Share this Job

Sr Automation Engineer/Scientist

Date: Feb 18, 2021

Location: 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 Technology Development Automation team is seeking is seeking a highly motivated, innovative automation scientist or engineer to help establish and manage laboratory automation and robotic systems within preclinical operations, high throughput process development, and assay automation.  This is a unique opportunity to participate in a strategic build, as Spark expands it automation capabilities to drive its growing pipeline.

The successful candidate will participate in the design of automation laboratories and lead the implementation of specific automation projects, involving system design and prototyping, factory/site acceptance testing, method implementation, and end-user training and support.  She/he will also support the life management, troubleshooting, maintenance, and continuous improvement of implemented robotic systems, while continuing to innovate to meet the changing needs of the business.  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 robotic liquid handlers (e.g. Tecan, Hamilton, Beckman, Agilent) 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.

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



30%  - Lead the final design, tactical implementation, and instrument qualification (FAT/SAT) of robotic workstations according to defined end-user specifications within one or more of the following functional areas: vector production, cell line development, upstream/downstream/formulation high throughput process development (HTPD), HT analytics, and sample management.  Collaborate closely with functional end users and the data science group to implement end-to-end solutions that meet the needs of the business.  

30% - Support end-user automated workflows through training, method development, error recovery, and equipment troubleshooting. 

25% - Maintain and continuously improve established automation platforms as required by the business.   Work with vendor to support repairs and preventative maintenance.

15% - Collaborate closely with the data science group to implement end-to-end solutions that solve data management bottlenecks towards a fully digital lab infrastructure. 



  • Minimum of a BS in an engineering or life science discipline required; graduate degree preferred.
  • Generally has 5+ years of relevant industry experience, with experience in large molecule (e.g. therapeutic proteins, viral vectors, and vaccines) bioprocess or analytical development preferred. 
  • Hands-on experience in the development, life cycle management, and maintenance of liquid handers and robotic systems.  Specific experience with liquid handling workstation (e.g. Hamilton, Tecan, or Beckman) and/or using automation scheduling software (e.g. HighRes Biosolutions Cellario, Thermo Fisher Momentum, or Biosero GreenButtonGo) is highly preferred. 
  • Demonstrated strong customer focus and ability to collaborate across disciplines.
  • Proficiency in programming languages including Python, R, Matlab, or Visual Basic and/or in multivariate statistics, especially DOE and JMP/Design Expert is a plus.
  • Strong working knowledge of laboratory automation hardware and software.
  • Demonstrated project management skills, with a strong customer focus and an ability to collaborate with vendors and key stakeholders
  • Able to self-direct toward individual milestones as part of or larger team.
  • Self-motivated to learn and innovate.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills,
  • Strong organizational skills and detailed documentation abilities.
  • Good scientific knowledge of cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and bioprocessing methods. 
  • Ability to drive complex projects to implementation, overcome obstacles, and support life cycle management of implemented systems.
  • Demonstrate independent problem-solving skills when faced with technical issues; capable of working on multiple tasks and developing solutions for a variety of highly complex problems.
  • Must be comfortable in the fast-paced, biotech start-up environment and interact with multi-disciplinary Research, PD, and Tech Operations teams at Spark.


Additional requirements

  • Position is a lab-based role and therefore requires the candidate to be on site the majority (> 80%) of time and to wear PPE as required by lab SOPs. 
  • Due to the inherent nature of experimental work, some extended hours / weekend work may be needed on occasion. 
  • Must be able to lift 25 pounds.
  • Although infrequent, some travel may be required.