Farmers can lose the majority of their crops without pest control. At the same time, there are concerns with 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.
A fermentation and bioprocessing scientist/engineer is needed to optimize fermentation of nematodes and downstream processing for small molecule production. It includes transitioning from shaker flasks to bioreactors and scaling up the production to pilot.
You will provide detailed observations of experiments, record data, analyze the results, identify deviations with experiments, and seek appropriate advice to resolve. You must be able to operate lab and pilot fermentation equipment independently, including operational support for fermentation over weekends. You must be capable of preparing media, buffers, and solutions for fermentations at 1L and 300+L scale and perform routine procedures.
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.
Primary Job Responsibilities/Duties
- Maintain a high standard of lab safety culture and design for safe operations
- Develop new or improve existing fermentation process by employing knowledge of bioreactor design, reviewing journal articles or other related strategies.
- Perform small scale (microtiter plate, tube and shake flask) studies to screen for different process parameters and media components.
- Setup, operate and monitor fermentation processes ranging from 1 to 300 L and also operate associated sensors and lab equipment.
- Develop strategies to improve the overall reliability and productivity of fermentation processes.
- Collaborate with R&D, QC and production teams for day-to-day operations and product needs.
- Independently select techniques and procedures to solve problems within area of responsibility.
- Develop, evaluate and implement detailed experimental projects within area of responsibility.
- Draw conclusions, present project results and make technical recommendations to the team
- Handle and protect confidential and sensitive data with integrity.
- Perform related work and other duties, as assigned
- Implement strong communication skills across multi-disciplinary teams
- Write and maintain data, analysis, and reports of your projects and standard operating procedures
- Hands-on experience with benchtop bioreactors operation, maintenance, and related control software such as Eppendorf, Sartorius, Applikon or similar systems is a must.
- Highly knowledgeable and hands-on experience with fermentation designs, concepts, principles, and operations
- Experience in developing fermentation processes including batch, fed batch and continuous fermentation and knowledge in high-throughput fermentation screening
- Experience with media and process optimization to improve fermentation titers
- Proven experience independently designing and troubleshooting fermentation experiments.
- Experience with bacteria (nematodes is a plus) and standard microbiology techniques and principles.
- Experience in batch control and QA/QC
- Proficient in aseptic techniques (BSL1 and BSL2) for microbial growth as well as testing
- Experience with process scale up is a must
- Expert in standard microbiological methods including media and plating, serial dilution, viable cell counting, microbial screening, microbial enumeration, staining etc
- Effective organization, communication, and leadership skills
- Ability to adjust to dynamic environment of startups and willingness to assist other departments
Ph.D in Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Bioengineering or in Microbiology, Bioprocess development, Biotechnology or related field, with 0-2 years of relevant industrial hands-on experience
Good to have Skills
- Previous experience working in a startup, agricultural business is a plus but not required
- Experience with working with soil microbes- or nematode-based process development
- Extensive experience in molecular biological techniques or analytical chemistry techniques is a plus
- 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
- Employment is subject to a criminal background check.
- Must be willing to work with biohazardous agents (up to BSL2).
- Work requires sufficient hand, arm, and finger dexterity to operate computer keyboard and office equipment. Laboratory operations require dexterity and care to perform studies as required.
- The R&D laboratory will result in exposure to hot and cold temperatures, noise, fumes, limited dust, and oily coolants.
- Requires walking, climbing stairs, bending, and occasional lifting of material up to fifty (50) pounds.
- The performance of this position will present exposure to an industrial environment and requires support and compliance with the published Company PPE policy, including but not limited to the use of personal protective equipment such as safety glasses with side shields, appropriate attire, safety shoes, hard hat, hearing protection, etc.
- 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.
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.
This position is based in Berkeley, CA, and Woodland, CA.