Get Our FREE Industry eNewsletter



Emeryville, CA
Posted Date:
Position Type:
Full time
Job Code:
Required Education:
Bachelors Degree
Areas of Expertise Desired:
Associate, Fermentation, Research,

Job Description

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zymergen is a technology-driven company applying radical new methods to design and improve microbes by rewriting their DNA. This capability allows us to generate novel chemicals, advanced materials, and pharmaceuticals far faster and at lower costs than competing technology. Our approach combines biology, robotic automation, and proprietary computational and analytic methods to industrialize what is otherwise a slow, risky process.

Currently, we are working with large industrial partners helping them improve their existing production microbes. We are in contract and advanced discussions with a variety of Fortune 100 companies. Over time we expect to develop a large portfolio of our own products, ranging from drop-in replacements for existing chemicals to advanced materials to life-saving therapeutics – all generated from green, renewable raw materials.

Growing our business requires technical development work: to establish new molecular biological techniques, to move existing protocols to robotics workstations, and to create workflows that enable high throughput microbe engineering and evaluation.

Zymergen is hiring several Research Associates to drive bench-scale fermentation within the company. Immediate responsibilities include:
•   Weekly setup, running, and tear down of a bank of fermentors, including work in off hours
•   Prepare media and clean and sterilize equipment
•   Maintain and repair the fermentation systems and the supporting infrastructure as needed
•   Process samples in plate-based and HPLC assays in collaboration with the analytical chemistry team
•   Work with data capture systems to store data and metadata about the experiments
•   Use data analysis tools to understand process variations and manage process controls, and to identify microbes with improved performance
•   Collaborate with the microtiter plate based screening team to form the high throughput microbe screening pipeline
•   Collaborate with outside partners on transfer of technology between facilities
The fermentation capacity within the company is integral both for screening microbes in high throughput to identify those with improved performance as well as for transferring technologies between Zymergen and our partner organizations. We need members of our fermentation department to bring creativity and perseverance across a variety of large and small projects including installing equipment and establishing scalable processes. In addition, the Associate will be part of the foundational technical team and will have the opportunity to shape the scientific environment and establish best practices within a growing company.


We are hiring candidates with a range of experience levels from junior to mid and senior scientists, along with a mix of backgrounds from engineering to microbiology. We favor candidates with a degree and experience in relevant fields (chemical engineering, bioengineering, microbiology, biochemistry), and with a history of success within an industrial setting.
We prefer Associates with experience in some or all of the following areas.

Equipment and SOP development:
•   Familiarity with a variety of bench scale fermentation units including those from Sartorius, DASGIP, Applikon and New Brunswick (Eppendorf)
•   Experience installing the physical infrastructure and establishing the support processes required to build out a fermentation capability
•   Understanding the basics of statistics including JMP, and the use of manufacturing practices such as control charts, Lean, and 5S
•   Expertise writing and validating SOPs for fermentation and fermentation-related processes
Chemical engineering and microbiology:
•   Experience with a variety of microbes (bacteria, yeasts, filamentous fungi), a variety of fermentation processes (aerobic, microaerobic, and anaerobic), and a variety fermentation products (proteins, small molecules)
•   Familiarity breaking down processes and equipment to identify sources of contamination or variation
•   Attention to detail to execute complex fermentation processes with minimal deviations
•   Understanding of associated processes like analytical chemistry, microtiter plate-based growth and production, lab support services, LIMS, etc.
Previous experience in the field of synthetic biology is not essential.
Our facilities are located in the San Francisco Bay Area.