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Group Leader - Synthetic Biology

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POST DATE 10/12/2017
END DATE 1/4/2018

Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Cambridge, MA

Cambridge, MA
AJE Ref #
Job Classification
Full Time
Job Type
Company Ref #
Mid-Career (2 - 15 years)
Doctoral Degree



Draper is an independent, nonprofit research and development company headquartered in Cambridge, MA. The 1,700 employees of Draper tackle important national challenges with a promise of delivering successful and usable solutions. From military defense and space exploration to biomedical engineering, lives often depend on the solutions we provide. Our multidisciplinary teams of engineers and scientists work in a collaborative environment that inspires the cross-fertilization of ideas necessary for true innovation. For more information about Draper, visit

Our work is very important to us, but so is our life outside of work. Draper supports many programs to improve work-life balance including workplace flexibility, employee clubs ranging from photography to yoga, health and finance workshops, off site social events and discounts to local museums and cultural activities. If this specific job opportunity and the chance to work at a nationally renowned R&D innovation company appeals to you, apply now

Equal Employment Opportunity

Draper is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. We understand the value of diversity and its impact on a high-performance culture. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information.

Draper is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its services, programs, and activities. To request reasonable accommodation, please contact


The Materials Directorate is seeking a Group Leader to lead our Synthetic Biology group. The Synthetic Biology group at Draper provides the opportunity to interface our advanced instrumentation capabilities with cutting edge techniques in synthetic and molecular biology. Draper s unique status as a not-for-profit R&D laboratory allows the ability to seek funding from internal as well as external sources (ARPAs, DoD, philanthropic, NIH, commercial sector). Today, Draper s Synthetic Biology group has programs in enzyme engineering, advanced DNA synthesis, bio sensing, genetic engineering of bacterial and mammalian cells, and diagnostics. We seek to expand the Synthetic Biology group and its technological capabilities to establish Draper s position as a leader in the expanding synthetic biology landscape.

The Group Leader is the first-level of engineering management and requires the ability to apply sound scientific and management principles for technical hands-on leadership. Specific responsibilities include working with the Division Leader to: a) support the career development, growth, and project assignments of the Group s engineering staff; b) develop the Group s technical vision and capabilities; c) assist in the oversight of project execution within the group. In addition to the Group Leader responsibilities, the candidate will be a direct contributor to projects and business development activities. The successful candidate must be a self-starter, capable of achieving organizational and programmatic objectives, and must possess excellent communication skills, both written and verbal. Demonstrated skills in leadership, innovation, creativity and collaboration are a must.

Regarding the technical aspects of the position, the selected candidate will collaborate with other staff members to develop new concepts and applications in synthetic, molecular and microbiology. The candidate is expected to provide mentorship to peers, and junior staff members in methodologies and experimental techniques in functional biological assays, genetic engineering and other analyses. The candidate will help expand Draper Laboratory s synthetic biology initiatives in addressing technical challenges with global impact. Participation in interdisciplinary projects will be a key part of this role.

Additional technical responsibilities include the following

* Design, synthesize, and characterize novel genetic constructs and circuits, proteins, and cellular function

* Development and redesign of biological sensors and systems

* Experimental design, assay execution, troubleshooting, and data analysis of biological systems

* Interact with engineering staff as well as university and corporate collaborators

* Lead development of group capabilities through technical expertise

* Generate and provide peer review for project concepts and contribute to proposals based on sponsor input and recently-published research



* MS / PhD or equivalent degree(s) in a technically relevant biological field (synthetic biology, microbiology, molecular biology/genetics, systems biology) with 10+ years of both direct hands-on work in advanced technologies and effective leadership, in both formal and informal roles.


* Demonstrated technical expertise in the development of biological design, experimental design, assay execution, troubleshooting, and data analysis for functional testing of biological systems.

* The ability to communicate technical concepts effectively with customers, engineers, managers, and other stakeholders of all relevant disciplines is a must. Flexibility to multi-task and adapt to evolving priorities will be required.

* Experience in writing innovative R&D proposals to commercial and government sponsors is a plus.

* Excellent oral and written communication skills are required.

Candidate must be a US citizen or permanent resident.