Research Associate, Sequencing

Sound Agriculture is an innovator in bio-inspired chemistry and plant genetics. We leverage natural plant diversity to grow crops more sustainably and create differentiated, nutritious food. 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.

We are looking for a Research Associate — Sequencing to join our sequencing core team and execute on current sequencing technologies to accelerate growth of our on-demand breeding platform. The successful candidate will collaborate with the Data Science and Synthetic Biology teams to prepare plant tissue samples for sequencing. Additionally, the candidate will work closely with the Sequencing Lead to operationalize and scale-up existing sequencing workflows (e.g. implementing liquid handling automation, equipment, software tools, etc). This is an opportunity to work with a company which is developing dramatically faster ways to deliver valuable agronomic traits. The Research Associate — Sequencing will report to the Molecular Foundry Manager and will be based in our laboratory in Emeryville, California. This position will be mainly onsite.


    • Develop and optimize gDNA extractions and library preparations for various crops.
    • Execute current sequencing workflows and improve new & existing high-throughput sequencing workflows to advance the on-demand breeding platform.
    • Oversee our sequencers, troubleshoot with Scientists as needed.
    • Work with an automation engineer to develop protocols on automated liquid handlers for high throughput sample execution.
    • Work with the sequencing scientist to optimize short and long-read sequencing technologies (including nanopore) for innovative applications.
  • Generate technical reports and communicate results at internal meetings.
  • Maintain safe practices in the laboratory.
  • Meticulous attention to detail and strong record keeping skills.
  • Promote a positive and inclusive work environment.

Skills & Experience

  • A BS, or equivalent experience with 1 – 2 years of relevant industrial experience in molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, plant biology, or related fields.
  • Experience in the following molecular biology techniques including: PCR, DNA and RNA extraction, RT-qPCR, and NGS.
  • Familiarity in using statistical tools to strengthen experimental design and enable data analysis (Excel, JMP, Spotfire, R, Python, etc).
  • Experience in plant genetics and gene regulation preferred but not required.
  • Experience with laboratory automation (Tecan, Beckman, Hamilton, etc.) to enable process scale-up preferred but not required.
  • Strong problem solving and communication skills, ability to work in a team environment. 
  • Desire to be part of a rapidly evolving organization, which requires flexibility and a willingness to learn new techniques and concepts.

Our 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
  • Generous vacation policy
  • 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.