Scientist, Strain Engineering

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About Willow Biosciences

Our multidisciplinary team of world-leading discovery biologists, biochemists and geneticists is dedicated to harnessing the therapeutic potential of plants. We have developed the only fully-integrated synthetic biology solution for opioid biosynthesis and are now leveraging our unique design-build process and our proven track record to the biosynthesis of cannabinoids. 

Job Listing: Scientist/Strain Engineer

We are seeking an experienced Scientist/Strain Engineer to apply rational approaches for metabolic engineering of biosynthetic pathways in microorganisms, particularly yeast. The successful candidate will have strong molecular biology skills, and practical experience using synthetic DNA and gene-editing toolsto create and clone diverse DNA libraries.

Education: PhD in genetics, molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, chemical engineering or a related field.

Experience:2+ years’ demonstrated experience in strain/metabolic engineering of eukaryotic microorganisms and high throughput DNA library construction techniques in an industrial research setting (Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, or Life Sciences Industries). Specific experience in gene editing technologies (e.g., CRISPR) and working in a high-throughput environment strongly preferred.

Position: This position is for a highly motivated and experienced individual with a strong desire to work in a fast-paced, collaborative startup environment. This individual will work on the identification and engineering of bottleneck enzymes in microbial metabolic pathways as well as contribute to the design and advancement of enzyme engineering technologies. Responsibilities will include: identification of gene targets; single and multi-gene (pathway) library design and construction for high throughput (HTP) screening experiments; recommendation of improved variants for subsequent rounds of evolution; participation in a rapid “Design/Build/Test/Learn” cycle with other lab scientists to meet company goals/milestones.

Job Description:                    

  • Design of single-gene and combinatorial libraries for strain improvement (using bioinformatics tools)
  • Establish protocols for building/cloning multi-gene DNA assemblies/libraries in yeast
  • Establish protocols for high efficiency transformation of libraries into expression host microbes (yeast)
  • Develop automation platforms using high throughput workflows to increase experimental throughput
  • Apply a broad range of analytical methods including PCR, DNA electrophoresis, spectrophotometry, and other plate based assays to QC and test strains with other scientists
  • Take an active role in sequence/activity data analysisand offer strategic recommendations based on interpretation of data for subsequent strain engineering decisions.
  • Maintain timely documentation of laboratory work
  • Provide written documentation and specifications of strain engineering workflows (SOP’s)
  • Effectively communicate/present work and analysis to audiences with diverse technical backgrounds
  • Mentor Research Associates
  • Work in partnership withother scientists (computational biologists, analytical and fermentation scientists)to identify, develop, and apply new synthetic biology & genome engineering tools to meet company goals/milestones.

Required Skills:

  • Outstanding team player with strong interpersonal and communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Capable of high performance in independent work as well as in team setting.
  • A strong desire to grow as a scientific researcher, learn new techniques and adopt new technologies for process improvements.
  • Attention to detail,good laboratory practiceand maintenance of a high degree of accuracy while working in high throughput.
  • Experience working with LIMS
  • Proficiency with MS Office suite

Physical Demands:

  • Remaining in a seated or standing position for extended periods
  • Performing repetitive tasks with hands, fingers, and wrists
  • Use of standard lab PPE (lab coats, safety glasses and gloves)

Position Type:

  • Full-time position


  • No

Work Authorization:

  • Authorized to work in the US


  • Healthcare Benefits – medical, vision, dental
  • Vacation + Paid Holidays
  • Life / AD&D, Short-term and Long-term Disability Insurance

Equal Opportunity Employment:

  • Willow Biosciences is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.  We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or any other applicable legally protected characteristics.  All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need.
Location: Mountain View, CA
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