Head of Computational Biology

South San Francisco, CA, United States
Oct 29, 2020
Science/R&D, Biology
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Position Type
Full time

Sana Biotechnology is seeking a highly experienced leader who is an exceptional manager with deep expertise in computational biology. The new Head of Computational Biology must be able to understand strategy and where computational biology needs to go for the Company. The group is responsible for identification of potential targets, low and high-throughput data analyses to understand the biology underlying our cell and gene therapy therapeutic candidates and platforms, and development of bioinformatics methods and workflows for NGS-based assays and other types of analyses from -omics data.

Sana is very motivated to apply computational biology and other data-driven approaches to all steps of the drug development process at every level of the organization. Given the expanding scope of the computational biology group's operations, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to continue to build on the existing team to achieve this goal. S/he will be a champion of promoting computational biology as an integral part of the drug development process. This individual will be responsible for technical consultation, overseeing and leading bioinformatics analysis, computational biology methods development, code documentation and review, and meta-analyses of internal and external data from multiple technologies including transcriptomics and genetics. The new Head will work closely with the computational engineering and data infrastructure teams to establish a top class informatics team and strategy. The ability to work in a highly collaborative environment and an agile team first mind-set will be critical to success.

  • Provide strong mentorship, strategic leadership and technical expertise in computational biology and contribute to the development of an integrated informatics environment.
  • Expand and lead a team of (approx. six) scientists responsible for applying computational biology and statistics to impact program and portfolio decision-making across Sana's organization.
  • Lead the development and deployment of computational methods and workflows for the analysis of various low and high throughput data including NGS.
  • Apply or develop new tools or data-mining techniques for integrative analysis and visualization of large data sets.
  • Influence the development of cell and gene therapy R&D strategies to enable rapid clinical progression of novel therapeutic concepts.
  • Ensure proper documentation of code, workflows, reports, and analyses of computational biology team
  • Manage and execute multiple projects in parallel to meet short timelines while maintaining scientific quality and rigor
  • Provide transparency and regular communication on project status, potential roadblocks for execution, and new strategies with Technology Sciences leadership
  • Represent Technology Sciences and provide technical and scientific expertise on project teams or sub-teams as appropriate
  • Influence scientists and engineers cross-functionally to design studies that are appropriately powered and properly controlled to meet experimental and business objectives
  • Communicate to a broad audience with a range of technical, analytical, and biological expertise and present strategic roadmap on a regular basis to various leadership teams across Sana


Basic Qualifications
  • PhD in Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Statistics, Computer Science with 10+ yrs experience in biotech/pharma industry.
  • 5+ years of experience managing a team of more than 5 full-time employees with a range of experience (from straight out of grad school through 10+ years of industry experience).
  • A strong background in single cell genomics.
  • Experience analyzing gene and/or cell therapy, gene editing, in vitro/in vivo study, genetics, flow, protein, and genomics data.
  • Experience in developing bioinformatics workflows for NGS-based data and assays.
  • Strong grounding in biology or medicine with strong statistical and quantitative data analysis skills and experience.
  • Experience with managing budget and FTE resourcing
  • Technically proficient in Python and R, version control, and workflow languages (e.g. Nextflow).
  • Proven ability to develop or apply new tools for the integrative analysis and visualization of multi-dimensional datasets.
  • Great technical and scientific background with strong leadership and management experience (must be a good technical/scientific, cultural and people leader).
  • Excellent verbal, written, analytical, and presentation communication skills; adept at communicating a clear vision down, up, and across, effectively aligning resources and motivating teams to achieve goals.
  • Proven ability to successfully influence cross-functionally and to be sought after as a technical expert within the computational biology domain
  • A mentor and coach who brings strategical experience building diverse team from scratch to enable long term success for computational biology and Sana.
  • Inspirational thought leader who can motivate, act with sense of urgency, and create excitement around becoming part of the Sana adventure.
  • A proven computational biologist or bioinformatician with industry experience in discovery research or translational medicine (preferably in cell or gene therapy).
  • Must be able to prioritize, wear multiple hats and thrive in a fast-paced startup environment.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively in a research program environment and generate hypotheses from computational analysis of data that are strategically aligned with organizational goals and resources.
  • Experience with machine learning algorithms and data mining methods a plus.
  • Experience in data analysis using cloud computing infrastructure.
  • Proven ability to lead a computational biology group coupled with experience partnering with vendors/strategic partners while ensuring quality deliverables in a cost-effective manner
  • Superior continuous improvement and change management skills, and proven ability to effectively partner with discovery and clinical teams.
  • Proven track record of translating senior level clinical research and scientific business requirements into operational strategies.
  • Previous experience leading key strategic functional initiatives and change management activities.
  • Outstanding communication, execution, and management skills with strong sense of urgency.
  • Demonstrated technical, organizational, project management, and negotiation skills.
  • Strong scientific background and publication record with proven high levels of performance.


This individual will manage a team (approx. 6) that is focused on bringing cutting edge bioinformatics and computational biology to aid in the progression of engineered cells as medicine.