Cultural or Medical Anthropologist

Variant Bio | Seattle, WA

About Job

Variant Bio is a Seattle-based biotech company entering a rapid growth stage having recently closed a $100mm+ Series B. The company was started because we believe that human genetics has the power to transform drug development. We are working towards developing therapies to improve global health by studying the genes of people who are outliers for medically relevant traits. To facilitate this, we have built proprietary genomics and phenotyping platforms that allow us to dramatically reduce the cost of genomic studies and identify genetically-validated targets for therapeutic development.

All of our studies are co-designed with local partners: community groups, academics, and hospitals around the world, and we built Variant Bio from the ground up with ethics at its foundation. We recognize the contribution of our partners through an industry leading benefit-sharing program that dedicates 4% of our revenue and equity value to support local healthcare, sustainable development, education, research, and capacity-building initiatives.

Variant Bio is an equal opportunity employer that guarantees a work environment that respects and values diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

Job Description

We are looking for a Cultural or Medical Anthropologist to join our Partnerships team (preferred location in Seattle but remote will be considered for the ideal candidate) and work closely with our Lead Cultural Anthropologist to build out and refine a scalable approach to our community engagement and benefit sharing programs. These programs will apply to the bulk of Variant Bio’s projects and will be co-developed with our Partnerships Team and our Ethics Advisory Board. 

The ideal candidate has training in cultural anthropology and experience working as an applied anthropologist either in the public or private sectors. Experience with Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), fieldwork “from afar,” and a good understanding of the ethical and social implications of carrying out genetic studies, especially among underrepresented communities around the world, are all pluses. We encourage candidates who are passionate about increasing the inclusion of underrepresented populations in genomic research to apply, as this is a core mission of Variant Bio. 


  • Build and refine Variant Bio’s community engagement and benefit sharing programs.
  • Work closely with population geneticists, epidemiologists, project coordinators, and external global partners  to implement community engagement and benefit sharing in our genetic research programs.
  • Develop strategies for identifying and vetting potential recipients of our benefit sharing program in locations around the world.
  • Assist in coordinating community engagement strategy across projects/geographies.
  • Drive the process of establishing a network of experts with local fieldwork experience across geographies.
  • Initiate collaborations around the world for human subjects studies, partnering with academic researchers, hospitals, biobanks, and local communities.
  • Establish and cultivate relationships with research partners and partner communities.
  • Help identify underrepresented populations with unique genetic architectures or phenotypes in areas of unmet medical need. 
  • Create materials/presentations for both internal and external use.
  • Remain current with standards and trends in research ethics, CBPR, and fieldwork “from afar.”


  • MA or equivalent in cultural or medical anthropology or a related field and experience as an applied anthropologist are strongly preferred. 
  • Experience in cross-cultural research (ideally with underrepresented communities) as demonstrated by a proven record of ethnographic fieldwork overseas and/or leading international projects.
  • Experience with CBPR or fieldwork “from afar” are of particular interest.
  • Working knowledge of the ethical and social implications of carrying out genetic studies around the world.
  • Ability to work both independently and in teams as well as collaborate with external parties.
  • Domain knowledge in healthcare, biology, or genetics is a plus.
  • Highly motivated individual with an ability to thrive in ambiguous and fast-paced dynamic environments.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.