Research Associate / Senior Research Associate

Nkarta Inc
South San Francisco, CA, United States
Nov 07, 2020
Science/R&D, Research
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Associate Degree
Position Type
Full time
Research Associate / Senior Research Associate

Founded at the birthplace of biotechnology, Nkarta's mission is to discover, develop and deliver novel off-the-shelf (e.g. allogeneic) natural killer (NK) cell therapies that profoundly impact patients' outcomes and survival . The company is based on the proprietary, robust and well-characterized NK cell expansion technology pioneered by Dr. Dario Campana. Nkarta is focused on leveraging the inherent power of NK cells to identify and kill abnormal cells and recruit adaptive immune effectors to generate responses that are deep and durable.

Nkarta combines its NK cell expansion and cryopreservation platform with proprietary cell engineering technologies to generate an abundant supply of NK cells, engineer enhanced NK cell recognition of tumor targets, and improve persistence for sustained activity in the body for the treatment of cancer.

Founded in 2015, Nkarta became a public company (Nasdaq symbol NKTX) in 2020. Our development pipeline of engineered NK cell therapy candidates consists of two co-lead programs, NKX101 and NKX019. The IND for NKX101 for the treatment of relapsed or refractory AML and higher-risk MDS was accepted by the FDA in July 2020. We expect to begin dosing patients in this study by the end of 2020. As we broaden the development of NKX101, we also plan to initiate studies in solid tumors. Our second co-lead program, NKX019, is designed to target B cell lymphomas. We plan to file our IND for NKX019 with the FDA in early 2021. In addition, we recently completed the construction of a GMP compliant clinical manufacturing facility in our South San Francisco location designed to produce viral vector and supply our initial clinical trials.

Position Title Research Associate / Senior RA

Location South San Francisco, CA

Reports to Staff Scientist, Research

Position Summary

We are seeking a highly motivated Research Associate/Senior Research Associate to join our early discovery and development team. The ideal candidate will interact closely with group leaders, scientists and research associate to drive discovery and development of new therapeutics to pre-clinical development

Key Responsibilities

Cultures mammalian tissue, including isolation and culture of primary human cells from whole blood.

Provides support for NK expansion and downstream characterization of NK functions via flow-based and IncuCyte cytotoxicity assays, cytokine release and proliferation testing.

Performs studies utilizing cellular immunology to develop and analyze in vitro cell-based assays to support early discovery efforts and pipeline.

Performs immune phenotyping of cultured immune cells using multi-color FACs.

Analyzes and presents scientific results in team meetings.

Position Requirements

Experience with tissue culture of cell lines is required and experience with culture of primary immune cells and primary tumor tissue is preferred.

In-depth experience with in vitro cellular/immune/tumor biology would be a plus and ability to work in a fast-paced startup environment.

Demonstrated to work on complex problems where analysis requires an evaluation of multiple factors.

Ability to routinely exercise independent judgment in performing experimental methods, techniques, evaluation criteria for obtaining results, and data analysis.

Strong verbal and written skills for documentation of data, drafting of technical reports, and communication of progress to supervisor and project teams.

Ability to communicate and multi-task within a fast-paced team environment with a high degree of self-motivation and organization.

Strong ability to work successfully in a collaborative team environment.

Embodies the Nkarta culture of empowerment, diversity, and inclusion.

Education / Background

BSc or MSc in molecular biology, immunology or cell biology.

2 years of working experience is preferred.

Work Environment / Physical Demands

This position requires the ability to occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities for this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus and the ability to work in and around common laboratory equipment. The regular requirements of an office environment (computers, computer screens, workstations, etc.) apply when not working in or around a laboratory environment.

Working at Nkarta

The 70+ team members at our South San Francisco, California primary location describe working at Nkarta, along with opportunities for improvement, in some of the following ways:

" Work is interesting - lots of projects in the pipeline (so I don't have to worry about the one project failing). Leadership is open, straight forward."

"Smart, capable, nice people. People I work with day to day are enjoyable."


"I like that the company is open minded with a (people) -(looking for) a set of skills that can grow (as opposed to thinking you have to have exactly what's in a job spec now) Things that broaden their (employees) skills and growth."

"Like any startup there are fires to put out; feel confident we have the people to control those fires."

"Diverse people from different backgrounds."

To learn more about our work at Nkarta and the career opportunities that will drive us forward to serve patients, please visit the company's website at