Principal Scientist, Strain Development

San Leandro, CA
Full Time


About ZymoChem


ZymoChem is breakthrough science for a fossil-free future.  We accelerate the transition to a real-zero economy by developing bio-based materials for everyday products.  Our platform is powered by proprietary carbon conserving (C2) microbes that convert renewable feedstocks into high-value materials while radically minimizing CO2 loss during the production phase.  


ZymoChem recently closed a $21 million Series A round of fundraising to support the launch of our first high-performance material and to advance our first partnered product to commercial scale.  In addition to this funding from premier domestic & international venture capital firms, we are also supported by existing revenues from commercial partnerships with world-leading companies and funding from multiple government awards, including a 2023 $4MM grant from the Department of Energy. 

With a plan to double our team in 2024-25, 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, and products industry in tune with the 21st century. 

Our Mission: To catalyze a real-zero economy with drop-in, bio-based solutions.

Our Vision: To live in a world in which the goods we depend on every day are bio-manufactured from 100% renewable materials and designed for a sustainable economy - without compromise.

Our Values: Lead with Compassion, Aspire Collectively, Evolve Continuously, Innovate with Impact, Scale Sustainably


Position Summary


The Principal Scientist, Strain Development leads efforts to design, develop, characterize, and optimize new strains for generating bio-based materials at different stages of product development. An ideal candidate would be someone with in-depth experience and passion for designing experiments that encompass complex strategies involving strain design, biosynthetic pathway optimization, enzyme development, and fermentation science. The role will routinely coordinate with the Biology and Fermentation teams to identify strains for continued development, CROs for external R&D collaborations, and CMOs for pilot-level scale-up endeavors. The Principal Scientist, Strain Development will also have an opportunity to build out & expand the Strain Development Group’s capabilities with state-of-the-art technologies as well as to collaborate with other internal R&D groups and the company’s external partners.



  • Leads the design, testing, and characterization of experiments and assays to optimize pathways for achieving targeted titer, rate, and yield metrics of small molecule products. 
  • Owns technical expertise for method development & consistent implementation of strain screening, characterization, and bioprocess development
  • Acts as the point of contact for the design of experiments for the Strain Development team and other cross-functional R&D teams in the company.
  • Prepares, analyzes, and interprets data and clearly documents and maintains laboratory notebooks and computer documentation to collaborate with other R&D teams and management.
  • Develops and troubleshoots technical projects, workflows, methods, and activities (such as reagents, samples, standards, and chemical solutions) for ongoing improvement in performance, efficiencies, and adaptation.
  • Presents and conveys complex problems, results, and ideas in group and project meetings or with other internal and external stakeholders. 
  • Coordinates with external collaborators, partners, and vendors to ensure smooth workflow between all stakeholders. 
  • Supports/Advises molecular and synthetic biology workflows associated with plasmid construction, strain construction, enzymes characterization efforts. 
  • Constructs and validates high-throughput, plate-based strain culture workflows for screening/characterization purposes and bioprocess development; experience applying cutting-edge technologies & strategies to accelerate scale-up efforts from plates to flasks to bioreactors is a plus
  • Researches, comprehends, and summarizes relevant scientific literature to support work, contribute to the optimization of projects, and explore new technologies or strategies for improvement.
  • Supports the team and leadership for projects/publications/ patents.
  • May mentor or train other personnel.
  • Work in accordance with health and safety guidelines and company policies.  
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Requires Ph.D. in (Bio)chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Bioengineering, or a related field. 
  • Minimum of 10+ years of relevant experience in strain development; in-depth understanding of metabolic pathways, working with engineering of bacteria, hands-on experience with building metmodels  
  • Experience with owning and implementing design of experiment (DoE) methods for strain screening/characterization and bioprocess development
  • Previous experience working in a fast-paced or biotech startup environment would be beneficial. 
  • Demonstrated success working both individually and cross-disciplinary to balance multiple independent experiments and projects; previous mentoring experience is a plus.
  • Effective multitasking and prioritization skills and an adept ability to improvise work plans while maintaining efficiency
  • Rigorous attention to detail with experimental design, execution, noise/variability, reproducibility, and record keeping; and strong computer skills (Google Suite, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project, etc.)
  • Proficient in the writing of protocols and in providing internal presentations.
  • Ability to exercise judgment within specifically defined practices and procedures; guided decision-making.
  • Ability to incorporate safety concepts in processes and equipment design.
  • Must be able to move up to 25 pounds and move around the lab facility between multiple locations.

Culture and Benefits

ZymoChem offers full-time employees a competitive base salary, a comprehensive benefits package, and a company culture that’s collaborative, multidisciplinary, and committed to a big vision for positively impacting the world. We seek candidates who are motivated by our mission and are equally passionate toward pushing the boundaries to build a sustainable future. Located in the vibrant East Bay area of San Francisco, our headquarters are housed at Gate 510, a state-of-the-facility with many in-house and nearby amenities.


Full-time opportunities at ZymoChem come with: 

  • Competitive salary range of $165,000 - $205,000 depending on experience.
  • Comprehensive benefits package includes company stock options, 401(k) retirement plan (includes a corporate match), medical, dental, and vision healthcare coverage, and life and long-term disability insurance.
  • Additional benefits include FSA, commuter, and supplemental life insurance.
  • Flexible time off policy with 18 days Paid Time Off (PTO) per year and 10 paid company holidays per year.
  • Relocation assistance may be agreed upon as well.

If this opportunity sounds exciting and aligns with your career aspirations, we want to hear from you!  Please send your resume/CV and a cover letter through our website job posting.


Legal authorization to work in the United States is required. ZymoChem may agree to sponsor an individual for an employment visa immediately or in the future if there is a shortage of individuals with particular skills for this job.  In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification form upon hire.


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