(Senior) Research Scientist - Extracellular Vesicle and Cancer Nanotechnology

South San Francisco, CA
Nov 25, 2021
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Position Type
Full time

About the Role

As a (Senior) Scientist in the Molecular Research team focused on extracellular vesicles (EVs), you will lead the research efforts on utilizing EVs as a source of biomarkers for early detection of cancer. You will be responsible for establishing the prototype of scalable plasma EV extraction methods and integrating them into preanalytical workflows to enhance our end-to-end diagnostic test performance. You will serve as a subject matter expert in EV biology and collaborate with the genomics and proteomics teams to deeply understand how each of Freenome’s analytes can be stably preserved and consistently measured in extracellular vesicles across a wide range of preanalytical conditions.  In this role, you will contribute to the optimization and validation of the plasma EV extraction method and bring it to a high-throughput reproducible workflow to enable large-scale biomarker discovery studies. Finally, you will also leverage expertise in nanotechnology to work with CROs and/or develop in-house capabilities to incorporate novel biophysical signals of plasma EVs and other nano-sized entities into Freenome’s discovery platform for cancer diagnosis.

How you’ll contribute:

  • Establish and employ novel analytical methods to characterize naturally occurring nanoparticles in blood, e.g., extracellular vesicles, lipoproteins, nucleosomes in bulk and at the single-particle level
  • Determine and leverage unique physicochemical properties of EVs to establish the prototype of plasma EV extraction method
  • Lead cell culture development activities to generate research-grade reference material and establish quality control metrics for method validation and proof-of-concept studies
  • Design and execute studies to evaluate the impact of preanalytical variables (including sample collection, shipping, and storage conditions) on analyte stability in EVs and other blood fractions. 
  • Collaborate with Genomics and Proteomics teams to rapidly iterate and improve on plasma EV extraction method and analyze EV nucleic acid and protein cargo for biomarker discovery studies
  • Evaluate emerging technologies for measuring biophysical properties (e.g., acoustic, electrical, mechanical, optical)of plasma EVs and other fractions to identify clinically relevant signals

What you’ll bring:

  • Ph.D. (or equivalent industry experience) in chemical engineering,  nanotechnology, biophysics, analytical chemistry, cell biology, or a related field 
  • Deep understanding of physical and chemical principles governing nanoparticle or protein purification method development is a must. Candidates with experience in any of the following research areas are encouraged to apply: surface chemistry, zeta-potential, size exclusion, ion exchange, colloid science, nanoparticle synthesis, magnetic bead separation or microfluidics
  • Extensive hands-on experience with size- or charge-based methods for the  nanoparticle isolation or protein purification preferably in biotech/biopharma industry or research institute core facility 
  • Strong analytical background including prior experience with dynamic light scattering, Zeta potential, nanoparticle tracking analysis and electron microscopy
  • Baseline knowledge of blood composition including both cellular (e.g., neutrophils, PBMCs) and cell-free fractions (e.g., EVs, lipoproteins)
  • Excellent creative thinking, scientific problem-solving, and communication skills and ability to work with team members in the same and adjacent disciplines
  • Valuable supplementary experiences include:
    • Familiarity with analytical methods used to extract, quantify, and characterize nucleic acids (e.g., qPCR and next-generation sequencing)
    • Broad knowledge of protein quantitation assays, including BCA, immunoblotting, ELISA, flow cytometry, MSD, or Luminex
    • Ability to design assays for automated platforms and experience working with liquid handlers
    • Hands on experience with cell culture and aseptic technique
    • Experience mentoring and training research associates and junior scientists

Freenome has adopted a COVID-19 vaccination policy to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees. As a condition of employment, our employees working on-site are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, unless a reasonable accommodation is approved or as otherwise required by law.

About Freenome

Freenome is on a mission to empower everyone with the tools they need to detect, treat, and ultimately prevent cancer.

We have pioneered the most comprehensive multiomics platform for early cancer detection through a routine blood draw.  By combining deep expertise in molecular biology with advanced computational biology and machine learning techniques to recognize disease-associated patterns among billions of circulating, cell-free biomarkers, we are developing simple and accurate blood tests for early cancer detection and integrating the actionable insights into health systems to operationalize a machine learning feedback loop between care and science. 

Our recent $270 Million Series C brings our financing to over $500 million from investors, including;  Bain Capital, Perceptive Advisors, RA Capital, Polaris Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., GV (formerly Google Ventures), Roche Venture Fund, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Ventures, Data Collective Venture Capital, Novartis and Verily Life Sciences. 

Our Science

Freenome is building technology to advance the understanding of cancer through multiple analytes derived from blood. These signals include cell-free DNA, methylation of cell-free DNA, cell-free RNA, circulating proteins, and immune profiling derived from thousands of prospective samples. By developing novel statistical learning methods and applying them to integrate various -omics datasets, Freenome is a leader in modeling specific biological mechanisms to capture disease-dependent signatures, including gene expression, immune response, tumor burden, the tissue of origin, and 3D chromatin structure. 

By building comprehensive discovery datasets and modeling critical biological systems, Freenome is learning what biological changes are present within the blood between a variety of different disease states, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, infections, drug response, and aging. The synthesis of Freenome’s datasets, cross-functional technical expertise, and audacious mission to discover biological truth, we seek to improve the lives of millions through early detection and early treatment of disease.  

Our Culture

Freenomers are technical, creative, visionary, grounded, empathetic, and passionate. We build teams around divergent expertise, allowing us to solve problems and ascertain opportunities in unique ways. Freenomers are some of the most talented experts in their fields, joining together to advance healthcare, one breakthrough at a time. 

We value empathy, integrity, and trust in one another, and we respect the diverse perspectives of our colleagues and those we serve.  We assume positive intent and give each other the benefit of the doubt with the firm belief that we are a team working toward the same objectives.  We believe in empowering and supporting each other in a collaborative and dynamic environment. 

What does a successful person look like at Freenome?

Those who thrive at Freenome prioritize, manage, and execute their own goals with ownership and alignment with those of the company. They embrace our values of empathy, integrity, striving for greatness, servant leadership, trust, and holding themselves and their team accountable to these values. They crave collaboration with brilliant minds from disparate fields of study and believe that hiring and mentorship are fundamental to our success. Above all, they welcome and provide constructive feedback and criticism, trusting in others’ good intentions, and being secure in knowing that embracing mistakes is the best way to learn and grow. For those who pursue challenges, understudied problems, and want the opportunity to see their work impact the lives of millions of people affected by cancer every year, there’s no better place to be than Freenome.

Freenome is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and we value diversity. Freenome does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by appropriate law.