Pluton Biosciences, Inc. Director of Research Saint Louis, MO · Full time

The Director of Research will lead Pluton's Discovery and Proof of Concept research teams.


Pluton Biosciences is an AgTech and ClimateTech start-up leveraging microbes to drive agriculture carbon-negative while combating climate change. We are seeking a Director of Research to join our team in St. Louis to lead our research team. Reporting to the Chief Science Officer and working alongside plant biologists, microbiologists, molecular biologists, and data scientists, the Director of Research will lead Pluton’s Discovery and Proof of Concept teams. In addition to broad technical expertise, the Director of Research will be a skilled communicator and leader, thriving in multidisciplinary groups, and showing confidence in presenting their teams’ findings to internal and external stakeholders. This position will be performed in-person at our laboratory in St. Louis, MO. To be considered for this position, please submit both a cover letter and resume.


  • Oversee all aspects of research and development within Pluton.
  • Participate as a member of the Leadership Team.
  • Help develop long-term R&D, Intellectual Property, and Product Concept strategies.
  • Engage with external partners to progress R&D projects.
  • Design and manage technical workflows that support key R&D deliverables with internal stakeholders and external third-party vendors.
  • Perform deep assessments of emerging trends, new technologies, assays, and devices to identify synergies with our processes and competitive landscape.
  • Propose and direct multidisciplinary special projects to broaden Pluton’s IP and commercial position.
  • Develop and validate analytical methods for determination of different chemical entities and their properties.
  • Write and present reports of findings to internal and external stakeholders, including attending scientific conferences.
  • Manage R&D costs and expenditures within budget.
  • Support hiring, managing, and mentoring scientific team members.
  • At all times, promote safety, quality, and GLP.

Required Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Microbiology, Plant Biology, Molecular Biology, or closely related scientific field.
  • 10+ years leading research teams in the agriculture industry.
  • Demonstrated expertise and comfort with pioneering new methodologies.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, emotional intelligence, and an ability to work across our organization and with partner institutions.
  • Excellent management and mentorship skills, including clearly demonstrated experience in training and mentoring junior and peer scientists.
  • Entrepreneurial mindset: motivated to deliver results while maintaining the flexibility needed to solve problems in a startup.
  • Possesses strong initiative, ability to identify issues, create solutions, and act decisively.
  • Possesses strong analytical skills, with an ability to develop fact-based and informed opinions.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working on agricultural microbiological products.
  • Experience with long and short read library preparation protocols.
  • Track record of scientific publications and patents.
  • Experience with DNA/RNA extraction and PCR.
  • Experience in startup environment.

Workplace fit:

Our ideal candidate

  • Is enthusiastic about working in a dynamic startup environment that requires confidence and decision-making with an interdisciplinary team.
  • Is passionate about learning, spearheading new initiatives, and facilitating rapid career growth for their team.
  • Engages meaningfully with our core values: Integrity, Authenticity, Humility, Respect, Collaboration, and Community.
  • Displays daily scientific curiosity and learning to expand beyond what’s known into what’s next.
  • Has experience leading teams in a matrix environment.
  • Confidently leads, executes projects and initiatives to achieve goals.


Pluton’s team values community and collaboration. When you join Pluton, you are part of a group that works together to realize our big goals. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned expert, you’ll learn about and discuss work from across the company and contribute to solving some of the planet’s biggest problems.


Pluton offers a competitive benefits package including:

·      Medical, dental, vision and life insurance

·      401k with match

·      Paid time off

·      Paid company holidays

·      Paid parental leave


Diversity, equity, and inclusion are cornerstones to achieving Pluton’s mission and objectives. We strive to build and nurture a culture where diversity is valued for the perspectives gained, where everyone can expect equitable treatment, and where inclusiveness is a norm. Women and individuals from underrepresented groups often do not apply to positions where they do not meet all criteria. If this position interests you, we encourage you to apply and let us know where your strengths fit with our team; you may be just the person we are looking for.


$115,000 - $150,000 per year