Senior Automation Engineer

Pleno Inc.

Pleno Inc.

Software Engineering
San Diego, CA, USA
Posted on Wednesday, September 6, 2023

As Senior Automation Engineer at Pleno, you will be responsible for automating and scaling sample prep workflows and implementing processes for deployment of automation protocols for different sample prep needs. Key responsibilities will be to design, develop, validate, and support scripts/methods based on the assay requirements and deliver robust automation processes to the stakeholders.

If you have hands-on laboratory experience with a minimum of 2 years scripting using Hamilton Venus software and a basic knowledge of general molecular diagnostics workflows, you will be a good fit for this role.

In this role you will:

  • Gather user requirements and functional specifications
  • Develop robust automated solutions utilizing Hamilton liquid handlers to widely enable automation for Pleno sample prep, improve workflow efficiency, increase capacity, and reduce turn-around-time
  • Design, create, implement, and validate Hamilton Venus scripts/methods
  • Become a subject matter expert of Hamilton robotic liquid handling system and be the point of contact to work with the Hamilton Company for troubleshooting any issues and to arrange for instrument repair and PM
  • Manage installation, repair and properly maintain the tool schedule for each user
  • Implement and execute weekly/monthly maintenance to ensure the proper maintenance of the full system as well as implement the sample tracking system for internal and external needs
  • Lead instrument and process troubleshooting efforts and root cause analysis as applicable while being responsible for ensuring system functionality, and communicating with the team regarding system status
  • Implement standard operating procedures and change control review/approval process with detailed work instructions for each method/protocol/workflow and properly maintain the scripts with an implementation of version control and continuously optimize including deck layout optimization and turn-around-time reduction
  • Make suggestions for continuous improvement, cost savings, and implement changes to ensure high-quality performance
  • Design and implement a scheduled verification procedure to ensure instruments/methods are validated in accordance with regulatory requirements
  • Support internal instrument development effort, such as characterizing subsystems, for example, characterize volume accuracy and CV for each liquid handling step and implement custom liquid classes to ensure proper volume dispensing and/or characterize the temperatures for all modules across a plate
  • Present in front of a multi-functional group for data review, development of plans and procedure as well as lead training session and discussions with scientists for new method/workflow implementation
  • Evaluate new technologies as appropriate
  • Participate in the future automation design and development as new requirements arrive

To be successful in this role you have:

  • Experience with operating and programming Hamilton automated liquid handling robotic platforms with at least 1 year of experience (at least mid-level proficiency in Venus software)
  • Experience with standard molecular biology techniques and workflows such as qPCR and DNA/RNA quantification
  • A high comfort level working in a lab environment in the presence of chemicals and running basic biochemistry assays to support scientists
  • Extensive knowledge of SBS liquid handling automation and prior experience with characterizing fluid volume
  • Prior knowledge and experience with fluidic systems, such as building breadboards, characterizing system performance, and interpreting data to the team
  • Extensive troubleshooting and root cause analysis experience
  • An ability to clearly explain issues, outline the potential impact from the issues, and propose solutions with associated benefits across stakeholders
  • Familiarity with JIRA/Confluence, SolidWorks, LIMS, or other relevant software is a plus
  • Experience with sample management approach or software and experience with clinical regulatory requirements and processes
  • Excellent presentation, communication, and interpersonal skills with ability to multi-task and work in a fast-paced environment.

Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a science or engineering field
  • 3 years of related experience (Master or PhD + 1 year of industrial experience) in liquid handling automation field

Note: This position is based Onsite in San Diego and will require regular onsite participation at our office/lab in San Diego, CA - to apply you should be resident in the greater San Diego county area or in the process of relocating.

About Pleno

Pleno is a multidisciplinary team of scientists and technologists focused on collaboration and asking questions. We strive to find the best, and most meaningful answers for biochemistry and engineering problems in our mission to build a revolutionary instrument platform.

We are developing multi-omic instrument platforms that will revolutionize biological target detection for a wide array of meaningful applications. Come join us to be a part of the biomedical revolution?

We value our Pleno people and each person's wellbeing is important to us, so in addition to offering industry competitive compensation, we also offer the following:

  • Equity - everyone at Pleno has a stake in our success
  • Generous company-sponsored contribution to health, dental and vision coverage
  • Company contributions to life insurance, short term and long term disability
  • Flexible Paid Time Off - plus 11 paid holidays including a winter break company-wide close
  • Parental Leave - we value our families and include generous parental leave and wage replacement for birthing parents
  • Free catered onsite meals daily
  • Fitness and wellness facilities and programming
  • Regular opportunities to spend social time together like happy hours & team building events - we stop to celebrate our wins
  • Available 401k plan

We are hiring for positions onsite at our office/lab in San Diego, CA – all positions are full time employment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, or on the basis of disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation. In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification form.

Compensation decisions are dependent on several factors including, but not limited to, level of the position, skills, knowledge and experience, internal equity, and alignment with comparable market data.