(Senior) Research Scientist - Surface Chemistry

South San Francisco, CA
Dec 31, 2021
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Position Type
Full time

(Senior) Research Scientist - Surface Chemistry

About the Role

At Freenome, our goal is to improve patient outcomes by pioneering the next-generation of blood tests for early and accurate disease detection using our combined multi-omics and machine learning platform. As a (Senior) Research Scientist in Surface Chemistry focused on developing novel magnetic and microfluidic separation technologies for sample preparation, you will drive the research efforts on expanding our sample portfolio from blood plasma to other cell-free and cellular fractions to strengthen our multi-omics assay pipeline and enhance Freenome’s growth trajectory. 

In this role, you will be leading the design and implementation of surface functionalization technologies to enable reproducible and scalable isolation of clinically relevant blood fractions such as nucleosomes, extracellular vesicles, circulating tumor cells for large-scale biomarker discovery studies. You will also be collaborating with the Genomics and Proteomics teams to integrate these high-throughput preanalytical technologies with downstream analytical platforms such as next generation sequencing (NGS) and multiplexed immunoassays to enhance our end-to-end diagnostic test performance. 

This is an extraordinary opportunity to lead innovative technology development at the intersection of chemical engineering, cancer biology and molecular diagnostics in a vibrant, interdisciplinary, and collaborative scientific team of a fast-growing biotech company.

How you’ll contribute:

  • Design, evaluate and optimize surface modifications and/or coatings via organic synthesis and coupling reactions on microspheres, nanospheres or microfluidic devices for desired properties
  • Collaborate with Genomics and Proteomics teams to rapidly iterate on functional testing and improve on surface functionality to meet the requirements of downstream analytical assays, including NGS and immunoassays
  • Identify, develop and employ emerging analytical technologies to characterize surface physicochemical properties of naturally occurring and synthetic nanoparticles as well as microfluidic devices
  • Lead all aspects of surface functionalization method prototyping as well as design and execute proof-of-concept studies 
  • Identify, characterize, and resolve potential failure modes at early stages of method development, and provide technical guidance for troubleshooting 
  • Leverage expertise in surface chemistry and biochemical engineering to identify, evaluate or develop novel biosensing technologies and incorporate them into Freenome’s discovery platform for cancer diagnosis.

What you’ll bring:

  • Ph.D. (or equivalent industry experience) in surface chemistry, biochemical engineering, material science, polymer chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, or a related field 
  • Demonstrated expertise in a variety of functionalization strategies on magnetic beads, polymer, metal, glass and other surfaces for biomedical applications 
  • In-depth knowledge of surface chemistry principles governing depletion and enrichment method development for any of the following biological entities: DNA, RNA, protein, nucleosomes, extracellular vesicles, lipoproteins or circulating tumor cells (CTCs)
  • Extensive hands-on experience with size-, charge- or affinity-based methods for nanoparticle isolation or biomolecule purification, e.g., size exclusion, ion exchange, ultrafiltration, magnetic beads or microfluidics-based separation 
  • Deep understanding of analytical techniques for surface physicochemical characterization, e.g.,  Zeta potential, dynamic light scattering (DLS), electron and fluorescence microscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
  • Baseline knowledge of blood composition including both cellular (e.g., neutrophils, PBMCs, CTCs) 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 NGS
    • 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 a high growth biotech company on a mission since 2014 to create tools that empower everyone to prevent, detect, and treat their disease.


To achieve this mission, Freenome is developing next-generation blood tests to detect cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages using our multiomics platform and machine learning techniques. Our first blood test will detect early-stage colorectal cancer and advanced adenomas. 


We have raised over $500 million from leading investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital, GV, Roche Venture Fund, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Ventures, Novartis, Verily, and more. 


A ‘Freenomer’ is a mission-driven employee who is fueled by the opportunity to make a positive impact on patients' lives, who thrives in a culture of respect and cross collaboration, and whose work makes a significant impact on the company and their career. 

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.