Pheronym Chemical Biology Research Associate Woodland, CA · Full time

Chemical biologist


Create the future of agriculture!

Farmers can lose the majority of their crops without pest control. At the same time, there are concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of traditional chemical controls. These concerns have led to regulation and outright bans on specific pesticides around the globe. Farmers and society demand climate- and eco-friendly alternatives to control pests.

Our company, Pheronym, turned to nature to win the battle against pests. We chose pheromones, communication signals, to protect our crops. Pheronym uses nematode pheromones to control agricultural pests, providing climate-friendly alternatives to soil fumigants and improving soil health. In other words, Pheronym enables farmers to control pests in the soil using climate- and eco-friendly solutions.

As an early member, you will have a meaningful influence on the culture and growth of Pheronym. Furthermore, you’ll have incredible opportunities to research new technology and transform concepts and strategies into structured projects and make key technical decisions.


  • Candidates are expected to establish laboratory procedures and lead and design experimental projects to tackle key questions in manufacturing and scaling nematode pheromone production via fermentation methods in shaker flasks and bioreactors.
  • Specific projects include working with partners to scale pheromone production in fermenters. Later, set up, operate, and monitor fermentation processes ranging from 1 to 10 L and operate associated sensors and lab equipment. Conduct small (microtiter plate, tube, and shake flask) and medium-scale nematode fermentation in shaker flask and meet customer deadlines; recognize and resolve problems while maintaining a high level of organization. Require working with insects, nematodes, bacteria, behavior bioassays, and nematode pheromones.
  • Make recommendations on experimental design and research direction 
  • Independently conduct complex (lab or field) experiments to gather data for a portion of a major research project
  • Interpret and analyze results, often where few guidelines exist, and make modifications to existing procedures and protocols
  • Develop new research protocols where appropriate protocols are not described in the literature or where modifying or adapting standard procedures and protocols is required
  • Participate in multidisciplinary teams across different partners (Corporate, University, USDA)
  • Perform ongoing literature review to remain current with new procedures and related research; apply to ongoing research and development of new protocols
  • Oversee supply and equipment budget under the supervision of the management team
  • Follow the Berkeley lab health and safety department guides to ensure the lab complies with regulations and all required training; serve as the laboratory safety officer to ensure safe work practices as dictated by Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) guidelines; develop and update the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and protocols
  • Maintain a high standard of lab safety culture and design for safe operations
  • The employee must perform tasks that require personal protective equipment, such as protective clothing, gloves, safety glasses, and closed-toe shoes.
  • Supervise (formally or informally) staff, trainees, or students as needed, including oversight and direction on techniques and consultation on project work.
  • Serve as a technical resource for other research staff
  • Oversee the daily activities of the laboratory, including lab maintenance; maintain lab stock, manage chemical inventory and safety records, and provide general lab support as needed. May assist with purchasing laboratory equipment
  • Willingness and ability to use microscopes.
  • Occasionally sit, kneel, crawl, reach, and work above shoulders, sort and file paperwork or parts.
  • Handle and protect confidential and sensitive data with integrity.
  • Other duties may also be assigned.


  • The candidate should have experience with cell biology and biochemistry techniques, and ideally also chemical ecology; a high level of initiative and motivation; ability to work independently and with a team; excellent communication, organization, project management, and time management skills; creative thinking and passion for science.
  • Experience in project management
  • Demonstrated knowledge of laboratory techniques, experience preparing scientific reagents, and experience with standard laboratory equipment. 
  • Proven ability in standard microbiological methods, including media and plating, serial dilution, viable cell counting, microbial screening, microbial enumeration, staining, etc., 
  • Proficient in aseptic techniques (BSL1 and BSL2) for microbial growth and testing.
  • Experience in pheromone-regulated behavior and behavioral assays.
  • Comprehensive understanding of scientific principles and Critical thinking - using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Excellent organizational skills, including the ability to keep clear and accurate records, organize a varied workload, follow written and oral protocols, and give oral presentations on the progress of research in lab meetings
  • Able to work independently and meet deadlines; recognize and resolve problems while maintaining a high level of organization
  • Ability to adjust to the dynamic environment of startups and willingness to assist other collaboration partners, students, and trainees.
  • A strong desire to work as part of a collaborative team with defined project timelines
  • Effective organization, leadership, and communication skills - speaking, reading, writing, and listening
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills to interact well with others to facilitate communication about lab requirements, including the ability to discuss and understand day-to-day laboratory affairs, research plans, results, and ideas with the supervisor and other lab personnel in a constructive, professional, and pleasant manner
  • Time management – the ability to use one's own time and the time of others, energy, resources, etc. in an effective manner and a proven ability to prioritize and schedule experiments and duties to maximize efficiency
  • Proven ability to develop, follow and troubleshoot established lab protocols and procedures 
  • Familiarity with Apple and PC computers and associated word processing and spreadsheet software with a willingness and ability to update and increase skills and knowledge as needed
  • Proven knowledge of MSDSs (Material Data Safety Sheets) and the hazard communication and Injury and Illness and Prevention Program (IIPP)
  • Willing and able to work a flexible schedule, including occasional overtime during evenings and weekends
  • The incumbent must be willing and able to work with insects, nematodes, and other microorganisms.
  • Must have good eyesight (normal or corrected), the ability to distinguish colors, and the dexterity to perform research duties
  • Must be willing and able to work safely with hazardous materials
  • Excellent general mathematical ability, knowledge in computing rate, ratio, and percent, drawing and interpreting bar graphs, and arithmetic skills - using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Demonstrated training ability - teaching and guiding others on how to complete a process from beginning to end.
  • Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods of time; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); strong manual dexterity, dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example, using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about workspace for up to eight hours and ability to lift, carry, push and pull objects weighing over 50 pounds, position may require repetitive motion.
  • Familiar with federal guidelines for Good Laboratory Practices for the humane use of animals

Educational qualifications

  • Ph.D. with 0-2 years of relevant industrial hands-on experience, B.S. with 2-4 years of hands-on experience in Biochemistry, Molecular biology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Bioengineering or in Microbiology, Bioprocess development, Biotechnology, or related field.

Good to have Skills 

  • Previous experience working in a startup agricultural business 
  • Experience working with soil microbes- or nematode-based process development 
  • Extensive experience in molecular biological/biochemistry techniques or analytical chemistry techniques 


  • A 401k plan with company match
  • Gold-level health insurance for you and your dependents through Kaiser (company pays 80-100% of premiums for employees and dependents, based on plan selection)
  • Dental and vision coverage
  • Life insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Commuter benefit

Pheronym is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran, or disability status.

You’ll take leadership in developing technological advancements and the design of the product and process. Take the next step and join us in this innovative, solutions-oriented environment.

This position is based in Woodland, CA. 


$63,000 - $93,000 per year