Bioinformatics Research Scientist

We offer a referral bonus of up to $2,500 for this position; see here for more details.

  • Project/division: Nucleic Acid Observatory
  • Start date: as soon as possible
  • Status: full-time SecureBio employee
  • Starting compensation: $100,000 to $130,000; we may make exceptions for outstanding candidates
  • Visa sponsorship available: Yes
  • Work location: In-person in Cambridge, MA (preferred) or remote from within the USA
  • Reports to: NAO leadership (Dr. Michael McLaren & Dr. Will Bradshaw)
  • Application deadline: November 30th, 2023, 23:59 EST (applications reviewed on a rolling basis)

The role

The Nucleic Acid Observatory (NAO), a collaboration between SecureBio and MIT’s Sculpting Evolution group, aims to pioneer reliable, pathogen-agnostic early warning of potentially catastrophic pandemics, particularly those that would be especially difficult to detect via other methods. Currently, we are focused on exploring untargeted metagenomic sequencing of wastewater, both from municipal sources and at airports. Where other wastewater monitoring programs are focused on known pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, the NAO is focused on detecting new and unknown pathogens as sensitively and reliably as possible. That means taking a new approach to wastewater monitoring, including the development of novel experimental and computational tools.

We are seeking an experienced Bioinformatics Research Scientist to join our computational analysis team. In this position, you would take a leading role in designing and maintaining our data analysis and threat detection pipelines; collaborate closely with our wetlab team on designing & analyzing wastewater metagenomics experiments; mentor other team members in bioinformatics and related skills; and work with other researchers to publish and disseminate our research findings (see here for a recent example). We expect an excellent candidate in this position to dramatically enhance our ability to quickly carry out transformative biosurveillance research and reduce catastrophic biological risks.


  • Collaborate with NAO leadership and other researchers to design & plan key experiments;

  • Design, develop and maintain NAO bioinformatic analysis pipelines;

  • Lead processing, analysis, and visualization of large-scale experimental (especially metagenomic) sequencing datasets (specific expertise in viral metagenomics preferred);

  • Train and mentor other NAO researchers in computational biology, bioinformatics, and computing to help build an outstanding research team;

  • Work with other NAO researchers to write and edit publications and grant proposals related to the NAO’s computational work.

Competencies and qualifications


  • PhD in Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, or a related field, or equivalent experience;
  • Expertise in bioinformatic analysis of complex sequencing data, especially metagenomics or metatranscriptomics (specific expertise in viral metagenomics preferred);
  • Expertise in two or more of the following (three or more preferred):

    • Advanced data analysis in Python & R (e.g. pandas, scipy, tidyverse);
    • Bioinformatic pipeline development and maintenance (e.g. version control, containerization, workflow management tools);
    • Design & development of bioinformatics algorithms;
    • Modern data visualization tools (e.g. ggplot2, seaborn, plotly);
    • Applied statistics for biological research;
    • Machine learning;
    • Broader best practices for scientific computing (e.g., test-driven development, effective documentation);
  • Skilled at troubleshooting complex computational pipelines and scripts;
  • Excellent written and oral communication abilities.
  • Fast and motivated learner, comfortable with diving into new areas, skilling up quickly, and asking for help when needed;
  • Discreet & trustworthy with confidential or sensitive information; willing to seriously and thoughtfully consider risks of accidental harm from their work.


  • At least one year of postdoc and/or industry experience;
  • Prior experience of wet-lab biological research, especially areas relevant to high-throughput sequencing and metagenomics;
  • Prior experience of mathematical modeling (e.g. infectious disease modeling);
  • Record of high-quality academic publications in relevant research fields, or other writing of equivalent value and impact;
  • Prior experience in managing junior researchers or other technical staff;
  • Familiar with and excited about the project of reducing catastrophic risks from biology;

Salary and benefits

This is a full-time role, reporting directly to the NAO project leads. We prefer an in-person appointment, based in our office space in the Kendall Square area of Cambridge, Massachusetts. However, we will also consider in-country remote applicants.

Your starting salary range is $100,000 to $130,000 per annum, depending on prior experience. There may be flexibility in salary for exceptional candidates with significant relevant experience.

Our employee benefits reflect our belief in investing to build the strongest possible team, in which everyone receives the trust and support they need to excel. Our benefits package includes:

  • Comprehensive healthcare

    Comprehensive healthcare coverage, including health, dental & vision insurance, as well as a yearly mental health allowance for every employee.

  • Flexible work schedule

    Flexible work hours; unlimited paid time off (PTO) for all employees; and minimum 12 weeks fully-paid parental leave.

  • World-class office

    An exceptional working environment in our Kendall Square office, including high-quality ergonomic office equipment, snacks, and daily catered lunches.

  • Development opportunities

    Generous professional development opportunities, including fully-paid conference sponsorships and a yearly development allowance for every employee.

  • 401(k)

    Employer 401(k) match up to 4% of total salary.

  • Relocation & commuter support

    Free parking & commuter benefits, plus a generous relocation allowance for employees who move to the Boston area

About SecureBio

In joining SecureBio, you’ll be joining a motivated, mission-driven, and international team of professionals dedicated to protecting the world from biological threats. Through in-house research & development, as well as collaborations with experts in academia, industry & government, we are working to build the tools, technologies, and institutions the world needs to be secure against future biotechnology,

Major longstanding projects by the SecureBio team include the Nucleic Acid Observatory project for reliable pandemic detection, and the SecureDNA initiative for fast, secure, and sensitive screening of DNA synthesis, both developed in partnership with MIT’s Sculpting Evolution group. More recently, we have expanded our activities to a broader array of biodefense interventions, including far-UVC for passive pathogen suppression, as well as an increasingly active policy agenda.

Application process

We will review applications as we receive them, and are looking for someone to start as soon as possible. Applications close at 23:59 Eastern Standard Time on November 30th 2023.

After considering your written application, we may invite you to a short screening interview. High-performing candidates may be invited to further interviews and/or paid trial tasks.

We’re committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, and we encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply. We especially encourage applications from women, gender minorities, and people of color who are excited about contributing to our mission. We are happy to consider applicants from overseas, and are open to sponsoring work visas for this position. We’re an equal opportunity employer.

If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, or have any other questions about applying, please contact [email protected].

Referral bonus

We offer a referral bonus of up to $2,500 to individuals who refer successful candidates for this position:

  • If you refer a candidate that we invite to a full structured interview or work trial, you will receive $250;

  • If the candidate receives a job offer from us, you will receive a further $750, for a total of $1,000;

  • If the candidate is still working with us after the initial three month contract, you will receive a further $1,500, for a total of $2,500.

To receive these bonuses, we must reasonably believe that you were responsible for referring the candidate to us (e.g. due to you introducing them to us when we didn’t previously know them, or them mentioning you on their application as the reason they heard about the position).