SCIENTIST, FERMENTATION - Emeryville, CA | Biospace
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Emeryville, CA
Posted Date:
Position Type:
Full time
Job Code:
Required Education:
Masters Degree
Areas of Expertise Desired:
Fermentation, Scientist,

Job Description

Founded in 2013 and based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zymergen is a technology company using high throughput biology to drive the next industrial revolution. Our method of designing, building, and testing microbes relies on advanced molecular biology tools, robotic automation, and proprietary computational and analytic methods. This capability allows Zymergen to generate novel chemicals, advanced materials, and pharmaceuticals much faster and at lower cost than current approaches. The Company is partnered with a number of Fortune 1000 companies to improve and optimize microbes used in existing production processes, and has seen early commercial success with bookings of more than $100 million and recognizing nearly $10 million in revenue in 2015. In addition, the Company signed a multi-year contract with the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to develop 360 new materials for a wide array of applications. These new materials constitute Zymergen’s products portfolio that the Company expects to commercialize in the coming years.
Zymergen has recently raised $44 million in a Series A round led by Data Collective Venture Capital and with participation from DFJ, Obvious Ventures, True Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures and funds tied to Jerry Yang, Eric Schmidt, and Max Levchin. The Company is currently in rapid expansion, growing from 27 employees at the start of 2015 to around 100 employees, and expected to double by mid-2016. Growing our business requires technical development work: to establish new molecular biology and fermentation techniques, to move existing protocols to robotics workstations, and to create workflows that enable high throughput microbe engineering and evaluation.

Zymergen is hiring a Scientist with experience in fermentation to advance bench-scale and microtiter plate-based fermentation within the company. The Scientist will identify areas of need and address them through developing new technologies or bringing outside technologies into the company.

Immediate responsibilities involve:
•   Scale-down of fermentation processes to microtiter-plate scale for a variety of microbes
•   Strain characterization at bench scale and microtiter-plate scale
•   Working with colleagues in Operations for ongoing troubleshooting and process improvements
•   Improving the quality of measurements made in plates and fermenters
•   Building automated solutions to improve fermentation operations workflows
•   Developing new high throughput plate-based assays to use across a variety of microbes
•   Internal and external technology transfer projects

The Fermentation team at Zymergen is essential for screening microbes in high throughput to identify those with improved performance and transferring technologies between Zymergen and our partner organizations. Scientists must bring creativity and perseverance across a variety of large and small projects that contribute to installing, validating, and improving the equipment and processes used by the operations team. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to shape the scientific environment and establish best practices within a growing company.


We favor candidates with formal training (PhD, MS, or equivalent) in chemical engineering or microbiology and several years of industry experience. We prefer candidates who are familiar with a variety of bench scale fermentation units, and who have experience working with or alongside small scale (microtiter plates) and manufacturing scale fermentation processes. We look for candidates with a track record of developing and running highly accurate and precise fermentation processes for evaluating microbes.
We favor a Scientist with experience in some or all of the following areas:

•   Experience working with a variety of microbes, fermentation processes, and product types
•   Strong understanding of the connection between microbial physiology and process performance
•   Hands-on experience with bench-scale fermentation and/or plate-based culture methods
•   Familiarity with analytical chemistry/assay methods, automation systems, and LIMS
•   Strong data analysis skills, including the use of statistics (JMP or similar software) and control charts to monitor and analyze results