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Automation Engineer II

Pivot Bio

Pivot Bio

Software Engineering
Berkeley, CA, USA
Posted on Friday, April 5, 2024

About Pivot Bio:

At Pivot Bio, we are working together to transform agriculture, finding smarter, more sustainable and, ultimately, more profitable ways for farmers to grow. Working with and for farmers, we’re using cutting-edge science to create a microbial nitrogen for the world’s most vital crops. We are replacing synthetic fertilizers with a more sustainable, nature-driven plant nutrition that benefits farmers, consumers and the planet.

Automation Engineer II

Location – Berkeley

Pivot Bio deploys impactful and innovative technologies to enable the smartest, most sustainable farming on the planet. We are looking for highly motivated individuals who want to enable Pivot Bio’s scientific researchers to be the best they can. If you have experience and passion in providing researchers scale, reliability, and impact using the power of laboratory automation, we want to hear from you.


This job supports ongoing research operations by automating key research workflows. The engineer will deploy liquid handling workstations and integrated work-cells as part of a team. Alongside their colleagues, they will develop methods for those workstations and workcells to conduct operations. The engineer will provide support in the case of errors, and other support issues that prevent ongoing operation of existing automated workflows.

They will understand the needs of the scientific stakeholders to better develop and refine new and existing workflows in service of research goals. They will continue to develop their understanding in laboratory robotics, software, and biology to achieve the goal of enabling the research pipeline.

Essential functions

  • Design and implement robotic workstation methods to automate existing and novel workflows for R&D, QA/QC, and Product Support
  • Design, implement, iterate, and validate liquid handling processes on robotic workstations such as liquid handlers and high-throughput equipment.
  • Provide maintenance and system performance solutions for robotic lab equipment, such as liquid handlers, plate readers, colony pickers, and integrated peripherals. May manage service requests for third-party vendors.
  • Assess space planning and logistics of automation in service of meeting the needs of end users and the automation team.


Knowledge & Application

Proven aptitude designing, implementing, validating, and iterating liquid handling processes on robotic liquid handling workstations using control software such as Biomek Software or Hamilton Venus required

  • Experience troubleshooting workstations and individual devices (e.g. plate sealers, plate transports) required
  • Experience with integrated workcells and/or robotic sample storage systems using scheduling software such as Agilent VWorks, and/or BioSero’s Green Button Go preferred but not required.
  • Programming experience preferred, particularly with common lab automation languages such as C#, Tcl, VBScript, and Javascript and/or general-purpose ones such as Python or Ruby.
  • Experience with rapid prototyping tools such as CAD, CNC-milling, 3D printing is valued but not required.

Problem Solving & Complexity

  • Identify and explore innovative solutions to scale and improve laboratory methods and techniques Partner with fellow automation engineers and researchers to prioritize and deliver solutions Applies learned techniques and contributes to analysis and investigation to solve problems.

Collaboration & Interaction

  • Can work self-directed and as part of a coordinated, multi-disciplinary team.
  • Collaborate with internal partners in a friendly and attentive demeanor to maximize automation and innovation in all that we do

Supervisory responsibilities: None

Work Environment:

  • 50% sedentary office and computer-based work
  • 50% lab work involving standing for extended periods of time, lifting up to 30 lbs

Travel required: Less than 10%

Required education and experience:

  • BA/BS or higher, in an engineering, scientific or related discipline
  • 2+ years of industry experience utilizing performing lab methods, using liquid handlers, or developing liquid handling workstation methods
  • Experience with integrated work cells and/or robotic sample storage systems in biological disciplines is valued but not required.
  • Experience with automated liquid handler workstation vendors (e.g. Beckman Coulter, Agilent) required.
  • Programming experience preferred, particularly with common lab automation languages such as C#, Tcl, VBScript, and Javascript and/or general-purpose ones such as Python or Ruby.
  • Proactive and passionate about robotics, biology, and most importantly: our scientific users.

Work authorization/security clearance requirements

  • Must be authorized to work in the United States

What we offer:

  • Competitive package in a disruptive startup
  • Stock options
  • Health/Dental/Vision insurance with employer-paid premiums
  • Life, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability policies
  • Employee Assistance Program with free referrals and discounts
  • 401(k) plan, 3% Match
  • Commuter benefits
  • Annual Training & Development support
  • Flexible vacation policy with a generous holiday schedule
  • Exciting opportunity to work with a talented and fun team

*Internal employees, please apply by clicking on the Internal Job Board icon on NSIDER

The salary range for this Berkeley, CA based position incorporates a premium for the cost of labor in this area. If this role is hired remotely, contact us for the lower range for National Benchmark. Following employment, growth beyond the hiring range is possible based on performance.

Hiring Compensation Range
$92,000$115,000 USD