Scientist, Lead/Senior Fermentation

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About Willow Biosciences 

Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Willow Biosciences is a biotechnology company focused on revolutionizing the industrial manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients and other high-value products traditionally derived from plants. Willow Biosciences has an established integration of cutting-edge basic research and state-of-the-art applied technology development, linking genomics-based plant gene discovery to synthetic biology-enabled microbial strain engineering. Proven success in the development of yeast strains producing pharmaceutical opiates is now being leveraged to establish industry-leading yeast strains engineered to make cannabinoids. Fermentation-based biosynthesis in microbes yields the highest-grade product for industrial and pharmaceutical applications, and provides a distinct value proposition to pharmaceutical partners. It also has the potential for higher product yields at a lower cost compared with extraction and purification from cultivated plants.

Job Listing: Lead/Senior Fermentation Scientist 

We are seeking an experienced Lead/Senior Fermentation Scientist to lead projects developing, optimizing, advancing, and scaling fermentation processes within the company. The successful candidate will have strong molecular biology skills as well as expertise in microbial fermentation (yeast), experimental design, and a deep understanding of scale-up and scale-down processes. The Lead/Senior Fermentation Scientist is responsible for screening microbes to identify those with improved performance at various scales and transferring technologies between Willow and our technology and manufacturing partners. 

Education: PhD in Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Chemistry or a related field. 

Experience: 2+ years of industry experience is required (5+ preferred) and experience in fermentation technology, process development, and scale-up in an industrial research setting is ideal. We prefer candidates who are familiar with a variety of bench scale fermentation units and who have experience working with or alongside small-scale (microtiter plates) and manufacturing scale fermentation processes.

Position: This position is for a highly motivated and experienced individual with a strong desire to work in a fast-paced, collaborative startup environment. Responsibilities will include: the development of a robust and cost effective yeast fermentation process involving optimization, advancement, and scale-up of fermentation processes for a number of different yeast strains in a high-throughput environment. The employee will participate in a rapid Design/Build/Test/Learn cycle with other laboratory scientists to meet company goals/milestones.

Job Description: 

  • Develop and optimize an in-house yeast strain fermentation program;
  • Address critical issues in fermentation. Set and execute the strategic direction for process development; 
  • Work independently and with partners for ongoing troubleshooting and process improvements through novel and creative scientific approaches;
  • Lead teams working on strain characterization and scale-down of fermentation processes for a variety of microbes;
  • Actively participate in fermentation development process to improve robustness, performance, and cost-effectiveness by suggesting and implementing process improvements;
  • Manage Scientists and Research Associates working on a variety of projects and targets;
  • Lead internal and external technology transfer projects.

Required Skills: 

  • Experience working with various microbes, fermentation processes, and product types;
  • Strong understanding of the connection between microbial physiology and process performance; 
  • Familiarity with analytical chemistry/assay methods, automation systems, and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS); 
  • Strong data analysis and statistical skills, including the use of JMP or similar software and control charts to monitor and analyze results;
  • Outstanding team player with strong interpersonal and communication skills (written and verbal); 
  • Experience managing technical staff and working on multiple simultaneous programs;
  • Capable of high-performance work in an independent and team setting; 
  • Attention to detail, good laboratory practice, and maintenance of a high degree of accuracy;
  • Strong desire to grow, learn, and adopt new technologies and techniques for process improvements. 

Physical Demands

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

Position Type: 

  • Full-time position.

Travel: 

  • Yes. Travel to other R&D sites, technology and production partners as needed.

Work Authorization: 

  • Authorized to work in Canada.

Benefits:

  • 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, colour, 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: Calgary, AB Canada
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