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Searching beyond the bounds of human intuition to deliver novel products and materials

Fermentation Microbiologist, Consumer Care

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The position is a key role within the Consumer Care R&D Team and will be responsible for the development, scaling, and optimization (for yield and biological activity) of laboratory scale fermentation processes for the purpose of generating sample quantities for biological and clinical testing. This is a critical role within a multidisciplinary team tasked with the development of new active materials in home, personal care, and cosmetics from natural sources, using state-of-the-art bioengineering approaches.

The position will report to the Senior Director R&D Consumer Care and the candidate will work in active and close collaboration with biologists, synthetic chemists, bioinformatics experts, and application scientists. Specifically, the candidate will work hand in hand with those responsible for accessing microbial screening libraries, as well as the screening and pilot scale and industrial scale up of lead ferment based materials.

Zymergen is planning to move the lines in the world of Consumer Care based on its unique and distinctive capabilities applicable to Industrial Biotechnology. This position offers a unique possibility to lead that change.

Job Description and Specific Responsibilities


  • Develop and optimize laboratory scale fermentation processes for the purpose of the identification and development of microbial based material for use in home, personal care, and cosmetics.
  • Build and manage an internal capability for laboratory scale fermentation and identify and utilize external partners as required.
  • Implement DOE strategy to deliver pipeline of prototype materials for assessment and work closely with the team responsible for biological and clinical screening of lead actives to ensure availability of material quantities at key milestones in the development process.
  • Ensure consistency of material composition throughout the entire screening process of lead actives by implementing process controls and analytical standards.
  • Work closely with the analytical team to identify and develop appropriate characterization methods to determine material consistency as well as the identification of active fractions and molecular targets for biological activity.
  • Work closely with the teams responsible for process engineering, pilot and commercial scaleup at all stages of development to ensure fermentation methods are scalable and commercially viable.
  • Work closely with product safety & toxicology and regulatory to ensure fermentation processes meet the requirements for ingredients in consumer care products.


  • Ph.D. in microbiology, bioengineering, or adjacent discipline.
  • ~8 years + experience
  • Demonstrable experience in the development of fermentation processes for ingredients in consumer products with a track record of successful commercialization of active and/or functional materials.
  • A deep understanding of all stages of (fermentation based) active/functional ingredient development from discovery to commercialization.
  • A fundamental understanding of the performance, technical, safety, marketing, and commercial requirements of ingredients and products, preferably in a consumer care and ideally in a personal care and cosmetic context.
  • Experienced in working with external partners in industry and academia
  • The ideal candidate will arrive with an existing network of potential third party collaborators
  • Experience in accessing microbial screening libraries is a plus
  • Knowledge of the skin or other microbiome related to consumer products is a definite plus
  • A working knowledge of natural product chemistry
  • Working knowledge of typical stage gate processes for the development of ingredients and consumer products
  • Demonstrated ability to independently manage complex technical activities and start and execute challenging assignments with minimal supervision and guidance
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and foster effective working relationships both within R&D and with adjacent teams and functions
  • Demonstration of goal-oriented, hands-on and innovative approach to problem solving
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

Legal authorization to work in the U.S. is required. Zymergen may agree to sponsor an individual for an employment visa now 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.

Founded in 2013 and based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zymergen is a technology company unlocking the power of biology. We deliver better economics for products made from biology that are used across industries, bring new products to market faster, and develop novel products. Our proprietary platform uses robots and machine learning to engineer microbes faster, more predictably, and to a level of performance previously unattainable. These microbes, and the products they produce, have broad applications across industries such as chemicals and materials, agriculture, and healthcare. For more information visit www.zymergen.com.

Zymergen at a glance

Searching beyond the bounds of human intuition to deliver novel products and materials

Zymergen focuses on Robotics, Machine Learning, Software, and Big Data Analytics. Their company has offices in San Francisco Bay Area and Emeryville. They have a large team that's between 501-1000 employees. To date, Zymergen has raised $576M of funding; their latest round was closed on December 2018.

You can view their website at http://zymergen.com or find them on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Product Hunt.