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Positions: R&D engineer: Assay, biochemistry, or optics positions available
Location: Palo Alto, CA to San Carlos, CA
Innovation Area: Energy, Food, and Water Nexus; Energy Management and Efficiency
Position Type: TomKat Center-supported
Compensation: $7500 
Internship Term: 8 weeks

Apply Here

Pumpkinseed is powering the phenomics revolution with the “human chip” - a CMOS-compatible platform for dynamic, quantitative detection of millions of biomarkers in human and environmental samples.  We strive to provide customers with a complete picture of health - including genetic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic profiles.  Our platform offers 1000x higher plexing, 100x speed, and 10x lower cost than existing technologies, and the ability to monitor biomarkers in their native state. Pumpkinseed can therefore provide a scalable solution to monitor phenomic markers as their presence and concentration change with time. Beyond our first-in-kind hardware, our multi-omic dataset promises to drive the discovery of novel disease pathways and treatment solutions spanning personal and planetary health. 

Current omic technologies generally face tradeoffs between multiplexing, speed, and ability to measure biomarkers in their native state. While at Stanford, the founders developed "high quality factor (high-Q) metasurfaces" - nanostructured Si chips that amplify light while controlling the direction of its transmission - to overcome this limitation. This platform can be applied to amplification-free, dynamic detection of nucleic acids, proteins, and metabolites, with high sensitivity spanning femtoMolar to microMolar concentrations. 

The team has on-going collaborations spanning Stanford Clinical Virology, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Google, HCA Healthcare, Phenome Health, and Applied Materials. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing featured our chip patent in its 50th year anniversary report, and Pumpkinseed is now supported by venture funds, including the investors that backed SpaceX, Tesla, and Mammoth.


  • prepare chips for analysis of proteins and metabolites 
  • collect optical spectra of biomarkers and catalog their spectra 
  • develop software algorithms/pipelines for data analytics and ML
  • advance the design of our compact optical setup for chip-based biomolecule spectroscopy 
  • establish workflows for real-world sample handling (samples range from animal plasma/serum to environmental samples like ocean/river water)

Who Should Apply

We welcome applicants at any stage in their career who are passionate about health and environmental sustainability, enthusiastic to work on a multidisciplinary project and team, and eager to learn new skills. The intern will be joining a small but vibrant team and will have the opportunity to help define the company culture.

Required Expertise

  • Familiarity with optical spectroscopy and microscopy
  • Familiarity with Matlab or Python
  • Familiarity with basic biochemistry a plus, but not required

Preferred Skills/Majors

We welcome any STEM major. Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Applied Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Biophysics, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering would provide a good foundation.