Associate Director, Biological Mechanism



South San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Opportunity

The heart of insitro's strategy is the combination of novel target identification and conviction, the latest methods in machine learning, biology at scale and small molecule discovery that address important bottlenecks in the drug development pipeline. To accomplish that, we are looking for an experienced leader of our Biological Mechanism Team, whose mission is to build and apply the approaches towards answering mechanistic biology questions. In this leadership role, you will manage an accomplished department of several scientists and work within a highly functioning and scientifically engaged group.

Reporting to the VP, Bioassays, Arrayed Screening and Cell Models, you will partner with the therapeutic area scientists to support deeper understanding of mechanistic cell biology for a range of targets. You will be a thought leader for design and execution of cell based and biochemical assays to interrogate target regulation pathways. You will collaborate closely with the existing bioassays, arrayed screening and cell models team to help facilitate assay optimization and quality control. This will be an on-site role with direct reports who will be laboratory based, with opportunities to accelerate projects and towards drug discovery. You are collaborative, creative, and rigorous and will excel in an exciting environment. This is an excellent opportunity for someone passionate about assay development and drug discovery!

You will join a growing techbio startup that has long-term stability but is very much in formation, providing many opportunities for impact. You will work with an accomplished versatile team with learning opportunities, and help shape insitro's culture, strategic direction, and outcomes. This role is based in our South San Francisco headquarters. Join us, and help make a difference to patients!


  • Directing, establishing ,and designing bioassays to investigate target/pathway biology using human disease relevant models
  • Lead efforts with and experimental focus to investigate target regulation pathway impacts and modality agnostic investigation of off-target impacts for target regulation
  • Oversee studies for pathway specific investigation, which will encompass assessment of upstream and downstream pathway impacts of target engagement
  • Serve as SME for internal/external bioanalytical assay design and data interpretation and potentially support CRO monitoring and outsourced activities

About You

  • You will have a PhD in a biological science related field (Cell bio, Biochem, Genetics etc.) with 8+ years of industry experience including 5+ years in drug discovery platforms
  • Extensive experience with a broad spectrum of state-of-the-art cellular and biochemical assays
  • Strong track record of leading high performing scientific teams
  • A strong communicator and influencer experienced with cross-functional teams
  • Strong analytical skills, including qualitative and quantitative assessment skills and demonstrated critical thinking

Compensation & Benefits at insitro

Our target starting salary for successful US-based applicants for this role is $175,000 - $195,000. To determine starting pay, we consider multiple job-related factors including a candidate's skills, education and experience, market demand, business needs, and internal parity. We may also adjust this range in the future based on market data.

This role is eligible for participation in our Annual Performance Bonus Plan (based on company targets by role level and annual company performance) and our Equity Incentive Plan, subject to the terms of those plans and associated policies.

In addition, insitro also provides our employees:

  • 401(k) plan with employer matching for contributions
  • Excellent medical, dental, and vision coverage (insitro pays 100% of premiums for employees on our base plans), as well as mental health and well-being support
  • Open, flexible vacation policy
  • Paid parental leave
  • Quarterly budget for books and online courses for self-development
  • Support to occasionally attend professional conferences that are meaningful to your career growth and development
  • New hire stipend for home office setup
  • Monthly cell phone & internet stipend
  • Access to free onsite baristas and cafe with daily lunch and breakfast
  • Access to free onsite fitness center
  • Commuter benefits

insitro is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.

We believe diversity, equity, and inclusion need to be at the foundation of our culture. We work hard to bring together diverse teams–grounded in a wide range of expertise and life experiences–and work even harder to ensure those teams thrive in inclusive, growth-oriented environments supported by equitable company and team practices. All candidates can expect equitable treatment, respect, and fairness throughout the interview process.

About insitro
insitro is a drug discovery and development company using machine learning (ML) and data at scale to decode biology for transformative medicines. At the core of insitro’s approach is the convergence of in-house generated multi-modal cellular data and high-content phenotypic human cohort data. We rely on these data to develop ML-driven, predictive disease models that uncover underlying biologic state and elucidate critical drivers of disease. These powerful models rely on extensive biological and computational infrastructure and allow insitro to advance novel targets and patient biomarkers, design therapeutics and inform clinical strategy. insitro is advancing a wholly owned and partnered pipeline of insights and therapeutics in neuroscience, oncology and metabolism. Since launching in 2018, insitro has raised over $700 million from top tech, biotech and crossover investors, and from collaborations with pharmaceutical partners. For more information on insitro, please visit