Microfluidics Engineer (Microbiology)

Microfluidics Engineer (Microbiology)

locationUnited States
PublishedPublished: 3/27/2024
Full Time


Microfluidics Engineer (Microbiology)

Harvard Medical School


Position Description

The MUPPETS program, funded by DARPA, aims to revolutionize the way that environmental microbial samples, including human pathogens, are collected, preserved and transported for analysis. It is a large, high-profile, multi-institutional project that focuses on the design and use of microfluidics tools to capture and analyze bacteria, with the goal of preserving the full spectrum of species in the sample in their original proportions without resorting to freezing them. We are searching for a creative microfluidics engineer with experience in microbiology who will design novel microfluidic devices to accomplish these goals. This position will work closely with researchers who are developing new materials for microbial preservation and will engage with faculty and researchers to translate early-stage concepts and ideas into practical, real-world devices.

MUPPETS includes several research teams working to develop chemical and protein-based preservation strategies. You will take the lead on developing devices to implement the different strategies for testing. You will advise the preservation coating teams on needed modifications to their strategies for compatibility with microfluidic devices, and collaborate with them on iterative preservation coating/device improvements. You will also take the lead on developing microfluidic strategies to concentrate cells of interest in the device, separating them from soil and debris, while keeping the proportions of cell types constant. Ultimately you will combine these two microfluidic strategies to produce a complete device that can capture, filter and preserve microbial samples of varied types. You will collaborate with a number of teams with specific domain expertise to test these devices in the field, collecting and analyzing samples from a wide variety of environments, including remote and harsh environments. We expect multiple patents and publications will result from this work, which you will participate in as appropriate.

Key responsibilities:1. Develop expertise in the methods previously used and proposed to preserve microbes from remote and extreme environments.
2. Design, build and test novel microfluidic chambers to test the efficacy of these methods in the context of devices combining tens of millions of channels on the micron- or sub-micron scale (using fluid dynamics, E-beam and 3D lithography, maskless aligners, micro-printers etc), connected to larger mesoscopic features (CNC micro-milling, laser welding).
3. Optimize and troubleshoot chamber design for use with complex sample types and to microfilter samples to separate cells of interest from soil, debris and other environmental contaminants. Perform rapid prototyping of alternate designs optimized for varied pathogens and varied types of environmental samples, including from extreme environments.
4. Perform additional troubleshooting and optimization in response to feedback from partners.
5. Write reports and publications describing the results of these experiments.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience required.
  • Minimum of 8 years’ relevant work experience.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • PhD or equivalent work experience in physics, engineering or microfluidics.
  • Experience in culturing and manipulating microbiological samples preferred.
  • Energetic and driven problem-solver and team player.
  • Intense focus on precision of measurement and repeatability of results.

Additional Information

This is a term position with an end date of September 26, 2026, with the possibility of extension, contingent upon work performance and continued funding to support the position. 

The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University. With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccines.

Please note that we are currently conducting a majority of interviews and onboarding remotely and virtually. We appreciate your understanding.

The Harvard Medical School is not able to provide visa sponsorship for this position.

Not ready to apply? Join our talent community to keep in touch and learn about future opportunities! (https://www.gem.com ?formID=16341e35-cbc6-4904-88a3-09b35763307e)

Work Format Details

This position is based primarily on-campus, in Massachusetts. This may include in-person during emergency situations (if applicable). Additional details will be discussed during the interview process. Certain visa types may limit work location. Individuals must meet work location sponsorship requirements prior to employment.


We invite you to visit Harvard's Total Rewards website (https://hr.harvard.edu/totalrewards) to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Job Function


Department Office Location

USA - MA - Boston

Job Code

395059 Engineer

Work Format




Salary Grade



Systems Biology


00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Time Status


Pre-Employment Screening

Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

We are committed to cultivating an inclusive workplace culture of faculty, staff, and students with diverse backgrounds, styles, abilities, and motivations. We appreciate and leverage the capabilities, insights, and ideas of all individuals. Harvard Medical School Mission and Community Values


EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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