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Research Associate, mRNA process development

Kernal Biologics

Kernal Biologics

Cambridge, MA, USA
Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2023

Kernal Bio is a VC-backed Biotech company that is creating mRNA drugs that instruct specific cells in the body on how to make their own medicine. Messenger RNA technology has proven extremely useful in rapidly developing vaccines against COVID-19. Kernal Bio is developing the next generation of mRNA therapy, called mRNA 2.0. It solves a critical problem of cancer cell selectivity that affects mRNA and oncolytic virus-based immuno-oncology drugs. Located in Cambridge, MA, Kernal Bio received three awards from Amgen and NASA. With roots at MIT, Harvard, and Big Pharma, Kernal Bio’s interdisciplinary team of MDs and PhDs previously built a successful Biotech company and has deep expertise in mRNA and oncology space.

Job Summary:

Kernal Bio is seeking an exceptional, highly motivated Research Associate to contribute to the development of its mRNA 2.0 platform for therapeutic applications. The successful candidate will work as part of the team responsible for the development, characterization, and production of mRNA therapeutics.


· Synthesize and purify routine mRNA products for preclinical studies

· Help establish and optimize the mRNA IVT manufacturing scale-up capability

· Help develop scalable strategies for downstream product purification

· Carry out process development studies using the design-of-experiments approach.

· Perform routine analytical and bioanalytical tasks such as HPLC, qPCR, ELISA, fragment analysis, mammalian cell culture, transfection, fluorescence, flow cytometry

· Collaborate with the Immuno-Oncology and Lipid Nanoparticle Formulation teams and execute experiments supporting Kernal Bio’s R&D pipeline

· Analyze, summarize, and present experimental results to team members and management

· Contribute to technical discussions & intellectual property related to the development and application of Kernal’s proprietary technologies

· Explore new technologies and methods to optimize current processes in a fast-paced research environment

· Maintain up-to-date records and communicate results to team members in written technical reports and oral presentations

· Participate in experimental design and troubleshooting efforts

· Interpret, summarize experimental data and maintain excellent laboratory notebooks


· BS/MS in Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Biology, Molecular Biology, or a similar field (MS degree preferred)

· 1-5 years of academic or industry experience in nucleic acid manufacturing

· Attention to detail, ability to multi-task, and trouble-shoot

· Strong written and verbal communication skills

· Excellent record keeping and data management skills

  • The ideal candidate is adaptable, enthusiastic about new challenges, has an innate curiosity, and a passion for learning

· Experience working in fast-paced startup environments

· Excellent organization skills, approaching tasks with efficiency

· Ability to analyze, summarize, and communicate scientific data

· Ability to work independently while effectively interacting and collaborating in a team environment

· Preferred: Experience with automation

· Preferred: Prior mammalian cell culture experience

· Preferred: Familiarity with nucleic acid purification and chemistry, enzyme kinetics, and analytical characterization of biomolecules

· Preferred: Experience with analytical techniques HPLC/UPLC, FPLC, MALDI-TOF MS, LC-MS/MS, NMR

· Preferred: Experience with bioprocess engineering principles, process modeling, and Design of Experiment (DoE) statistical tools and GMP regulations

· Nice to have: Lipid nanoparticle drug formulation experience


· Competitive 401(k)

· Highly competitive healthcare coverage (Gold PPO/HMO)

· Free parking, monthly subway pass, or a subsidized commuter rail pass

· Free MIT Athletic Membership

· Free Bluebike Membership

· Flexible Spending Account

· Paid parental leave, family caregiver leave, medical leave

· Paid life insurance coverage

· On-site subsidized cafeteria

· Competitive vacation and sick days per year

Kernal provides a diverse work environment and is committed to equal employment opportunity for all its employees and qualified applicants. We do not discriminate in employment practices for reasons of race, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital or veteran status, religion, disability, or any other legally protected status. Kernal will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities, in accordance with applicable law.