with the ultimate aim of producing therapeutic-grade material for in-vitro downstream assays and deliver scalable purification strategies to reduce immunogenicity and maximize in-vivo expression.


  • Lead a small team in circRNA / mRNA purifications, analytical method development and develop novel scalable processes to deliver therapeutic-grade material for in-vitro and in-vivo studies.
  • Design, lead and develop novel chromatography and HTP purification processes including affinity, AEX, HIC, ipRP, mixed-mode, TFF and others.
  • Execute lab experiments, lead scientific strategies and communicate clear findings to internal and external Ginkgo partners.
  • Manage direct reports in daily experiential strategies, design of experiments, analyzing results and lead project and sub-project teams to deliver on results.
  • Develop scale-out and scale-up mRNA and circRNA processes using liquid handling systems (Hamiltons, HPLCs, FPLC and others) to deliver high purity mRNA / circRNA including chromatography based purification, analytical methods and IVT reactions.
  • Author technical documents including manuscripts, patents, reports, SOPs and others.
  • Develop analytical methods to quantitate the purity of mRNA / circRNA by  EX-agarose gel, capillary gel electrophoresis, HPLC and other analytical methods.

Minimum Requirements

  • PhD with a minimum of  5 years of experience or equivalent experience in Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Molecular Biology, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, or a related field.
  • Demonstrated success in nucleic acid chemistry, nucleic acid structure-activity relationships, RNA biology, synthesis, purification, and characterization.
  • Excellent communication and organization skills, with the ability to effectively convey project plans and complex technical information to a wide range of internal teams, executive leadership, and external partners
  • A desire to thrive in a team-first, fast-paced environment, a willingness to learn new technologies and skills, and an ability to efficiently deliver and solve problems.
  • An enthusiasm for learning new techniques and a strong curiosity about previously unknown areas of biology.

Preferred Capabilities and Experience

  • Direct experience and technical leadership in projects investigating RNA sequence-structure-function relationships in the context of translation, stability, catalysis, interference, or any other RNA process.
  • Experience in project management skills, with the ability to oversee multiple projects simultaneously, meet deadlines, and collaborate with cross-functional teams.
  • Experience leading successful teams and mentoring multiple team membersF
  • Ability to work with interdisciplinary teams in a fast-paced, high-growth environment
  • Knowledge of GMP practices, scaleup procedures and technical transfer to external organizations.
  • Strong molecular biology expertise, with experience in mammalian cell culture and familiarity with next-generation sequencing technologies, RNA structure / function and ribosomal profiling is a plus.

To learn more about Ginkgo, visit or check out some curated press below:

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, employment applicants, and EOE disability/vet.

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