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Senior Process Engineer

Sound Agriculture
94662, Emeryville
Start date
Jul 11, 2022
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Why you should join us:

At Sound Agriculture, we believe our food system can nourish consumers, farming communities, and the planet. Through a deeper understanding of plant and microbial biology, we are leveraging the natural power of plants to make agriculture more agile and resilient. Our work focuses on developing nutrient efficiency products and modernizing plant breeding to improve the way we farm and the food we eat. Sound is a Series C startup funded by leading investors in food and agriculture such as Leaps by Bayer, Northpond Ventures, S2G Ventures, Fall Line Capital, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, Cavallo Ventures and Syngenta Group Ventures.

What you'll do:

We are seeking a Senior Process Engineer to lead and manage the validation of our On-Demand Breeding workflows, orchestrate our automation systems, and build out LIMS infrastructure. This position is highly collaborative, working closely with Research & Development personnel and Data teams to enhance our capabilities while overseeing the day-to-day workload of our Foundry engineers. 

This role requires people management skills, operational expertise, creativity and strategic thinking to ensure our on-site Molecular Foundry teams and systems are running optimally. The Senior Process Engineer analyzes what is and isn’t working, determines an effective route towards solution, communicates & implements their plans in a timely manner, and re-evaluates on a regular basis. This is a critical role in our continued growth as an organization.

This role reports to the Molecular Foundry Manager and is based in our Emeryville, CA headquarters. Flexibility for remote work.



  • Manage a team of 2-5 engineers on the Molecular Foundry team
  • Be the point of contact for building out LIMS processes
  • Support the Foundry Operations team by troubleshooting laboratory workflows involving plant tissue extractions & analysis, laboratory equipment, and informatics infrastructure.
  • Develop and communicate key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor for continuous improvement of the On-demand breeding workflows, along with process controls infrastructure 
  • Drive continuous improvement within the Molecular Foundry to reduce experiment turnaround time, reduce COGS, and improve operational efficiencies
  • Assist in the transfer of new technology from the R&D department to the Molecular Foundry team by helping to establish design requirements, process validations, and equipment qualifications
  • Work with other departments on deviations; including out of tolerance conditions and equipment issues observed during validation through failure analysis, determining the root cause, and taking corrective action
  • Enforce Good Documentation Practices (GDP) and Data Integrity


Targeted Skills & Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Science, or related field
  • Experience managing at least one direct report; experience managing a small team (2-5 person) preferred
  • Experience in equipment and process validation for biotechnology companies preferred
  • Working knowledge of automated instruments integrated with Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS)
  • Demonstrated ability to work with cross-functional teams through the design, testing, and implementation of wet-lab processes, procedures, and automation workflows
  • Experience or knowledge in programming automated laboratory instruments (Tecan Fluent, Echo, Bravo, Opentrons) and/or systems; including liquid handling robotics, preferred but not required
  • Experience with standard molecular biology techniques; DNA/RNA extractions,  quantification, qPCR, and Oxford Nanopore Sequencing preferred but not required
  • Project management skills and/or Project Management Professional (PMP) certification
  • Ability to quickly adapt and learn new skills for changing research priorities
  • Flexible mind with the ability to think outside the box, creative approach to problem-solving


This role demonstrates our core values by: 

  • Boldness: Is unafraid to implement changes to processes in order to expand the Foundry capabilities.
  • Ownership: Identifies issues when they arise and quickly implements a plan to solve them. Takes pride in providing the highest quality data obtainable, regardless of how small the project.  Dives into the data to identify indicators of success and generate valuable insights for the Foundry team.
  • Respect: Invests time building relationships and learning the core functions of the Foundry team to support projects holistically. Proactively communicates with team leaders to give updates, inquire about different project needs, and seek feedback for continuous improvement on Foundry workflows.
  • Creativity: Comes up with creative solutions to increase operational efficiencies and  explores and advocates for new technologies to support a high throughput platform.


What we offer:

  • Opportunity to work in an early-stage, disruptive startup with a talented, experienced, and growing team of dedicated individuals
  • Competitive compensation package
  • Performance bonus structure
  • Comprehensive health care plans that include Medical, Dental and Vision coverage
  • Flex Spending Account (Healthcare, Dependent Care & Commuter Benefit)
  • 401k Plan
  • Unlimited paid time off
  • Regular team events and engagement activities (we actually like hanging out with each other!)

Sound is based in Emeryville, CA with a number of employees working remotely. We have a mission driven culture and a fast-paced, collaborative work environment. We are looking for someone to join the team who will bring a passion for sustainability along with a deep expertise in the business of food and agriculture.


Equal Employment Opportunity

We seek a diverse pool of applicants and consider all qualified candidates regardless of race, ancestry, color, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, citizenship, disability, Veteran status, marital status, or any other protected status.

Sound participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with your Form I-9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the United States. If E-Verify cannot confirm that you are authorized to work, Sound is required to give you written instructions and an opportunity to contact the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Social Security Administration (SSA) so you can begin to resolve the issue before Sound takes any action, including terminating your employment.

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