Principal Associate Scientist - RNA

Ginkgo Bioworks Inc.
Full Time
Massachusetts, United States

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

Job Description for a Principal Associate Scientist - RNA

We are searching for an exceptionally creative and motivated Principal Associate Scientist with expertise in RNA biology, specifically in IVT, purification and purification process development and scale-up. At Ginkgo, your role will involve 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 optimizing IVTs, purifications (both chromatography and high-throughput based methodologies) and analytical method development / characterization. Prior experience in IVT, purification and RNA work will be strongly favored. Additionally, experience with Design Engineering, DOE, in-vitro or cell-based experiments for engineering RNA with durable, tissue-specific expression is highly valued. At Ginkgo you may also have the opportunity to work on the purification and characterization of other biomolecules, including proteins, enzymes, AAVs, and VLPs.

Specific Role Description

Your primary role involves hands-on research and process development of IVT, purification, analytical and characterization methods for nucleic acids including mRNA and circRNA, with the ultimate aim of producing therapeutic-grade material for in-vitro downstream assays and pre-clinical in-vivo studies.


Your core responsibility is to innovate new methods for developing and scaling up RNA ultimately yielding therapeutic-grade material for in-vitro downstream assays and in-vivo studies.

Design and execute improved IVT, perform process purifications from high-throughput to bench scale and the use of liquid handlers like the FPLC and HPLC systems to develop chromatography-based purification methods.

Test and implement buffer exchange and TFF methods.

Conduct high-throughput in-vitro assays to support process development activities, such as in-vitro transcription scale-up, biochemical RNA characterization, gel electrophoresis, ELISA, CGE, and more.

Author, review, and approve protocols, SOPs, technical documents, and reports for RNA production.

Execute and collaborate to plan experiments, analyze and interpret data. Operate independently and effectively collaborate with colleagues and cross functional teams to drive results.

Maintain comprehensive electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) and documentation records, and present findings to internal and external Ginkgo partners.

Minimum Requirements:

PhD with 0 years of experience, Master’s with 3+ years of experience, or equivalent educational background in Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, or a related field.

Strong knowledge of nucleic acid chemistry, nucleic acid structure-activity relationships, RNA biology, synthesis, purification, and characterization.

Experience in in-vitro transcription and characterization of RNA (gel electrophoresis, enzymatic reactions, chromatography, ELISA), along with quantitative and statistical data analysis.

Demonstrated hands-on experience in high-throughput, lab and large-scale nucleic acid (RNA) purification methodologies, including chromatography separation (ion-pair reversed-phase, anion exchange, hydrophobic interaction, mixed-mode) and buffer exchange methods.

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

Knowledge of GMP practices and experience working in pharmaceutical companies.

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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