Sr. Research Associate/Associate Scientist – RNA Analytics

Posted on May 25,

Orna is a Cambridge-based biotechnology startup on a mission to create therapies for diseases inaccessible to existing approaches. Built on novel circular RNA technology developed at MIT, Orna is leading the next wave of RNA therapeutics with our best-in-class expression and delivery platform. We are seeking an exceptional leader to join our Molecular Biology team as an Associate Director to drive Orna’s Platform Expansion group and apply creative sequence engineering principles to further the development of our oRNA platform. The ideal candidate is an RNA technologist with strong scientific intuition and expertise in synthetic long RNA design, cell biology, and molecular biology. The candidate has a Ph.D. in molecular biology or a related field with substantial relevant experience in the pharmaceutical or biotech industry. They will be able to apply their experience to lead the rational design of novel oRNAs using both synthetic sequence elements and components from nature, interrogate the cell biology of oRNA, and investigate new applications for the oRNA platform. They will demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills, have significant management experience, and thrive in a fast-paced environment.


  • Lead the molecular biology Platform Expansion team in the design and assessment of novel synthetic oRNAs to maximize circularization efficiency, expression, and stability
  • Assess the immunotoxicity of different oRNA preparations in key cell and animal models
  • Explore new applications for the oRNA technology, particularly as they relate to human health and disease, and lead proof of concept studies
  • Identify talent to grow the Platform Expansion team; foster collaborative relationships across the team and company and engage in a positive and exciting work environment
  • Contribute to patent applications and publications
  • Manage projects, goals, and timelines within the Platform Expansion team; communicate findings in a variety of forums across the company


  • PhD in molecular biology or related field with at least 6 years of industry experience is required
  • Prior people management and project management experience is required
  • Broad knowledge of RNA sequence and structure principles, RNA innate immunology, translation initiation mechanisms, splicing, RNA modifications, and cellular RNA metabolism is required
  • Experience working with synthetic long RNA is required
  • Hands-on experience engineering RNA molecules for various purposes is strongly preferred
  • Experience in using cutting edge technologies to investigate RNA structure and function as illustrated by strong publication record and/or IP applications
  • Demonstrated managerial experience with emphasis on resource/timeline management to meet team goals
  • Proven track record of collaboration and positive influence across the organization at all levels
  • Demonstrated ability to present complex technical topics to a wide range of audiences with varying technical depth