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Head of Bioinformatics

Zoetis, Inc
United States, California, Torrance
April 13, 2024

Role Description

The primary purpose of the Head of Bioinformatics at Basepaws is to lead the advancement of the company's genetics-based pet health products through the innovative use of computational tools and biological data science. This pivotal role encompasses the strategic direction and execution of research and development initiatives focused on genetics and pet health, ensuring the delivery of actionable and interpretable results to enhance pet care. The Head of Bioinformatics may also manage and oversee a team of scientists and engineers, fostering collaboration across cross-functional teams, including data engineers, lab personnel, and product teams, to integrate bioinformatics software and data analysis into existing pipelines and product development. The scope of responsibility is cross-functional, aiming to revolutionize pet health care through genetic insights, with a significant emphasis on innovation, team leadership, and cross-disciplinary collaboration within the larger VMRD org. This role requires an individual with an advanced degree in a relevant field, extensive experience in genetic research, and a proven track record of leading cross-functional teams to drive scientific advancements.

Position Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership in Research and Development (20%): Leading the strategic direction and execution of research and development initiatives in pet genetics and health, including setting goals, defining outcomes, and ensuring alignment with the company's mission.

Team Management and Development (20%): Managing and developing a team of bioinformaticians, scientists, and engineers, including recruitment, training, and performance evaluation, to foster a culture of innovation and excellence.

Innovation and Product Development (30%): Driving innovation in pet genetics through the development of new computational tools, algorithms, and products that enhance breed prediction, genetic testing, and overall pet health insights.

Cross-Functional Collaboration (20%): Collaborating with data engineers, lab personnel, and product teams to integrate bioinformatics software into existing pipelines and influence product development through data analysis and scientific insights.

Scientific Validation and Publication (10%): Spearheading efforts in statistical validation, peer-reviewed research, and publication to establish and maintain scientific credibility and contribute to the body of knowledge in pet genetics.

Internal interactions:

Basepaws Bioinformatics Team: Direct interaction with bioinformaticians, scientists, and engineers in the Basepaws team; some of these might report directly and some might be on other teams within VMRD but indirectly work.

Basepaws Data Engineering Team: Collaboration on integrating bioinformatics software and algorithms into existing data pipelines and infrastructure. Work closely with Sherman Gore, Head of Engineering and his team. Also with other engineers working on various science engineering projects.

Basepaws Laboratory Personnel: Coordination with lab staff for the analysis of internal research and development, quality control (QC) data, various reagents and other daily tasks.

Basepaws Product Development Team: Working closely with product managers and designers to inform the scope of genetic data usage in product features and improvements.

Basepaws Senior Management/Executive Team colleagues: Regular updates and strategic discussions with senior leadership, including progress reports, strategic direction, and alignment with overall company goals. Role will be part of the executive team.

Basepaws Human Resources (external/Ragia): Interaction with HR for recruitment, team development, and performance management processes.

External Interactions:

VMRD: Critical external relationship. Engagement with researchers, and professionals in the field of genetics and bioinformatics for collaboration, research sharing, and staying abreast of industry trends within the VMRD.

Technology and Software Vendors: Liaison with technology providers, especially those related to computational tools, cloud services (e.g., AWS), and bioinformatics software, for updates, support, and leveraging new technologies.

Regulatory Bodies and Standards Organizations: Interaction may be necessary for compliance with industry standards, certifications, and regulations related to genetic testing and pet health products.

Resources Managed

Financial Accountability

Indicate the Average Budget or Revenue accountability, as applicable.

This role help manage the R&D budget of about $2M.


Indicate the typical number of Colleagues managed. Include direct & indirect reports, matrix responsibility and or additional resources (i.e. contingent workers), as applicable.

For the Head of Bioinformatics position at Basepaws, the management structure typically includes direct reports and VMRD matrix teams and the potential inclusion of additional resources such as contingent workers.

Direct Reports:

  • Bioinformatics Team: This could consist of senior bioinformaticians, bioinformatics analysts, and data scientists. The direct team size can vary but might typically include 2-5 individuals.

Indirect Reports:

  • Cross-Functional Internal Teams: Indirectly manages personnel from other internal departments (such as data engineering, laboratory staff, and product development) who are involved in collaborative projects. The number can fluctuate between 1-4.
  • VMRD Colleagues: Indirectly manages and closely works with VMRD colleagues.
  • Matrix Responsibility: In a matrixed organization, the Head of Bioinformatics may have responsibilities for teams and individuals not directly reporting to them but who are essential to the success of bioinformatics projects. This includes collaboration with IT for infrastructure support, marketing for product communication, and sales for customer feedback integration.

Additional Resources:

  • Contingent Workers: For specific projects or peak times, contingent workers such as consultants, contractors, and temporary hires might be utilized. The number can vary significantly, from 2-5 or more, depending on project needs and timelines. Overall, while the direct team might consist of 2-5+ members.

Required Education/Experience

  • Advanced Degree: A Master's or Ph.D. in Genetics, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Veterinary Medicine, or a closely related field is required. This ensures the candidate has a strong foundation in both the theoretical and practical aspects of genetics and bioinformatics.
  • Relevant Experience: A minimum of 5 years of experience in genetic research, bioinformatics, or a similar field,

Preferred Education, Certifications, and Experience:

  • Specialized Knowledge: Experience with specific computational tools (such as Python, R), database management systems, and cloud services (AWS) is highly preferred. This technical proficiency supports the role's responsibilities in advancing research and product development.
  • Industry Experience: Prior work in a biotech, pharmaceutical, or veterinary medicine environment, especially with a focus on pet health or genetics, is preferred. This experience can provide valuable context and understanding of the industry's unique challenges and opportunities.

Other Requirements

  • Leadership Skills: Demonstrated ability to lead and develop high-performing teams, with a strong emphasis on strategic planning, team motivation, and conflict resolution.
  • Communication Skills: Excellent oral and written communication skills are essential for effectively conveying complex scientific concepts to diverse audiences, including internal teams, external partners, and non-specialist stakeholders.
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology: Extensive knowledge of bioinformatics algorithms, tools, and methodologies used in genetic research and analysis. This includes understanding of genomic data analysis, sequence alignment, genetic variant calling, and phylogenetics.
  • Programming Languages: Proficiency in programming languages commonly used in bioinformatics, such as Python and R, is essential. This includes experience with scripting for data analysis, automation of workflows, and development of bioinformatics tools.
  • Database Management: Experience with database management systems (e.g., Postgres) and familiarity with SQL or NoSQL databases. Ability to manage, query, and manipulate large datasets is critical.
  • Cloud Computing: Familiarity with cloud computing services. Understanding of cloud-based compute infrastructure and data storage solutions is important.
  • Statistical Analysis and Machine Learning: Strong foundation in statistical analysis methods and machine learning algorithms used in the analysis and interpretation of genetic data. This includes predictive modeling, classification, and regression analysis.
Preferred Technical Skills

Software Development Best Practices: Knowledge of software development lifecycle, version control systems (e.g., Git), continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) practices, and containerization technologies

Data Visualization: Skills in data visualization tools and libraries to effectively communicate findings and insights from data analysis.

Genetic Data Platforms: Experience with genetic data platforms and bioinformatics pipelines, understanding the nuances of genomic data processing and analysis platforms.

Project Management Tools: Familiarity with project management tools and software (e.g., JIRA, Trello) to manage team tasks, timelines, and deliverables efficiently.

Regulatory Knowledge: Awareness of regulatory standards and privacy laws related to genetic data and bioinformatics research, such as GDPR or HIPAA, is beneficial for ensuring compliance in product development and research.

Full time Regular Colleague

Any unsolicited resumes sent to Zoetis from a third party, such as an Agency recruiter, including unsolicited resumes sent to a Zoetis mailing address, fax machine or email address, directly to Zoetis employees, or to Zoetis resume database will be considered Zoetis property. Zoetis will NOT pay a fee for any placement resulting from the receipt of an unsolicited resume.

Zoetis will consider any candidate for whom an Agency has submitted an unsolicited resume to have been referred by the Agency free of any charges or fees. This includes any Agency that is an approved/engaged vendor but does not have the appropriate approvals to be engaged on a search.

Zoetis is committed to equal opportunity in the terms and conditions of employment for all employees and job applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or gender expression, national origin, disability or veteran status or any other protected classification. Disabled individuals are given an equal opportunity to use our online application system. We offer reasonable accommodations as an alternative if requested by an individual with a disability. Please contact Zoetis Colleague Services at zoetiscolleagueservices@zoetis.com to request an accommodation. Zoetis also complies with all applicable national, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment as well as employment eligibility verification requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act. All applicants must possess or obtain authorization to work in the US for Zoetis. Zoetis retains sole and exclusive discretion to pursue sponsorship for the acquisition or maintenance of nonimmigrant status and employment eligibility, considering factors such as availability of qualified US workers. Individuals requiring sponsorship must disclose this fact. Please note that Zoetis seeks information related to job applications from candidates for jobs in the U.S. solely via the following: (1) our company website at www.Zoetis.com/careers site, or (2) via email to/from addresses using only the Zoetis domain of "@zoetis.com". In addition, Zoetis does not use Google Hangout for any recruitment related activities. Any solicitation or request for information related to job applications with Zoetis via any other means and/or utilizing email addresses with any other domain should be disregarded. In addition, Zoetis will never ask candidates to make any type of personal financial investment related to gaining employment with Zoetis.