Director of Strain Development


San Leandro, CA, US
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Function: Life Sciences R&D/Engineering
  • Post Date: 04/09/2021
  • Website:
  • Company Address: 1933 Davis St, San Leandro, CA, 94577

About ZymoChem

ZymoChem is a biotechnology-centric chemicals company engineering microbe-based processes for making chemicals and high-performance materials that go into everyday products. We work with industry-leading partners to develop and introduce novel bio-based products to enable high growth market opportunities where sustainability, bio-content, and high performance are key. Our mission is realized through our proprietary Carbon Conservation (C2) biotechnology platform, which enables the rapid development of scalable production processes operating at breakthrough efficiencies while delivering substantially lower costs than incumbent processes – if they exist.

ZymoChem is headquartered in the east bay area of California, with its R&D facility located in San Leandro, CA. The company is backed by Breakout Labs, SOS Ventures (Indie Bio), the Stanford StartX Fund, and ATUM; to-date, ZymoChem has raised >$6 million in funding. The company is entering a fast-paced growth mode with numerous open positions.

Job Description

The Opportunity

We are seeking a Director of Strain Development to spearhead the commercialization of our company’s proprietary carbon conserving microbial platform technology. This role is a career-defining leadership opportunity at the intersection of enzyme engineering, strain optimization, automation, and data analytics.

The Director of Strain Development will oversee the company’s Enzyme Development, Strain Engineering, Automation, Systems Biology, and Analytics Groups, serving as the primary contact for a team consisting of 8-12 researchers. Through the breadth of responsibilities, the individual will gain diverse experience with building teams, establishing core competencies, and managing multidisciplinary R&D projects. The ideal candidate will have an educational background in (bio)chemical engineering, (bio)chemistry, molecular biology, or similar, along with proven success managing or extensively working with multiple collaborating R&D groups. A candidate that also has a broad professional network with industry leaders and collaborative organizations is highly desired.

In this cross-functional leadership role, the Director of Strain Development will expand their expertise with cutting-edge enzyme & strain engineering technologies, building out & implementing automated capabilities & workflows, and harnessing data acquisition & analytics platforms. Specific opportunities will include shaping the company’s R&D architecture by establishing integrated workflows and solutions, building out the company’s core competencies by introducing new technologies, identifying and resolving technology bottlenecks, and expanding the company’s IP strategy and adding to its IP portfolio. The individual will also gain exposure to bioprocess development and scale-up by routinely interfacing with the company’s Fermentation and Process Development & Scale-up Groups as well as external organizations focused on scale-up.

The primary responsibility of the Director of Strain Development will be that of program lead – overseeing R&D projects along with guiding & mentoring the research team. The individual will have opportunities to hone their skills with the timely planning & high-quality execution of KPIs, and also managing functionally integrated project timelines, work plans, interdependencies, and budgets. The ideal candidate will be well-versed with project management tools and processes for long-term planning in addition to establishing viable R&D strategies to accomplish quarterly & yearly goals. The role will also involve conducting project meetings and facilitating efficient decision making & delegation to meet project and business-related goals.

Serving as the intersection amongst the company’s R&D groups, company management, and external collaborators, the Director of Strain Development will be an expert in meeting management, communication, and reporting. The individual will be proficient with cross-functional communication amongst different technical groups; summarizing complex technical information from several disciplines (biology, chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering, business development) into simple concepts; and efficiently summarizing project milestones, KPIs, and status of upcoming deadlines to company management & external parties.


  • PhD or MS in (Bio)chemical Engineering, (Bio)chemistry, Molecular Biology, or a related discipline

  • A minimum of 7 years industry experience covering all facets of metabolic engineering and strain optimization is required, including at least 3 years managing scientists and research associates

  • Experience in independently managing teams and projects, with a comprehensive understanding of the various stages of R&D and their unique needs

  • Strongly prefer candidates who have either led or been an integral part of R&D teams that successfully developed bioprocesses from the bench to the commercial scale

  • Adaptable, self-motivated, and curious systems thinker that is excited to build both teams and infrastructure at a fast-growing company

ZymoChem offers full-time employees a competitive base salary and benefits package, and the company is an equal opportunity employer. If this position aligns with your career aspirations, please apply using the form below.

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Disclaimer: Local Candidates Only
This company does NOT accept candidates from outside recruiting firms. Agency contacts are not welcome.