Analytical Chemist

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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: Analytical Chemist  

We are seeking an analytical chemist experienced in the operation of MS-based platforms for the analyses of small metabolites, preferably with knowledge regarding LC-MS platforms. The position will involve routine instrument operation, maintenance, and support in the development and/or optimization of methodologies aimed at quantitative and qualitative analyses of complex metabolite mixtures derived from engineered microorganisms and medicinal plants, respectively. In collaboration with other Willow scientists, the candidate will optimize or develop robust analysis pipelines aimed at achieving preferred, yeast-based metabolite profiles and raising the titers of target molecules in engineered strains. The individual will be responsible for routine upkeep procedures and vendor-supported repairs. The position will involve daily interaction with other Willow scientists regarding data analysis and interpretation of results.

Education:MSc or PhD in chemistry, biochemistry or a related field. 

Experience: 2+ years industry experience with analytical chemistry techniques and analysis is ideal. We prefer candidates who are highly experienced with liquid-coupled mass spectrometry and are familiar with the analysis of small metabolites. Experience with laboratory automation, high throughput technology and standard analytical software is 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. Responsibilities include: operation of LC-MS instrumentation for either targeted or broad-scope metabolite analysis within complex microbial or plant-derived extracts; quantitative analyses of target molecules to evaluate the performance of scaled, engineered yeast strains; handling and quantitative preparation of analytical standards; instrument tuning and calibration; trouble-shooting and solving anticipated LC-MS-based constraints such as inadequate chromatographic separations, poor detection, etc. The employee will participate in a rapid Design/Build/Test/Learn cycle with other laboratory scientists to meet company goals/milestones. 

Job Description: 

  • Conduct mass spectrometry analysis and other chemical analyses including but not limited to preparation/testing of analytical standards for instrument calibration, operation, and maintenance; 
  • Review, evaluate, and optimize analytical methods and the analysis pipeline; 
  • Maintain documentation of laboratory work and results including compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) according to in-house standard operating procedures;
  • Effectively communicate work and results to audiences with diverse technical backgrounds; 
  • Offer strategic recommendations for subsequent strain engineering decisions and analysis of specialized plant metabolites;
  • Work with a multidisciplinary team to meet company goals/milestones.   

Required Skills: 

  • Experience in analytical instrumentation with a focus on ESI-LC-MS-based platforms such as triple quadrupole MS, TOF MS, and high-resolution FTMS instruments;
  • Knowledge of HPLC/UPLC, IR, NMR and UV;
  • Familiarity with analytical chemistry/assay methods, automation systems, and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS); 
  • Outstanding team player with strong interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Capability of high performance in an independent work as well as in a team setting;
  • Experience working with microbial metabolomics, specialized plant metabolism, and associated data; 
  • Strong theoretical and practical knowledge of general and analytical chemistry;
  • 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.


  • No

Work Authorization: 

  • Authorized to work in Canada.


  • 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: Calgary, AB Canada
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