Senior Research Associate/Research Associate, Binder Development

Job Locations US-CA-South San Francisco
Research & Development
Position Type
Regular Full-Time

About Us

Nkarta is a publicly traded (Nasdaq symbol NKTX), South San Francisco headquartered, early-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of allogeneic, off-the-shelf engineered natural killer, or NK, cell therapies to treat cancer.


Founded in 2015 at the birthplace of biotechnology, our development pipeline of engineered NK cell therapy candidates includes two co-lead clinical programs, NKX101 and NKX019. Clinical trials for 101 are in process; 019 will begin in H2 2021. Nkarta recently announced a collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics, a world leader in gene-based medicines, for the development and commercialization of up to three new cell therapy candidates and access to clinically validated CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering.


Complementing our broad research and development capabilities, Nkarta has also built an extensive cell therapy manufacturing operation.  We have a 2,700-square foot clinical good manufacturing practice, or cGMP, facility on-site at our primary corporate location in South San Francisco, California. We plan to start in-house manufacturing of NKX019 in 2021 and NKX101 in 2022. We are also currently designing a separate, larger cGMP facility, to supply our anticipated pivotal clinical trial and commercial needs.


We are seeking a highly motivated and highly collaborative Research Associate or Senior Research Associate to join the Binder Development team. The successful candidate will be expected to participate in all aspects of antibody discovery approaches for the generation of CAR binders for lead selection for preclinical development. A junior intern that shows promise will be considered for transition to full time.


  • Execute the development/Maintenance of reagents and target overexpressing cell lines required for binder discovery campaigns (primarily hybridoma, B cell cloning, with occasional CAR screening support).
  • Executes high-throughput cell based binding and functional screening assays for identifying a broad panel of target-specific antibody binders using complex automation platforms like the Hamilton Star. Additionally, candidate may support antibody sequence reformatting into CAR constructs for lead selection screening for multiple targets in a high throughput cell line-based screening platform.
  • Provides team support for basic laboratory tasks including cell line inventory management, reagent ordering and equipment maintenance.
  • Conducts experiments independently; accurately record, analyze and communicate data to senior staff and team members.
  • Presents results in team meetings and deliver presentations to both small and large groups.


  • Previous experience with any antibody discovery approaches such as hybridoma generation, single B cell cloning or phage display techniques.
  • Expertise in tissue culture, multi-color flow cytometry, other general techniques such as transfections (electroporation and virus production/transduction) and ELISA.
  • Hands-on experience with antibody binding assays such as FACs and ELISA with data processing software BD FACSDiva and FlowJo.
  • Experience with mammalian cell transient transfection for reagent generation/purification and generation of target specific stable cell lines for binder screening assay.
  • Nice to have: experience with standard molecular biology techniques such as cloning, primer design and generation of expression vectors.
  • Plus: scripting or coding experience using R or Python
  • Strong verbal and writing skills for documentation of data, drafting of technical reports, and communication of progress to supervisor and project teams.
  • Must be able to work independently and multi-task within a fast-paced team environment with a high degree of self-motivation and organization.
  • Embodies the company culture of empowerment, diversity, and inclusion.



  • Experience with hybridoma and mammalian tissue culture and single cell sorting.
  • Previous experience with virus production, viral transduction of immune cells.
  • Hands-on experience with automated methods and workflows using liquid handling automation equipment, such as Hamilton, Tecan is preferred.

Education / Background

  • BA/BS in biology-related discipline with 2+ years of laboratory experience, MS in biology-related discipline with 1 or more years related laboratory experience is preferred.

Working at Nkarta Inc.

The 130+ team members describe working at Nkarta through some of the following comments. While getting better work-life balance and improving communications between groups in an early stage start up environment are two areas in which we’re working, here are real anonymous comments of why people think Nkarta is a great place to work.


  • People are always open to ideas. This company provides a safe place for its employees (covid testing, etc.)”
  • Exceptionally talented, committed, *kind* & supportive team”
  • The CEO is transparent and honest with expectations for the whole company. There is genuine care amongst the leadership team for their peers and employees. I believe this is unique.”
  • Not to sound corny, but the emphasis on people as a valuable resource is something I  recognize doesn't often exist elsewhere, and it's here in ample supply, which is great.”
  • It's the first place that I've worked where the executive team truly values the employees. It's a pretty amazing thing not to hear that employees can be replaced with someone new. Institutional knowledge is understood.”
  • We have a very diverse team with executives that are friendly and accessible.”
  • Smart and dedicated colleagues. Mission to make a difference in patients lives. Empower us with tools needed to succeed.  Open and transparent culture. Transparent leadership. Handling of covid and running the company was done very well.”


To learn more about our work at Nkarta and the career opportunities that will drive us forward to serve patients, please visit the company’s website at


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