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Research Associate, Cell Culture

Visterra, Inc.
Waltham, Massachusetts
Start date
Mar 2, 2024

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Job Details

The Opportunity

The Research Associate is a key member of the growing Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technology team and is responsible for executing cell culture development activities in our laboratory and contributing to projects with our partner organizations.

Reporting to the Senior Process Scientist (the leader of the cell culture team), the Research Associate role will execute cell line development activities and cell culture development experiments in our laboratory. The Research Associate may also contribute to contracted activities at Contract Development and Manufacturing Organizations (CDMOs).  The individual will work closely with internal partners in Quality Assurance, Research, and Regulatory as well as with external partners.

Reach out to Eric Gaffen, or visit our careers page for completed examples.



  • Conduct shake flask and bioreactor operations for small scale development and characterization of cell culture processes for Visterra’s antibody products.
  • Conduct cell line development activities in line with regulatory guidance to establish Research Cell Banks for use in GMP Master Cell Bank generation.
  • Assist with developing producer cell lines from DNA construct assembly through genetic stability testing.
  • Independently prepare DNA vectors using standard molecular biology techniques including homology-based cloning, transformation and propagation in bacteria, and kit-based purification.
  • Independently operate laboratory cell culture equipment including bench-scale bioreactors, shake flasks, and multiwell plates.
  • Monitor and sample cell culture processes daily including testing for attributes such as cell viability and density, metabolites, pH, and more.
  • Contribute to cell culture technology transfer activities including:
    • reviewing and presenting process data
    • troubleshooting results of small scale and pilot scale data
  • Present work at department and cross functional meetings and presenting relevant updates on lab activities at drug development team meetings.
  • Troubleshoot and maintain laboratory equipment.
  • Document experimental results in lab notebooks, tech transfer documents, and technical reports and presenting data at meetings.
  • Keep current with new technologies to improve process development capabilities.
  • Traveling up to 10% of the time for site visits at CDMOs and to attend conferences


  • B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemical Engineering, or Biological Engineering (or related disciplines) with 1 years of relevant industry experience, or M.S. with 0 years of relevant industry experience
  • Experience in maintaining and troubleshooting mammalian cell culture operations.
  • A strong understanding of cell culture parameters in general (cell growth rate, cell density, viability, population doubling, metabolites and cell waste, etc.).
  • Hands-on experience with aseptic techniques for mammalian cell culture operations.
  • Experience with transfection of mammalian cells for transient and/or stable expression of genes of interest
    Experience with manufacturing processes for therapeutic proteins or scale down models of manufacturing processes
  • The ability to think critically and communicate effectively across broad spectrum of audiences both internal and external.
  • An ability to work independently, meet deadlines and prioritize work effectively.
  • The ability to travel to conferences and global manufacturing sites up to 10% of the time.
  • Due to the nature of cell culture activities, some work outside of non-standard hours, including weekend work is required. 


We provide comprehensive benefits and resources to support your work, life, and balance.

  • A 401(k) retirement plan with a 10% dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Medical, dental and vision benefits, with Visterra contributing 80% to the monthly premium.
  • A rich mental & behavioral wellness program.
  • Short- and long-term disability programs.
  • Group and voluntary life insurance.
  • Pre-tax flexible spending and commuter accounts.
  • 17 days of personal time, discretionary sick time, and 11 holidays per calendar year. Personal time accrual grows to 22 days after 3 years, with an additional one-time grants of 5 days every 5 years.
  • Twelve weeks of paid parental leave for birth or adoption.
  • A broad fitness reimbursement program.
  • Tuition and student loan reimbursement.
  • A variety of employee discounts.


About Us

We are a team of 100 talented and driven people working passionately and collaboratively to develop a robust pipeline of innovative antibody-based therapies for patients with unmet needs.  Our proprietary technology platform powered by our state-of-the-art laboratory enables the design and engineering of precision antibody-based product candidates that specifically bind to, and modulate, key disease targets for the treatment of patients with kidney diseases and other hard-to-treat diseases.  Visterra is a subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. of Japan.  As a member of the Otsuka family of companies, we have the advantage of being a dynamic, nimble, innovative organization where you can make direct, meaningful impacts while benefiting from the support, stability, and long-term perspective of a 100-year-old global company.

Visterra provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.


Visterra is a clinical stage biotechnology company committed to developing innovative antibody-based therapies for the treatment of patients with kidney diseases and other hard-to-treat diseases. Our proprietary technology platform enables the design and engineering of precision antibody-based product candidates that specifically bind to, and modulate, key disease targets. Applying this technology to disease targets that are not adequately addressed by traditional therapeutic approaches, we are developing a robust pipeline of novel therapies for patients with unmet needs.


Company info
275 2nd Avenue
United States

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