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Director of Strain Development

Employer
ZymoChem, Inc.
Location
San Leandro, CA
Start date
Aug 9, 2022
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 About ZymoChem

ZymoChem is re-imagining how to make some of our favorite everyday products without polluting the planet. Motivated by the enormous carbon footprint and vast amount of trash from the fossil-based materials produced by century-old technologies of the ‘traditional’ chemicals industry, ZymoChem’s mission is to create plant-based, hero materials that enable a sustainable future. We are realizing this vision by pioneering low-cost fermentation-based production of chemicals coupled with advanced materials development technologies. 

ZymoChem has raised >$20 million to-date that includes funding from premier domestic & international venture capital firms, multiple government awards – most recently two ARPA-E awards – and partnerships with world-leading chemicals companies. Tripling in team size in since mid-2021, we are still growing and filling multiple roles (www.zymochem.com/careers). We seek candidates who are motivated by science & innovation and have a passion to push the boundaries of materials performance. We are collaborative, multidisciplinary, and relentlessly committed to creating a chemicals & materials industry in tune with the 21st century. If this sounds exciting, we want to hear from you. 

The Opportunity

ZymoChem is hiring a Director of Strain Development to spearhead the commercialization of the company’s proprietary carbon conserving microbial platform technology. This role is a career-defining leadership opportunity at the intersection of host construction, enzyme engineering, strain optimization, automation, and data analytics. The individual will oversee the company’s strain design & characterization, automation, and systems biology efforts, serving as the primary contact for a team consisting of 5-10 researchers. The individual will also routinely collaborate with researchers in strain & plasmid construction, enzyme development, fermentation, and analytics. Through the breadth of responsibilities, the individual will gain diverse experience with building teams, establishing core competencies, and managing multidisciplinary projects. The ideal candidate will have an educational background in (bio)chemical engineering, (bio)chemistry, molecular biology, or similar, along with proven success managing or extensively working with collaborating R&D groups. A candidate with a broad professional network with industry leaders and collaborative organizations is desired.

In this cross-functional leadership role, the Director of Strain Development will expand their expertise with cutting-edge strain & metabolic engineering technologies, building out & implementing automated workflows, and harnessing data acquisition & analytics platforms. Opportunities will include shaping the company’s R&D architecture by establishing integrated workflows and solutions, building out the company’s core competencies by introducing new technologies, identifying technology bottlenecks plus driving for their resolution, and expanding the company’s IP strategy and adding to its IP portfolio. The individual will also gain exposure to bioprocess development and scale-up by routinely interfacing with the company’s fermentation and downstream processing groups as well as external organizations focused on scale-up.

An additional potential opportunity for the Director of Strain Development will be that of program lead – overseeing product-specific projects along with guiding & mentoring the research team. The individual will have opportunities to hone their skills with the timely planning & high-quality execution of KPIs, and also managing functionally integrated project timelines, work plans, interdependencies, and budgets. The ideal candidate will be well-versed with project management tools and processes for long-term planning in addition to establishing viable R&D strategies to accomplish quarterly & yearly goals. The role will also involve conducting project meetings and facilitating efficient decision making to meet project and business-related goals.

Serving as the intersection amongst the company’s other R&D groups, company management, and external collaborators, the Director of Strain Development will be an expert in meeting management, communication, and reporting. The individual will be proficient with cross-functional communication amongst different technical groups; summarizing complex technical information from several disciplinaries (biology, chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering, business development) into simple concepts; and efficiently summarizing project milestones, KPIs, and status of upcoming deadlines to company management & external parties.


Qualifications

    PhD or MS in (Bio)chemical Engineering, (Bio)chemistry, Molecular Biology or a related discipline A minimum of 7 years industry experience covering several facets of metabolic engineering and strain optimization is required, including at least 3 years managing scientists and research associatesExperience in independently managing teams and projects, with a comprehensive understanding of the various stages of R&D and their unique needs Strongly prefer candidates who have either led or been an integral part of R&D teams that successfully reached targeted metrics through the design, construction, and testing of strains and biosynthetic pathways toward small molecule productionExperience working with the engineering of bacterial fermentation processes from bench to larger scales is highly preferred; expertise with E. coli and/or other industrially relevant microorganisms is a plus. Adaptable, self-motivated, and curious systems thinker that is excited to build teams and infrastructure at a fast-growing company.

Full-time opportunities at ZymoChem come with: 

    Competitive benefits package that includes medical, dental, and vision employee coverage, along with stock optionsOptional benefits including dependent coverage, FSA, HSA, commuter, and supplemental life insuranceFlexible time off policy with 15 days PTO and 10 paid company holidays per year.

The company is headquartered in the east bay area of California, with its R&D facility located in San Leandro, CA.

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