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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Cutting Edge World Class Science Leader Wanted

I was watching the election coverage last night. Billions of dollars per candidate were spent and we are pretty much back to the same old people running the show. One of the talking heads lamented, "What could we have done by putting that money into medical research?" As if money equals progress.

Here is a prime example of how it does not. Intellectual ventures is a patent troll company that has made plenty of money from nonsensical science patents. They've decided to get into the biotech biz. Step one: Find someone who knows what this biotech BS is all about. They may have had to hire a consultant to write up this job description since the world leading research team needs to be set up by the guy they hire. I've added a few notes in red:

Job Description

Intellectual Ventures Laboratory (IVL) discovers, invents & develops advanced technology solutions in a wide variety of fields. With broadly interdisciplinary teams of physicists, engineers, chemists, biologists, and physicians, we attack pressing technical problems in energy, medicine, communications, and global health.

Purpose of the Position:

The purpose of this position is to set up and lead a cutting edge and world class biotechnology laboratory to support new technology development projects in fields as diverse as medicine, food science, energy, and renewable chemicals.

They have figured out how to become cutting edge and world class. HIRE SOMEONE ELSE TO GET THE JOB DONE!!!  I hope the guy they hires doesn't realize that his genius could be spent on his own cutting edge world class laboratory.


•Position is for a project leader who will be expected to develop clearly defined projects, lead small groups of scientists and engineers to complete the projects, and clearly communicate expectations and results to project stakeholders.

This scientist must cleary define the projects that Intellectual Venture Labs envisions as being fan-fucking-tastic. Beyond that IVL does not really know what their new genius has in mind. They do know that it will involve small groups of scientists and engineers. 

•Must demonstrate a broad knowledge base in the field of applied molecular biology and experience using project management tools to complete important projects in the field

They need a molecular biologist to lead engineers?
•Position is primarily a project leader role which requires frequent and clear communication with multiple internal and external customers and stakeholders.

•Limited travel required

•Must be able to lead biotechnology projects that broadly require manipulation of DNA, proteins, microorganism, and possibly plant and animal cells to solve diverse science and technology problems.

I'm getting the idea that they want someone to lead projects. Is the science getting a little broad here? The scientist must be an expert in molecular biology. This kind of scientist will manipulate DNA, proteins, microogranisms, and maybe... just maybe, plant and animal cells. These are the tools that will solve science and technology problems.  The "how?" is up to the new hire.

•Must help specify, purchase, set up, operate, and maintain molecular biology equipment and instrumentation as needed.

Ever seen a PI set up, operate and maintain lab equipment? What they have not specified yet is that they want a principal investigator with job functions at the RA level. 

•Must have experience leading teams which routinely perform several of the following kinds of tasks in the laboratory to solve problems:

•DNA manipulations including primer and gene design, routine PCR, vector construction, high throughput library construction. Pretty advanced buzz words in the mol bio biz! 

•Optimization of heterologous expression of wild type and modified proteins in various types of host organisms

•Engineering host cells via gene integration and gene knock-outs.

•Use of fermenters to grow and use wild type and engineered microorganisms

•Use of analytical instruments such HPLC and UV-vis to characterize proteins and engineered cells. We need a PI who knows UV-vis! 

•Must work with other technical teams (chemistry, physics, engineering) and customers to identify biotechnology needs and design projects to efficiently solve problems. It sounds like they've already started designing a project. 

•Must develop, plan, staff, and complete independent research projects in applied molecular biology

•Must safely work with biological agents, chemicals and compressed gases and coach others to do the same

•Must keep detailed documentation for all work and communicate results in clearly composed reports and presentations. A PI with a lab book.

•Must assist with the organization of data and other literature for reports and other communications and in files on the company’s server.


Qualifications and Skills:

•Master’s or Ph.D. in a Biological or Chemical/Chemical Engineering science. Excellent attention to detail skills. Chemical/Chemical Engineer indeed! 
What does a chemical engineer know about molecular biology?

•Degree and research experience in field which required extensive use of molecular biology techniques.
Didn't they just specifiy what your degree had to be? 

•Education and work experience that demonstrates fundamental knowledge of biochemical and molecular biology concepts and use of diverse array of equipment and instrumentation to do lab work in these areas.
So... molecular biology is required?

•At least 5 years of industrial project management experience in an active applied molecular biology laboratory and demonstrated success at defining and then completing those projects on time and on budget.

•Excellent verbal, written, and interactive communication skills are required.

•Being comfortable with freedom to explore is required

I am sure I come across snarky. I can't help it. If the leaders judge us, why not judge them? This is their best effort in searching for the man or woman who will lead their cutting edge world class laboratory. The first thing the new scientist must do is make their small team cutting edge and world class. IVL has already started advertising their greatness. They designed their cargo cult airport. They just need a manager. It's up to the new guy to bring the cargo.  

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