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About the Department
Novo Nordisk, a global health care company, is committed to discovering and developing innovative medicines to help people living with diabetes lead longer, healthier lives. To support this, Novo Nordisk is conducting research on stem cell therapy. Stem cell research raises hopes for improved treatment of Type 1 Diabetes and for future treatments with cell transplantation therapy. This treatment could be offered to people with many different serious chronic diseases caused by the degeneration of specific cells, such as Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is manifested by the selective destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the body, which leads to a life-long dependence on insulin injections to control blood sugar levels. It is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Cell therapy may offer a better treatment by replacing the lost cells with new insulin-producing cells derived from stem cells, thus avoiding daily multiple insulin injections as well as numerous blood glucose tests. This treatment may also offer better blood glucose control, which is crucial to avoid late-stage complications such as blindness and kidney failure. In this project, Novo Nordisk will generate new stem cell lines to be used in future cell therapies to treat Type 1 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and chronic heart failure.

The Position
The successful applicant will join a team of embryologists, cell culture specialists and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) experts who are deriving human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines to support the manufacture of stem cell-derived products for use in human clinical trials.

The Senior Embryologist will work in the newly remodeled GMP facility at the University of California San Francisco. The role will work under the direct supervision of the chief scientist and report to the Senior Manager of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) team, Stem cell Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control (CMC) & Manufacturing. Internal stakeholders include employees in R&D in Novo Nordisk A/S, employees of UCSF, employees at the Novo Nordisk Research Center Seattle, Inc. (NNRCSI) and Novo Nordisk Quality.

Essential Functions

  • Thaw and culture human embryos, including grading and assessing their developmental potential as related human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) production
  • EM Human embryo micromanipulation
  • Handle and recognize initial hESC colonies, including distinguishing between hESCs and trophoblasts and/or other types of cells in early embryo outgrowths
  • Expand and freeze hESCs to establish cell banks, characterizing newly established hESC lines
  • Derive hESC lines from single blastomeres
  • Review/present data and participate in group meetings to establish strategies for key steps, including embryo maturation, culture, and handling of initial outgrowths
  • Continuously assess overall methods for derivation and characterization of hESC lines
  • Continuously assess cell culture systems regarding different substrates/media that are employed
  • Perform assays for assessing viability and growth characteristics, preparing cells for Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and perform immunolocalization. Perform isolation of mRNA for Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays
  • Perform analysis and provide direction to junior staff on working procedures
  • Conduct hands-on training for personnel working in the process

Physical Requirements
Ability to sit and stand for extended periods of time.


  • Bachelor’s degree in life science is required, advanced degree is preferred
  • 5+ years’ experience working in a clinical human embryology in vitro fertilization (IVF) lab is required. Completed training in all aspects of the IVF process, including oocyte retrieval, cumulus cell removal, embryo culture (day 3 and day 5-6), embryo grading, and embryo vitrification and thawing is required. Micromanipulation skills are required; ability to perform biopsy (day 3 and/or trophectoderm) is required
  • Extensive knowledge of the embryo culture and cryopreservation systems is required
  • Knowledge of the equipment, including basic troubleshooting, standardly used in the IVF lab is required
  • Advanced light and fluorescence microscopy skills are required
  • Experience in hESC derivation is preferred. In the absence, training will be provided
  • Candidate must have excellent attention to detail
  • Proficiency in aseptic technique, including innovations relevant to working with the hESC line derivation process in a GMP environment is preferred. In the absence, training will be provided
  • Ability to work in a Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) cleanroom under stringent gowning conditions
  • Proficiency with related analytical lab methodologies (e.g., immunoblotting, immunolocalization, PCR, and FACS). In the absence, training will be provided
  • Computer proficiency including MS Office, Photoshop as well as photomicrography, micromanipulator and laser software packages; knowledge of and ability to learn instrumentation software
  • Exceptional fine motor skills. Excellent oral and written communication skills (English). Outstanding organizational skills
  • Knowledge of cellular physiology as related to biochemical pathways, growth requirements for cells in vitro, and cellular responses to environmental variables (e.g., different oxygen tensions)
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills (schedules, timelines, task prioritization), with the ability to adapt to changing priorities

Novo Nordisk is an Equal Opportunity Employer /F/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity.

If you are interested in applying to Novo Nordisk and need special assistance or an accommodation to apply, please call us at 1-855-411-5290. This contact is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.

Requisition ID: 60249BR
State/Provinces: San Francisco
Job Category: Research

from Novo Nordisk – Research & Development

About Novo Nordisk

At Novo Nordisk, we are driving change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic conditions.

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat other serious chronic conditions: haemophilia, growth disorders and obesity.

Our company culture

The Novo Nordisk Way – who we are, where we want to go and how we work.

Each and every employee is responsible for acting in accordance with the Novo Nordisk Way – and to help each other understand what it means in practice.

The Novo Nordisk Way

A passion for helping people

The story of Novo Nordisk goes back more than 90 years

It began when August Krogh, a Nobel Prize-winning professor at the University of Copenhagen, decided he wanted to start producing a revolutionary new medical preparation called insulin.

Novo Nordisk’s history