Come find your purpose at Future Fields

Head of Cell Sciences
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Description

Are you an experienced scientist with a passion for cell biology? Do you want to make a difference at a fast-paced biotech startup on a mission to save the planet?


Changing the world - one fruit fly at a time.

We’ve developed a novel insect-based expression platform that allows us to make the world’s most sustainable recombinant proteins. 

We’re unleashing the next biorevolution.

At Future Fields, we are continually learning and evolving. We know we don’t have all the answers, but we try to ask all the questions. We believe in “failing forward” and leveraging our mistakes to help us grow. We never want our team to feel constrained by the status quo and we don’t judge ideas based on where they come from. We actively work to foster a culture of collaboration, innovation and psychological safety through transparency, structure, and open communication. We know it sounds cliche, but every employee really is a valued and equal member of the Future Fields team.

Come find your purpose with Future Fields.

We are a young and rapidly growing venture backed startup (with support from awesome investors including Bee Partners, Y Combinator, and Pioneer Fund). We’ve even had a shoutout from Ironman himself! Joining our team now means you’ll have the opportunity to shape our culture and products, to lead others, and to influence the direction of our company. Perhaps most importantly - you’ll be joining a team that is genuinely energized by this work and the meaningful potential of cellular agriculture to change the world.
 

About the role

The Head of Cell Sciences will oversee and manage our division of Cell Sciences at Future Fields - which exists to oversee the functional characterization of recombinant and insect derived products and develop novel cell line and cell-derived products for commercial applications. This role will expertly apply high throughput biochemical and cell based assays using cutting edge techniques to assess recombinant proteins and insect agricultural product development. This role will also work closely with Quality Control and Regulatory Affairs departments to support GMP compliance. 

Under the direction of our VP of Product, this role will work alongside our Head of Insect Technologies and Head of Manufacturing to develop appropriate functional high throughput characterization bioassays for new and existing recombinant proteins, generating robust primary cell lines for the cellular agriculture industry, development and assessment of insect derived matrices and scaffolds for novel applications. This role will attend weekly science and all-hands meetings and participate in collaborative discussions on Future Fields’ R&D and production strategies and business goals. The Head of Cell Sciences will lead teams in Bioassay Development and Cell Culture, and will be supported by team leads, senior/junior scientists and technicians. This role will continually evolve over time as the scope and size of Future Fields’ team and projects grow.

This role will own the ‘gateway’ through which all Future Fields products will pass through before they enter the market. It will serve as the lead project and people manager for all Cell Sciences. Although it lives on the production side of our operations, the role will frequently support R&D efforts and provide expertise on cell based and other biochemical assays for the development of novel recombinant protein and insect agriculture product applications.

Specific responsibilities include:
  • Developing high throughput strategies for functional characterization of recombinant proteins on cells, using techniques including but not limited to microscopy, biochemical, and cell-based assays to establish product integrity
  • Developing novel cell lines and cell-derived products, in collaboration with industry experts, for unique applications
  • Participating in the client’s initial discussion with business development group to determine the feasibility of providing service to a special project on both the technical and resources level
  • Identifying and validating proprietary processes and formulations for all products
  • Supporting intellectual property rights applications 
  • Designing appropriate assays for product functionality and complete validation for the express purpose of meeting Quality Control and regulatory affairs standards for all products 
  • Providing scientific vision and thought to drive innovation in the Cell Sciences department in bioassay development, stem cell technologies, media formulation using artificial intelligence driven product development 
  • Participating in conversations with regulatory bodies to support product approvals for distinct markets
  • Directly supervising employees across the Cell Sciences division, including monthly 1:1s and supporting employee development
  • Managing the Cell Sciences division budget, ensuring that the material, equipment, and infrastructure needed is aptly planned and procured, as necessary
  • Measuring, reporting, and communicating team progress towards key metrics and milestones to achieve quarterly and annual goals
  • Ensuring members of the Cell Sciences division have all the necessary resources to do their best work
  • Maintaining the company’s biosafety program, BSL2 license requirements, comply with ethics, policies and standard procedures and regulations. 

This role will assist by:
  • Working with our VP of Product in being a champion and a key contributor to the short- and long-term portfolio roadmap, positioning, vision and priorities
  • Working closely with R&D and Production department heads to ensure alignment and prioritization around work plans and priorities; Cohesive integration across organization is the goal
  • Monitoring and exploring gaps within the Cell Sciences team (people) and technologies (science and equipment) and preparing plans to address said gaps with support of VP Product and VP R&D
  • Planning and assisting with experiments and assays 
  • Onboarding and optimizing new equipment when necessary
  • Working with Quality department to ensure production meets GMP requirements
  • Contributing to identifying, establishing and running strategic relationships with customers and industry opinion leaders

This role requires significant hands-on experience and a deep technical understanding of cell proliferation, response to stimuli and methods to assess these in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. This role requires a passionate, committed scientist with a hunger for solving complex biological problems using robust and reproducible science.

About you


Despite your breadth of scientific knowledge, you are a cell biologist at heart. You’ve worked with stem cells, primary and immortalized cell lines long enough to assess the  health of a given flask with just a glance and you know every tool in the cell biology toolkit. You are a proficient technical scientist, but you can think beyond the benchtop and love the idea of finding novel and interesting product applications. You have a keen eye for the small details, but you can see the bigger picture. You have a grasp of biomanufacturing at scale and you understand the nuances and challenges of scaling a biological process. You can juggle multiple projects simultaneously, spot the process bottlenecks, and jump in to complete a task when other help is unavailable. You’re detail-oriented and you enjoy developing and implementing systems to track and improve the quality and efficiency of your work. You can operate in ambiguity, adapting quickly to the ever-changing demands of a growing startup. You can take a long and short-term view on processes and priorities, understanding that our end-game is very different from where we are today and how we currently operate. You enjoy supporting junior scientists, sharing your knowledge, and interacting with your teammates in a highly collaborative environment. 

Must haves
  • Direct hands-on experience with high throughput strategies in assay development, primary cell isolation and establishment, in vivo/ in vitro experiments
  • Ability to prioritize, multi-task, and work well under pressure to meet (often changing) deadlines
  • Experience developing and maintaining metrics and work plans 
  • Project management skills; demonstrated ability to push projects over the finish line with sound planning and persistent execution; understand how to align (scarce) resources, seek appropriate input, and manage team members 
  • Strategic mindset to design, develop and drive departmental and operational strategies and tactical plans.
  • PhD in Stem Cell Biology/Cell Biology/Biochemistry/Biomedical Sciences plus 5+ years of experience
  • 2+ years of experience in a managerial role

Bonus points 
  • Experience working for a startup
  • Experience with biomanufacturing at scale
  • Experience with recombinant protein expression and/or pharmaceutical development
  • A strong publication record

Your future (with Future Fields)

  • Within 1 month, you will develop a high level understanding of the various workflows within Cell Sciences and other departments in Future Fields. You will develop the framework of a system for identifying, planning and executing the various quarterly and annual goals for your department. 
  • Within 3 months, you will have an intimate understanding of every process and assay within the Future Fields workflow, from our genetic toolkit, to our protein purification process, to the way we test the bioactivity of our growth factors. You will develop robust key metrics of the assays performed within each team and help optimize those metrics with its members. Alongside your team, you will begin to develop new assays and experiments to identify novel applications of insect products. You will expand on our previously developed management framework, initiating the development of work plans specific to each cell team to achieve R&D, manufacturing and QC goals.
  • Within 6 months, you will have developed and implemented a system for managing the workflow and processes of the Cell Sciences team. This will include tracking and measuring the progress of each individual project within the team and tracing these metrics back to the company’s goals and priorities. You will present these metrics and their progress to the VP of product on a weekly basis. 
  • Within 1 year, you will develop a living plan to build out the Cell Sciences team, forecasting and deciding on positions that are needed to accelerate the company’s objectives. You will work closely with the VP of Product to develop new growth strategies, specifically as they relate to the development of new growth factor targets, insect agricultural products and additional technical milestones. You will continue to oversee (and constantly improve on) the Cell Sciences R&D management framework. 

About our team

Our story and approach to science is anything but conventional. Matt (co-founder/CEO) was a touring punkrock musician who dropped out of University before returning to complete his PhD in cell biology. Jalene (co-founder/COO) is a social researcher by training, previously working on issues from the right to affordable housing to harm reduction. The spark of an idea for our technology came while waiting in line for tiny, Canadian donuts. Our broader team of scientists, engineers, circus performers, restaurateurs, dancers, folk music aficionados, kid parents, pet parents, cyclists, and artists hail from every corner of the world - from small town Alberta to Poland, India, Vietnam and Pakistan. We credit our diverse team and experiences as the key to our success - and we encourage candidates of all identities and backgrounds to apply.
 

FAQs

Where is Future Fields located?
Our headquarters (office and lab space) is located in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, in a beautiful, freshly renovated warehouse. From the exposed brick to our rooftop patio  - it’s not your average lab space. It is central, close to transit and bike lanes, and walking distance to some of the city’s best coffee shops, restaurants and Edmonton’s incredible river valley.
 
I don’t live in Edmonton. Why would I want to relocate there?
Because it’s great! For starters, Edmonton is one of Canada’s sunniest cities with 2299 hours of bright sunshine per year. It’s consistently ranked one of Canada’s most affordable cities to live in and was recently described as Canada’s most exciting culinary city. There’s a festival almost every weekend, North America’s largest mall and the longest stretch of urban parkland on the continent (over 160km of trails!). There’s something for everyone in Edmonton, and it will be even better with you in it.
 
Any other perks?
Many! Some include: comprehensive health, dental and vision benefits; flexible paid time off policy; and the office is always stocked with snacks and all the coffee you can drink.
 
Will I like working for a startup?
Great question. Startup life is definitely not for everyone. We move quickly. Projects and priorities shift fast. There is a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty at times and we’re not immune to the growing pains of an early stage startup. The risk is high, but so is the reward. We promise you will never get bored. You will have fun and learn a lot. You will grow personally and professionally in ways you never imagined (alongside our company). You will be part of something much bigger than yourself and contribute directly to the mission of a team who cares deeply about changing the world for the better. Oh, and equity!
 
 

Sound like something you are interested in? Here are the next steps:

 
Apply online using our job portal.
 
If it seems like a good fit, next steps will look like this:
  1. We will contact you for a casual 30-minute video call.
  2. We will set up an interview to dive into your technical skills and motivation.
  3. We’ll arrange another interview to figure out how you fit with our team and culture, and better understand your career trajectory.
  4. We will set up a coffee chat with you and a team member. This is your chance to dig in and find out what it’s really like to work for Future Fields. This is for you!
  5. We will speak with two of your references to confirm our assumption that you are, in fact, our next great hire.
  6. We offer you a job!



Know someone who would be a perfect fit? Let them know!