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Embryologist Job

About the department:

Novo Nordisk, a global health care company, is committed to discovering and developing innovative medicines to help people living with diabetes lead longer, healthier lives. To support this, Novo Nordisk is conducting research on stem cell therapy. Stem cell research raises hopes for improved treatment of Type 1 Diabetes and for future treatments with cell transplantation therapy. This treatment could be offered to people with many different serious chronic diseases caused by the degeneration of specific cells, such as Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is manifested by the selective destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the body, which leads to a life-long dependence on insulin injections to control blood sugar levels. It is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Cell therapy may offer a better treatment by replacing the lost cells with new insulin-producing cells derived from stem cells, thus avoiding daily multiple insulin injections as well as numerous blood glucose tests. This treatment may also offer better blood glucose control, which is crucial to avoid late-stage complications such as blindness and kidney failure. In this project, Novo Nordisk will generate new stem cell lines to be used in future cell therapies to treat Type 1 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and chronic heart failure.

The successful applicant will join a team of embryologists, cell culture specialists and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) experts who are deriving human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines to support the manufacture of stem cell-derived products for use in human clinical trials.


The Embryologist will work in the newly remodelled GMP facility at the University of California San Francisco. S/he will work under the direct supervision of the senior embryologist/chief scientist and report to the Senior Manager of the UCSF team, Stem cell CMC & Manufacturing. Internal stakeholders include employees in R&D in Novo Nordisk A/S, employees of UCSF, employees at the Novo Nordisk Research Center Seattle, Inc. (NNRCSI) and Novo Nordisk Quality.

Essential Functions:

  • Thaw and culture human embryos, including grading and assessing their developmental potential as it relates to human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) production.
  • Human embryo micromanipulation.
  • Handle and recognize initial hESC colonies, including distinguishing between hESCs and trophoblasts and/or other types of cells in early embryo outgrowths.
  • Expand and freeze hESCs to establish cell banks, characterizing newly established hESC lines.
  • Derive hESC lines from single blastomeres.
  • Review/present data and participate in group meetings to establish strategies for key steps, including embryo maturation, culture, and handling of initial outgrowths.
  • Continuously assess overall methods for derivation and characterization of hESC lines.
  • Continuously assess cell culture systems regarding different substrates/media that are employed.
  • Perform assays for assessing viability and growth characteristics, preparing cells for Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and perform immunolocalization.
  • Perform isolation of mRNA for Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays.
  • Conduct hands-on training for personnel working in the process.


  • Bachelor’s degree in life science is required, advanced degree is preferred.
  • 2+ years’ experience required. Experience working as an embryologist in clinical setting (in vitro fertilization (IVF) lab) is preferred.
  • Completed training in all aspects of the IVF process, including micro-manipulation and trophoblast and/or blastomere biopsy is preferred.
  • Experience with hESC derivation in human or animal systems is preferred. In the absence, training will be provided.
  • Candidate must have excellent attention to detail, and good visual-motor skills
  • Proficiency in aseptic technique, including innovations relevant to working with the hESC line derivation process in a GMP environment is preferred. In the absence, training will be provided.
  • Ability to work in a cGMP cleanroom under stringent gowning conditions.
  • Proficiency with related analytical lab methodologies (e.g., immunoblotting, immunolocalization, PCR, and FACS). In the absence, training will be provided.
  • Advanced light and fluorescence microscopy skills. In the absence, training will be provided.
  • Computer proficiency including MS Office, Photoshop as well as photomicrography, micromanipulator and laser software packages; knowledge of and ability to learn instrumentation software.
  • Exceptional fine motor skills. Excellent oral and written communication skills (English). Outstanding organizational skills.
  • Knowledge of cellular physiology as related to biochemical pathways, growth requirements for cells in vitro, and cellular responses to environmental variables (e.g., different oxygen tensions).
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills (schedules, timelines, task prioritization), with the ability to adapt to changing priorities.
  • Excellent multi-tasking and problem-solving skills; solution-oriented; self-motivated.
  • Highly motivated and comfortable working in a results-oriented dynamic research and development environment.
  • Ability to work independently and in teams consisting of members with different degrees of knowledge or ability.

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to sit or stand for long periods of time.
  • Ability to work in a cleanroom environment in full aseptic gowning (no skin exposed).
  • Ability to work flexible hours as necessitated by the process.

Requisition ID: 59920BR
State/Provinces: San Francisco
Job Category: Research

Embryologist Job

San Francisco, CA
Full Time

Published on 06/16/2019