Research Associate/Scientist, Stem Cell R&D

Company Overview: Defined Bioscience is a life science startup developing cell culture reagents, growth media, and kits to consistently grow high-quality stem cells and stem cell-derived tissue. We strive to provide specialized quality ingredients and reduce the production cost of stem cells and iPSC-derived cells and tissues for our customers working on life science and cultivated meat solutions. Our flagship products include HiDef-B8, a fully-defined stem cell maintenance medium with weekend-free passaging capabilities, and FGF2-G3, a hyperstable variant of FGF2. Defined Bioscience is located in San Diego, California.

At Defined Bioscience, we’re building a company where a diverse mix of talented people want to join, stay, and do their best work. We pride ourselves on bringing the best solutions to our customers and collaborators around the world, and we acknowledge that our company runs on the hard work, dedication, passion, and creativity of our team members. We are looking for new associates that share our vision to thrive.

Defined Bioscience is committed to cultivating our diverse environment. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

Job Description: We are currently seeking enthusiastic Research Associates and Scientists to expand our innovative R&D and commercial activities. We are providing opportunities for exceptional individuals, motivated by the potential to contribute in various company growth stages, to grow with us. The ideal candidate for the Research Associate or Scientist positions will have extensive experience with stem cells, utilizing statistical methods for optimized formulation development, and industrial manufacturing or regulated settings. We are looking for a team player who can operate in a fast-paced, dynamic environment and has a track record of significant contribution to development programs. Excellent interpersonal skills and experience managing or mentoring team members is also desired. Together, we will continue to make an exciting, positive impact in stem cell technologies and reagents for life sciences and cultured meat. Come join us!

Scope of Need: The Scientist, Stem Cell R&D is responsible for generating ideas, initiating new projects, and contributing to cross-team projects. Successful candidates will lead innovative projects on next-generation tools based on advanced culture systems with primary and stem cells; recognize opportunities, seek challenges, and apply in-depth knowledge, commensurate to the position, to develop new ideas and product concepts; and strategize, be astute and forward-thinking by anticipating needs and problems while driving creative solutions.

This role will involve the following tasks:

  • Lead development of assays to test new products and processes
  • Maintain, differentiate, enrich, and assess quality of pluripotent stem cells, progenitors & terminally differentiated cells by cell-type-specific marker expression & functional characterization
  • Routine cell-based characterization assays: immunostaining, flow cytometry, microscopy, genomic stability, metabolic assays
  • Establish advanced systems for adherent, suspension, 3D and co-cultures
  • Create and improve written SOPs, establish new protocols, including for the culture of animal-derived cells for the cultivated meat industry
  • Periodic weekend work (stem cell culture requires daily attention)
  • Collaborate with automation team to develop & integrate QC methods to scale-up production of reagents
  • Keep detailed records of QC & differentiation procedures, observations, data and results

May be required to perform other related duties as required and/or assigned.

Because of the nature of active projects, stem cell media and microenvironment optimization often require daily observation and maintenance, weekend work will often be essential for success. It is expected that all individuals on this team will participate in alternating schedules to deliver the level of support required.

This individual will also be expected to communicate experimental results in the form of reports, presentations, and publications.

Capabilities and Competencies: This position requires a combination of the following skills:

  • Demonstrate high integrity and accountability, respecting stringent timelines by being tenacious, decisive, and nimble
  • Possess a positive attitude with enthusiasm to creatively approach and solve problems in a fast-paced setting with minimal training and supervision, commensurate with the level of the position
  • Apply high standards in lab skills & practices, strive for continuous improvement for yourself and the team
  • Proven experience in stem cell culture
  • Strong teamwork orientation with demonstrable influence/interpersonal skills
  • Expertise with aseptic mammalian cell culture technique, including long-term (up to 90 days), antibiotic-free
  • Experience in primary cell isolation and media formulation development desired

Education: Requires Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree with minimum of 3 years of experience, or PhD in Developmental Cell Biology, Tissue Engineering or related Life Sciences discipline; industry experience is strongly desired.

Experience: Requires 3+ years of experience in hands-on stem cell culture.

Preferred: 2+ years of experience with formulation development, DOE, or Bayesian statistical methods.

Desired: Demonstrated expertise in stem cell methods; for example, peer-reviewed works or published protocols.

Advantageous: Experience with sophisticated culture models involving animal-derived primary cell lines, multi-lineage differentiation, suspension cultures, single-cell clonal expansion and genomic editing techniques; engineering 3D tissues is a plus.

Working Conditions and Responsibilities: The majority of working time will be spent in a lab environment. Significant amount of work will take place in biosafety hoods in a tissue culture laboratory, working with mainly stem cell cultures but also other types of primary cells and cell lines, human and non-human. Cells will typically be validated using a combination of cellular, molecular, and functional assays. Time may be spent manipulating plasmid DNA constructs in a laboratory environment. Some time will be spent at a desk recording laboratory activities appropriately in notebooks, communicating findings, and collaborating with teammates to align goals.

Must be capable of observing and adhering to lab safety standards and protocols. Some weekend work will be required to maintain cell cultures properly.

Critical to success in this position will be the individual’s ability to independently work on some projects and to provide support on others. This individual must act with integrity, communicate openly and positively respond to change. Being able to identify deviations from expected outcomes and participate in troubleshooting those deviations will be expected. Equally important will be the ability to work as part of team in the laboratory (extended R&D team) as well as a broader cross-functional team (R&D, project management, collaborators).

Benefits and Perks: Competitive compensation package including stock options; medical, dental, and vision coverage; 401K plan with company match; unlimited PTO; professional development; entrepreneurial environment; great potential for growth!


Jerome Karpiak, PhD

VP of Research, Defined Bioscience, Inc.

Notice: Direct hiring only. Employment or recruitment agencies should not contact Defined Bioscience regarding this position.

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: $55,000.00 - $80,000.00 per year


  • 401(k) matching
  • Dental insurance
  • Flexible schedule
  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development assistance
  • Vision insurance

Ability to commute/relocate:

  • San Diego, CA 92121: Reliably commute or planning to relocate before starting work (Required

The Details

Research & Development

About the Company

Defined Bioscience

Developing cell culture reagents, growth media, and kits to grow high-quality stem cells and iPSC-derived tissue.

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