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The Research and Development team at Foundation Medicine is constantly pushing the envelope to transform cancer care.

Watch the video to see how each member has the chance to make a real impact. 


Sr Automation Engineer

  • San Diego, California, United States
  • Full Time

About the Job

The Senior Automation Engineer is responsible for automating and scaling complex workflows and implementing processes for deployment in clinical laboratories at multiple sites. Involved in all aspects of assay automation development and instrument integration from concept to requirements definition, method development, optimization, troubleshooting and validation. The role identifies problem areas and develops solutions to reduce Turn-Around-Time (TAT), increase sample processing capacity, and improve assay performance. The Senior Automation Engineer is also involved in performing installation and operational qualifications of automation equipment. They are also responsible for generating the documents required for this activity. The position is part of the team responsible for the development and integration of automated systems to ensure efficient productivity of patient processing.


Key Responsibilities

• Develop and improve robust automated solutions utilizing liquid handlers and other laboratory automation equipment designed to remove bottlenecks, increase capacity and reduce TAT in FMI’s high throughput (24/7) Next Generation Sequencing lab.

• Program, optimize, verify, and implement new and/or improved methods on robotic liquid handling workstations and integrated robotic systems.

• Design and prototype components for integration of robotic systems through iterative improvements while working with scientists.

• Provide on-site technical support of automation platforms.

• Analyze workflows, identify bottlenecks, and develop solutions to improve efficiency, throughput, cost, and quality.

• Generate and maintain requirements and test plan documentation.

• Integrate instrument components and perform unit testing of instruments.

• Contribute to innovation of current and new assays workflows, technologies, and processes.

• Install, test and control new versions of automated protocols on applicable instrumentation across labs and possibly across sites.

• Provide training and documentation for new or modified workflows to end users.

• Other duties as assigned.



Basic Qualifications

• One of the below education and experience combinations:

·   Bachelor’s Degree in Bioengineering, Biotechnology or a similar life science AND 5+ years of related experience with high-throughput laboratory instrumentation; OR

·   a Master’s Degree in fields specified above and 3+ years of experience


Preferred Qualifications

• Experience working in a regulated environment (e.g. CLIA, CAP, ISO, GxP)

• Previous experience working in a molecular diagnostics/clinical laboratory setting

• Familiarity with VBscript, Python, PERL and/or JavaScript, relational databases, SQL, and LIMS or other relevant enterprise software packages

• Ability to work in a lab environment in the presence of chemicals and reagents.

• Experience with:

·   Robotic liquid handlers from Hamilton, TECAN, Agilent Technologies, Dynamic Devices or Beckman Coulter

·   Developing and implementing integrated robotic systems for use in a high throughput environment

·   Developing, optimizing, and validating assays for use in a high throughput environment

·   Standard molecular biology techniques such as nucleic acid isolation, purification and quantitation, bioanalyzer, DNA/RNA quantitation, qPCR or Next Generation Sequencing

• Familiarity with streamlining workflows and developing automated laboratory processes and instrumentation systems, including collecting and documenting requirements, developing concepts, design, testing/validation, implementing, and training

• Experience communicating and collaborating with internal and external colleagues and customers from diverse scientific, engineering, operational, and regulatory disciplines

• Ability to work as an individual as well as in a team environment

• Knowledge of safety protocols in a laboratory setting

• Strong written and oral communication skills

• Detail oriented and well organized

• Understanding of HIPAA and the importance of patient data privacy

• Commitment to reflect FMI's values: patients, passion, innovation, and collaboration

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