Scientific Software Developer


The Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology (LSP) at Harvard Medical School is recruiting a software developer with a background in computational biology to join a DARPA-funded artificial intelligence project that focuses on software agents for two-way human-machine communication in support of basic and translational biomedical research.

This project aims to create a software environment in which machines act as proactive collaborators with humans in solving problems encountered in research and ultimately in patient care. Central to the environment is a two-way dialogue system in which the computer partner is able to harness knowledge extracted from biomedical literature and pathway databases to construct mechanistic hypotheses, with an initial focus on hypotheses about cancer pathways and anti-cancer drugs. The candidate will work closely with other software engineers, computational biologists and laboratory scientists on software implementations and the analysis of experimental data. The ideal candidate should be broadly conversant with programming in Python, preferably in the context of scientific data analysis. The candidate should also be familiar with rapid prototyping and collaborative software development. Experience with machine learning applied to omic data or with natural language systems is a plus.

The LSP provides a collaborative environment in which scientists and engineers from academia, industry and government work together to study multiple steps in the development of human therapies from initial scientific discovery to patient care. The lab applies interdisciplinary approaches that combine laboratory-based experiments with computational modeling and analysis.

This is an academic appointment at the rank of Research Associate and comes with a competitive salary and benefits package. The successful candidate must have an advanced degree (MSc, MEng or PhD), documented proficiency in a research field, and must provide relevant samples of technical writing and code. All positions are subject to a 90 day evaluation period. Thereafter the initial appointment is for a period of two years with the possibility of renewal. This position is part of the DARPA Communicating with Computers program funded through 8/31/20.

This program has been profiled in Wired and by the Guardian:
Wired – The Merging of Humans and Machines is Happening Now
The Guardian – Siri of the Cell


Qualified candidates should have:

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in computer science, computational biology, bioinformatics or related field
  • 2+ years of experience in Python programming
  • Experience with Git version control
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Experience in the following is a plus, but not strictly required
    • Programming for scientific data analysis
    • Experience with Python scientific computing packages (numpy, scipy, pandas, networkx)
    • Expertise in any a language such as C / C++ / Lisp

Applications should be emailed to must include a cover letter and CV.