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Lead Automation Scientist

Date: Jun 7, 2021

Location: Philadelphia, PA, US

Company: Spark Therapeutics

Join the Spark Team


We were born of innovation, springing from the curiosity, imagination and dedication of remarkable scientists and healthcare visionaries. Our shared mission is to challenge the inevitability of genetic disease by discovering, developing, and delivering treatments in ways unimaginable – until now.


We don’t follow footsteps. We create the path.



The High Throughput Technologies and Lab Automation (HTLA) team is seeking a highly motivated, innovative lab automation scientist or engineer to lead the implementation of laboratory automation and HT platforms for research and development applications.  This is a unique opportunity to participate in a strategic build as Spark expands its lab automation capabilities to drive its growing pipeline.


As an individual contributor, the successful candidate will collaborate closely with functional area stakeholders in the design, implementation, and lifecycle management of lab automation systems, including definition of functional requirements, vendor coordination, factory/site acceptance testing, method development, end-user training, error recovery, and continuous improvement of automated workflows.     The successful candidate will also participate in lab automation strategy and planning, serve as a lab automation SME for Spark’s Research organization, and lead lab automation workstreams as appropriate.  In addition, the candidate will work closely with the data science team to establish end-to-end solutions that address data management bottlenecks.  


Essential to this role is having hands-on hardware/programming experience with automated liquid handlers (e.g. Tecan, Hamilton, Beckman) and robotic integration / scheduling software (e.g. HighRes Biosolutions Cellario, Biosero GreenButtonGo, or Thermo Scientific Momentum).  Also required are strong communication and project management skills to drive collaborative projects with vendors, functional-area end users and the data science team.  Experience in assay automation (e.g. ELISA, cell-based assays, qPCR/dPCR) and automated sample management is also strongly preferred. 


Key job responsibilities include but are not limited to those described below. 



Describe the essential daily job functions and include % of time spent on each.

% of Time

Job Function and Description


Lead the design and implementation of laboratory automation systems and HT workflows for research and development applications according to end-user requirements.  Participate with functional end users and lab automation team in defining short- and long-term automation strategy to support resource and budget planning.  



Support end-user automated workflows through training, method development, system programming, error recovery, and equipment troubleshooting.  Maintain and continuously improve established automation platforms as required by the business.   Work with vendors to support upgrades, repairs, and preventative maintenance.



Collaborate with the data science group to implement end-to-end solutions that solve data management bottlenecks towards a fully digital lab infrastructure.   






  • Minimum BS in engineering or life science discipline required, generally with 9+ years of relevant lab automation experience
  • Hands-on experience in the programming, life cycle management, and maintenance of liquid handlers and robotic systems is required.  Specific experience with liquid handling workstations (e.g. Hamilton, Tecan, or Beckman), automation scheduling software (e.g. HighRes Biosolutions Cellario or Biosero GreenButtonGo), and sample management systems (e.g. Brooks, Scinomix, Hamilton) is highly preferred.
  • Demonstrated strong customer focus and ability to collaborate across disciplines.
  • Experience working with large molecules (e.g. therapeutic proteins, AAV, viral vectors, vaccines) and, specifically, automation of related analytical methods (e.g. ELISA, cell-based potency, qPCR) is strongly preferred.
  • Proficiency in programming languages such as Python, R, Matlab, or Visual Basic and/or experience in automated data management will be considered favorably.

Nearest Major Market: Philadelphia