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Lilly Associate - Protein Expression and Automation in San Diego, California

At Lilly, we unite caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We are a global healthcare leader headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our 35,000 employees around the world work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to our communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. We give our best effort to our work, and we put people first. We’re looking for people who are determined to make life better for people around the world.

The Automation Group at the Lilly Biotechnology Center in San Diego are searching for an associate level scientist (Principal Biologist) with experience in protein expression and liquid handling. The Principal Biologist will serve in a lead role in supporting early discovery programs at the Lilly Biotechnology Center through work with mammalian cell-based protein expression, purification, and cell culture, using state-of-the-art automated systems.

Key Objectives/Deliverables:

  • Learn how to use complex integrated liquid handling platforms to independently perform high-throughput transfections, automated cell culture and plate-based purifications (protein A/G/HIS capture)

  • Provide cell lines across functions by learning how to operate a custom automated tissue culture/cell banking system

  • Maintain mammalian cell lines, including expanding cultures, harvesting cells, and cryopreservation

  • Prepare and validate reagents, maintain and record run information with accuracy, execute QC and track expression performance

  • Serve as a key liaison for users of the expression/cell culture platform; facilitate transfer of information between automation team and collaborators

  • Cooperate with automation colleagues and collaborators to troubleshoot biology (product quality or consistency, reagent issues), process or mechanical errors

  • Develop and implement improvements in our current workflows, remove bottlenecks and innovate to expand platform capabilities, working independently or with colleagues and vendors

  • Oversee investigation of problems with product quality, reagents, equipment or user input

  • Interact closely with colleagues in antibody discovery, protein engineering and purification groups across sites to exchange ideas and learnings and understand changing business needs

Basic Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree with 5+ years or Master's degree with 3+ years post-degree relevant academic or industrial experience

  • Experience with mammalian expression systems

Additional Preferences

  • Strong skills in tissue culture (aseptic technique) a must

  • Demonstrated ability to independently design experiments, generate data, interpret results, and document findings

  • Effective communication skills with the ability to summarize and present scientific results clearly and transparently

  • Strong attention to detail, time management and organizational skills are required

  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications (Excel, Word, PowerPoint) required

  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently and in a collaborative team setting is essential

  • Master’s Degree in biochemical sciences (biochemistry, chemistry, or similar disciplines).

  • Experience in the use of common automation equipment such as BioMek liquid handlers, reagent dispensers, or integrated automation systems a plus

  • Knowledge of protein purification techniques a plus

  • Familiarity with drug discovery preferred

  • Experience with bioreactors/wave bags a plus

  • Experience with automation scheduling software a plus

Eli Lilly and Company, Lilly USA, LLC and our wholly owned subsidiaries (collectively “Lilly”) are committed to help individuals with disabilities to participate in the workforce and ensure equal opportunity to compete for jobs. If you require an accommodation to submit a resume for positions at Lilly, please email Lilly Human Resources ( ) for further assistance. Please note This email address is intended for use only to request an accommodation as part of the application process. Any other correspondence will not receive a response.

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Our employee resource groups (ERGs) offer strong support networks for their members and help our company develop talented individuals for future leadership roles. Our current groups include: Africa, Middle East, Central Asia Network, African American Network, Chinese Culture Network, Early Career Professionals, Japanese International Leadership Network (JILN), Lilly India Network, Organization of Latinos at Lilly, PRIDE (LGBTQ + Allies), Veterans Leadership Network, Women’s Network, Working and Living with Disabilities. Learn more about all of our groups.

As a condition of employment with Eli Lilly and Company and its subsidiaries in the United States and Puerto Rico, you must be fully COVID-19 vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination satisfactory to the company (subject to applicable law).


At Lilly we strive to ensure our employees are part of a team that cares about them and our shared purpose of making life better for those around the world. How do we do this? We continue to look for ways to include, innovate, accelerate and deliver while maintaining integrity, excellence and respect for people.​ We hope that you seek to join us on our journey as we create medicine and deliver improved outcomes for patients across the globe!