Senior Automation Engineer/Staff Engineer (Integration & Scale)

Research & Development
Menlo Park, CA

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GRAIL is a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early, when it can be cured.

GRAIL is using the power of high-intensity sequencing,population-scale clinical studies, and state-of-the-art computer science and data science to enhance the scientific understanding of cancer biology and to develop and commercialize pioneering products for the early detection of cancer.

We are seeking passionate and talented individuals to join us in realizing our mission, which has the potential to alleviate the global burden of cancer.

In search of the right opportunity for you? Apply to GRAIL to be considered for future roles!

Senior Automation Engineer/Staff Engineer (Integration & Scale)

GRAIL is a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early, when it can be cured. GRAIL is focused on alleviating the global burden of cancer by developing pioneering technology to detect and identify multiple deadly cancer types early. The company is using the power of next-generation sequencing, population-scale clinical studies, and state-of-the-art computer science and data science to enhance the scientific understanding of cancer biology, and to develop its multi-cancer early detection blood test. GRAIL is located in Menlo Park, California. It is supported by leading global investors and pharmaceutical, technology, and healthcare companies. For more information, please visit

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.

What you'll do:

  • 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 Research as needed.
  • Monitor and evaluate new and emerging technologies in laboratory automation systems

About you:

  • 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); 7-10 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.
  • Analytical, creative thinker, ability to solve problems.
  • Effective organizational and time management skills.
  • Highly energetic and self-motivated. Able to work independently and as part of a team.

Nice to have:

  • Experience writing and optimizing scripts on automated liquid handling platforms (e.g., Hamilton, Tecan, Beckman, etc.)
  • Experience with control systems such as PLCs or other I/O infrastructure (e.g. Allen Bradley, Beckhoff, Siemens, Labview, Arduino, etc.)
  • Experience with the design and prototyping of parts/assemblies using CAD systems (e.g. SolidWorks, Inventor, etc.)
  • Familiarity with manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, machining, injection molding, etc.
  • Experience with NGS or nucleic acid sample preparation methods is desirable.
  • Experience working with a broad set of laboratory instruments and tools.
  • Knowledge of experimental design.
  • Experience working in a regulated environment (CLIA / CAP / FDA / ISO).
  • Experience in reagent manufacturing, ideally in a regulated environment (cGMP).

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We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.