Staff Mechanical Engineer - Automation, Integration & Scale #3669



Other Engineering
Durham, NC, USA
Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Our mission is to detect cancer early, when it can be cured. We are working to change the trajectory of cancer mortality and bring stakeholders together to adopt innovative, safe, and effective technologies that can transform cancer care.
We are a healthcare company, pioneering new technologies to advance early cancer detection. We have built a multi-disciplinary organization of scientists, engineers, and physicians and we are using the power of next-generation sequencing (NGS), population-scale clinical studies, and state-of-the-art computer science and data science to overcome one of medicine’s greatest challenges.
GRAIL is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, with locations in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and the United Kingdom. It is supported by leading global investors and pharmaceutical, technology, and healthcare companies.
For more information, please visit
GRAIL’s R&D team is building innovative processes and automation systems that are capable of delivering tests at an unprecedented scale. We are seeking passionate and talented individuals to join us in realizing our mission, which has the potential to dramatically reduce the global burden of cancer.
The Senior/Staff Automation Engineer - Integration and Scale will join a cross-functional development team that includes automation, process, and software engineering, along with R&D scientists, and clinical operations personnel. This team is responsible for transitioning manual and semi-automated workflows to a new fully-automated robotics platform. This position will play a key role in tying together automated laboratory liquid handling systems, robotic workcell automation and robust industrial automation systems into a new NGS-based clinical diagnostic system capable of running millions of patient samples per year. The ideal candidate will be experienced in the integration of components and devices from a wide variety of vendors with custom-built software solutions.


  • Develop, configure, program, and troubleshoot large scale automated solutions for novel NGS-based clinical diagnostic testing in a regulated environment.
  • Analyze current workflows and develop scalable procedures while identifying new sets of automated equipment to deploy.
  • Be a key contributor to internal cross-functional project teams to develop technical product and automated system requirements.
  • Provide expertise as a conduit to external contractors, suppliers, and integrated system providers in the design of large scale automated solutions.
  • Develop and document work under design control and quality management systems, policies and procedures.
  • Perform research, development, verification and validation testing per project needs.
  • Author, execute and document test plans and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for automated workflows.
  • Support and grow the automation needs of GRAIL’s research teams
  • Monitor and evaluate new and emerging technologies in laboratory automation systems
  • Manage complex bills of materials, inventory tracking, and purchase orders
  • Develop relationships with equipment vendors and field service engineers
  • Evaluate and recommend engineering changes to existing devices and equipment in order to improve reliability, manufacturability, serviceability, and decrease cost.

Preferred Qualifications;

  • B.S. or M.S. in Engineering with preference for Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, Controls, or Process Engineering or a related Science field with appropriate automation experience.
  • Minimum of 5+ years (Senior); 7+ years (Staff) experience with automation systems and transferring complex workflows into a high-throughput operation. Preference given to experience from the life science industry, but relevant experience from other industries will be considered (e.g. manufacturing in the food & beverage, pharmaceutical, chemical, agricultural, automotive industries)
  • Experience implementing robotic workcells, preferably in a laboratory automation environment.
  • Proven track record leading complex automation projects involving internal and external teams.
  • Demonstrated delivery of automated systems into production environments.
  • Comfortable managing projects and relationships through 3rd party contractors.
  • Proficient in SolidWorks 2020 or later
  • Experience designing and prototyping parts/assemblies using CAD systems
  • Experience developing control systems using PLCs or other I/O infrastructure (e.g. Allen Bradley, Beckhoff, Siemens, Labview, Arduino, etc.)
  • Experience developing HMI/SCADA systems ( e.g. Ignition, FactoryTalk, Wonderware, etc.)
  • Hands on experience troubleshooting electro-mechanical systems
  • Proven track record working with machine shops for prototyping and manufacture of custom designed parts (e.g. 3D printing, machining, injection molding, etc.)
  • Familiarity with P&ID and electrical schematics
  • Highly energetic and self-motivated. Able to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Analytical, creative thinker, ability to solve problems.
  • Effective organizational and time management skills.

Nice To Have;

  • Experience working with a broad set of laboratory instruments and tools.
  • Experience working in a regulated environment (CLIA / CAP / FDA / ISO).
  • Experience in reagent manufacturing, ideally in a regulated environment (cGMP).
  • Experience with C#, powershell, python
  • Experience or knowledge of communications protocols such as OPC, Modbus
  • Knowledge of GD&T as it applies to machined parts and assemblies
Based on the role, colleagues may be eligible to participate in an annual bonus plan tied to company and individual performance, or an incentive plan. We also offer a long-term incentive plan to align company and colleague success over time.
In addition, GRAIL offers a progressive benefit package, including flexible time-off, a 401k with a company match, and alongside our medical, dental, vision plans, carefully selected mindfulness offerings.
GRAIL is an Equal Employment Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, disability or any other legally protected status. We will reasonably accommodate all individuals with disabilities so that they can participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. GRAIL maintains a drug-free workplace.