Automation Scientist

As a UW employee, you have a unique opportunity to change lives on our campuses, in our state and around the world. UW employees offer their boundless energy, creative problem solving skills and dedication to build stronger minds and a healthier world.

UW faculty and staff also enjoy outstanding benefits, professional growth opportunities and unique resources in an environment noted for diversity, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits and natural beauty. All of which has allowed the UW to be nationally recognized as a “Great College to Work For” for five consecutive years.

The Klavins lab has an outstanding opportunity for an Automation Scientist. 

The Klavins lab ( is making science more efficient by integrating cloud biology labs such as the UW BIOFAB ( into a data collection and machine learning pipeline. The BIOFAB is run by Aquarium (, an open-source software system built in the Klavins lab, that enables researchers to work remotely as they design and launch experimental plans built from a menu of modular protocols. Via the software, plans are executed by the lab in a semi-automated fashion: user requests are scheduled by a lab manager, who assigns each task to a lab technician who perform all aspects of the work guided by a protocol that executes in Aquarium. This approach allows technicians with minimal training to execute complex protocols with remarkable reproducibility, traceability, and data integrity. We have spent the last year building new high throughput protocols, and integrating the BIOFAB with the tools of collaborators on a large multi-site project.

We are seeking a molecular or synthetic biologist who will work collaboratively within our lab and across sites to apply BIOFAB resources to biological challenges with rapid turn-around. This scientist/engineer will collaborate with researchers at other sites to design experimental plans for the challenges, troubleshoot experimental plans and lab protocols, and design and build new protocols in the Aquarium protocol language. The scientist/engineer is expected to participate in lab activities and assist in BIOFAB operations as needed. The person in this role will work as part of a highly-interdisciplinary team of molecular biologists, engineers and lab technicians. This position will include collaboration with teams at other sites, and will involve travel of at least 5 days each quarter.

• Become an expert user of the Aquarium lab automation software application
• Adapt existing molecular biology protocols for automation using Aquarium
• Modify and debug existing Aquarium protocols
• Plan experiments in the BIOFAB with input from collaborators
• Assist other researchers, internal and external to UW, with planning workflows in Aquarium
• Travel to, and participate in, quarterly, 4-5 day-long program meetings
• Assist in preparation of weekly an quarterly reports to funding agencies
• Present on research activities and interact with collaborators at weekly and quarterly meetings

• Bachelor’s degree in molecular biology, biochemistry or similar field
• 2-3 years’ work experience (including independent undergraduate research)
• Experience with several of the following: molecular cloning, microbial culture, flow cytometry / FACS, and next-gen sequencing
• Experience with scripting in Python or Ruby
• Skills to communicate clearly and concisely, both verbally and in writing
• Strong capacity for teamwork and attention to detail

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license/certification/registration.

• Experience with a laboratory information system (LIMS)
• Experience with lab automation software
• Has worked extensively with yeast
• Experience with data analysis using Jupyter notebooks or R
• Has worked successfully on collaborative scientific projects

Application Process:
The application process for UW positions may include completion of a variety of online assessments to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process.  These assessments may include Workforce Authorization, Cover Letter and/or others.  Any assessments that you need to complete will appear on your screen as soon as you select “Apply to this position”. Once you begin an assessment, it must be completed at that time; if you do not complete the assessment you will be prompted to do so the next time you access your “My Jobs” page. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your “My Jobs” page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until all required assessments have been completed.

Committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, the University of Washington will honor your experiences, perspectives and unique identity. Together, our community strives to create and maintain working and learning environments that are inclusive, equitable and welcoming.

The University of Washington is a leader in environmental stewardship & sustainability, and committed to becoming climate neutral.

The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 / 206-543-6452 (tty) or