How to Start a Career in De-Extinction

BY Cheryl Noga, Director & Head of Talent Acquisition

How can YOU work in the emerging field of De-Extinction?

It depends on your area of expertise. Colossal is made up of several departments. We have our Species Restoration teams where most of our hands-on scientific research is being done. In Animal Operations we focus on the care of animals, hands-on research, and conservation. Across our corporate and general operations, we have many additional functions including Human Resources, Finance, Laboratory Operations, Project Management, Computational Science, Exogenous Development, Legal, Information Technology, and Marketing. One thing all our groups have in common is a desire to hire people who are inspired by our mission to restore the Earth to a healthier state. 

Species Restoration

Our Species Restoration teams are working to restore iconic species like the Woolly Mammoth, the Dodo, and the Thylacine. This is where the majority of our hiring takes place. These groups are composed of various functional areas including Cell Engineering, Stem Cell Biology, Genome Engineering, and Embryology. We are often looking for motivated research associates and scientists. Our Research Associates usually have a Bachelors or Masters degree with hands-on laboratory experience from either independent academic research or industry jobs. That experience might provide skills such as mammalian cell culture, stem cell work, cloning, embryology, or gene editing. Our Scientist and above positions include Bachelors/Masters with post-graduation experience or recent Ph.D. graduates again with similar skills. The key for our species restoration roles is laboratory research experience that goes beyond coursework only.

Dr. Sven Bocklandt, Species Director, says:
Working at Colossal means being part of something incredible and big. But doing work that no one has done before means solving challenges that no one has seen before. We need problem solvers, outside-of-the-box thinkers, and scientists who can help push the boundaries of what biotech can do!”

Animal Operations

In Animal Operations, we are looking for individuals with a passion for conservation and animal care. We hire for everything from animal care, to conservation, and scientists. 

Stefano Daza Arango, Manager, Conservation Partnerships indicates:
“Our team is composed of experts from a variety of disciplines within the animal sciences and conservation, but the number one quality that we all share is a deep love for animals. This is a must-have trait, and it propels us through the unconventional challenges we encounter daily. For anyone interested in forming a part of our team, I would highly encourage them to prioritize hands-on animal experience – whether in a lab, zoo, or nonprofit – to hone in their skills and learn how to address real-world challenges. Equally important is embracing collaboration. Our team is integrated with all Colossal departments, from the Species Teams to Computational Sciences to Marketing. Finally, remember that while we have the pleasure of working with often adorable animals, it’s not always rainbows and sunshine. Working with animals can be hard, dirty, and unpredictable work. A blend of passion and pragmatism, with the animals’ well being always at the core, is key to being a successful member of the Animal Ops team.”


Our corporate functions such as Human Resources, Finance, Information Technology, Marketing, Project Management, and Legal are a bit smaller. Education and experience needs will vary and roles here open a bit less frequently. 


Amanda Bastawros, VP & Head of Human Resources, shares:
“Colossal is a fast-paced environment that empowers team members to contribute to the success of the company. We are looking for passionate, inquisitive people that are not afraid to roll-up-their sleeves and create solutions to puzzles that have yet to be solved.” 


Across our general operations, we have many varying functions. In Computational Science, we are typically looking for computational biologists with experience in genome analysis, machine learning, and AI. In Exogenous Development, we’re hiring engineers. This can include mechanical engineers, design engineers, device development bioengineers, or controls engineers. In this group, we’re looking for Bachelors/Masters/PhD graduates (or related experience) in biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering and related fields with hands-on research experience beyond classwork. 

Senior Computational Scientist, Leah Brickson, in Kenya

Working at Colossal means that you’re always learning. In this immensely interdisciplinary work, we look for people with strong technical skills in their respective fields, but also the willingness to jump into new concepts, skill sets and fields with the ability to hit the ground running fast,” shares Dr. Leah Brickson, Senior Computational Scientist. 

Whether you are seeking work in the laboratory, in the field, or in the office, working in de-extinction at Colossal requires a passion for the work and a commitment to the company’s mission.

 “I really look for that sparkle in people’s eyes for the job,” Co-founder & CEO, Ben Lamm, explains in this Inc Article, adding that, “you can always teach a skill, but that passion and drive is the thing that I value most when interviewing people.” 

About Cheryl Noga

Cheryl is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of talent acquisition expertise within the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Muhlenberg College and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification. She is currently the Director, Head of Talent Acquisition for Colossal Biosciences and is passionate about creating incredible experiences for candidates interviewing with Colossal. In her spare time, she practices martial arts. She is a 1st degree mixed martial arts black belt and a certified instructor.