Benchling

Software Engineer at Benchling

San Francisco · Full Time

Benchling was started by a group of software engineers with molecular and computational biology experience. Many of us chose not to pursue paths in science because we were frustrated at how hard it was to work together. We’ve experienced the pain of poorly managed data, irreproducible research, and paper lab notebooks.
 
Thousands of scientists all around the world use Benchling to do research. Whether they are at the world’s largest companies, the top research universities, or working on a startup in a garage, scientists use Benchling for the same reason: to be empowered, not encumbered, by their tools.

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Job Description

Benchling is a platform for ground breaking life science research: gene therapy, cellular immunotherapy, synthetic biology, and more. Our mission is to accelerate research and magnify its impact by bringing modern software to this historically underserved space.

Research today means disparate tools, manual data entry, and lots of Excel and paper. We provide an integrated platform for designing and running experiments, analyzing data, and sharing results. Our customers range from pharmaceutical giants to biotech startups to academic labs: scientists are able to work faster, and organizations can collect and tap into their vast institutional knowledge for the first time.

About the Team

Benchling was founded in 2013 by a team of MIT graduates and has since raised funding from investors that include Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz, and Thrive Capital. Our small team of 40 includes former Salesforce executives, tech industry veterans from Google, Facebook, Palantir, and Twitter, and biology PhDs from UCSF and Harvard. We hire people who love learning and learn quickly - building tools for science requires a scientific mindset.

Our engineering team of 15 is small but growing. We're looking for engineers who thrive on teamwork, crave ownership and impact, and are driven to make a dent in our space.

You will:

* Own projects end-to-end, from initial design, to prototype, to large-scale rollout.
* Design and implement backend models and API endpoints for complex scientific workflows.
* Design and implement rich frontend components and architecture. We build and operate one of the largest, richest React applications out there and power complex scientific analyses.
* Work closely with product managers, designers, marketing, and sales to ensure the right context is being shared.
* Help rapidly scale our product and team. As a member of the founding engineering team, you'll be an integral part of how we mature our tooling, best practices, engineering processes, and hiring.

You may be a fit for this role if you:

* Have 3-5 years of experience in software engineering.
* Build software with a product-first approach. You ship code quickly and care about the real world impact of your code.
* Have strong abilities in problem solving and iterating on feedback.
* Enjoy ownership and building key pieces of product.
* Are interested in learning more about life science (prior knowledge is not required; desire to learn is a must).

You might work on:

Check out our engineering blog (https://benchling.engineering) for some examples of past work. Here are some other examples of recent and future projects:

* Tools to simulate DNA assembly - computers can assist scientists by informing scientific decisions with complex calculations. Our bulk assembly tool allows scientists to simulate constructing hundreds of DNA constructs in parallel, visualizing the end result and highlighting potential issues.
* Complex querying and visualization tools - The big advantage of keeping all your data stored in one system is that you can query that data all at once, without digging up multiple sources. This works best when you can query Benchling the same way you can query a database: by choosing from a large number of possible filters on any related objects, joining together various sources, and performing aggregations. We want to enable this in a user-friendly experience, without leaving your browser.
* A customizable computation platform - Biologics are typically large protein complexes composed of a number of shared parts. We want to let scientists specify computations that can aggregate data across all of these related entities to surface derived values, which can be used in everything from data analysis to naming schemes. Scientists may develop custom protein analysis algorithms or proprietary validation logic - they'll be able to hook in custom code and push that computation to Benchling.
* Data warehouse as a product - customers can click a button and spin up a fully-managed, query-able warehouse with all their Benchling data in one place. Customers get the full power of Redshift/Postgres without having to manage ETL pipelines or tune Postgres configuration values.
* A new permissions system - Our existing permission system relies on Read/Write/Admin access that can only be applied at the top level of the file hierarchy. To roll out to enterprises with 500+ users, we need to offer them fine-grained control around exactly what actions a user can take and let them manage these in a hierarchical fashion.

Our Values

* Empower through information. We explain the “why” behind every decision, unless there are highly sensitive circumstances. We're honest about how we're doing, especially in difficult times. We believe that sharing information builds trust and enables better decision-making.
* Rely on tenacity. Hard work is one of the greatest factors to determine success and is fully under our control. We must make the most of every day b...

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What We're Building

Benchling makes life science research faster and more collaborative.

Biotechnology has the potential to solve humanity’s most pressing challenges, such as disease, renewable energy, clean water, and hunger. The brightest minds are working on these problems but they are equipped with archaic tools. We aspire to fix this and increase the rate of scientific output with a platform for researchers to design and run experiments, analyze data, and share results.

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Have Questions? Ask Us Anything

What are some of the toughest engineering problems Benchling is facing now?
**CRISPR** CRISPR is a new method of genome editing that is taking the field by storm. Helping scientists design CRISPR requires running analyses on massive genomic datasets very quickly, and creating ways to visualize complex results. See http://benchling.engineering/optimizing-crispr/ and http://benchling.engineering/crispr-aws-lambda/ for examples of engineering problems in CRISPR we’ve recently worked on. **Security infrastructure** We hold mission-critical data for our customers, so security is very important to them. One solution we offer enterprises is a “private cloud”, a deployment that’s isolated from the rest of Benchling at the networking level. We need to find a way to deploy many of these private clouds but keep our infrastructure scalable, maintain the highest level of security, and avoid operational overhead in maintenance. **Extending our product** We’re planning to add support for many biological data types over the next year. We need to model data in our backend such that all types easily support shared operations but rich, type-specific operations are still efficient. We also need to structure our frontend such that it has reusable components (part of why we love React) so we can add new features quickly and maintain a consistent user experience.
Ashutosh Singhal
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