Shift Lead II, Fermentation Operations

Zymergen   •  

Emeryville, CA

Industry: Manufacturing & Automotive


5 - 7 years

Posted 61 days ago

This job is no longer available.

Zymergen is hiring several experienced Research Associates to drive bench-scale fermentation within the company. This position specifically will be supervising up to nine junior Associates, in addition to contributing to regular hands-on operations. Shift Leads will have working schedules aligned to one of four shifts that provide 7 day x 16 hr per week coverage of fermentation activities.

Supervisory responsibilities may include:

  • Guiding career development for Junior associates
  • Managing annual and mid-year performance reviews
  • Coordinating training for group members as well as adjacent groups
  • Day to day management of workload to ensure high-quality execution of fermentation experiments
  • Use data analysis tools to understand process variations and manage process controls, and to identify microbes with improved performance
  • Collaborate with outside partners on the transfer of technology between facilities

Lab responsibilities may include:

  • Weekly setup, operation, and tear down of fermenters in multiples of 12 or more
  • Prepare media and clean and sterilize equipment
  • Maintain and repair the fermentation systems and the supporting infrastructure as needed
  • Process samples in plate-based and HPLC assays in collaboration with the analytical chemistry team
  • Work with data capture systems to store data and metadata about the experiments

The fermentation capacity within the company is integral both for screening microbes in high throughput to identify those with improved performance as well as for transferring technologies between Zymergen and our partner organizations. We need members of our fermentation department to bring creativity and perseverance across a variety of large and small projects including installing equipment and establishing scalable processes.

In addition, the Associate will be part of the foundational technical team and will have the opportunity to shape the scientific environment and establish best practices within a growing company.


A successful candidate for this position will have at least 5 years of hands-on fermentation experience, preferably with process ownership. A qualified candidate will have a degree and experience in relevant fields (chemical engineering, bioengineering, microbiology, biochemistry), and with a history of success within an industrial setting.

History of leadership is preferred. This can be direct supervision of an Associate or a history of mentoring junior staff.

We prefer Associates with experience in some or all of the following areas:

Equipment and SOP development:

  • Familiarity with a variety of bench scale fermentation units including those from Sartorius, DASGIP, Applikon and New Brunswick (Eppendorf)
  • Experience installing the physical infrastructure and establishing the support processes required to build out a fermentation capability
  • Understanding the basics of statistics including JMP, and the use of manufacturing practices such as control charts, Lean, and 5S
  • Expertise writing and validating SOPs for fermentation and fermentation-related processes

Chemical engineering and microbiology:

  • Experience with a variety of microbes (bacteria, yeasts, filamentous fungi), a variety of fermentation processes (aerobic, microaerobic, and anaerobic), and a variety fermentation products (proteins, small molecules)
  • Familiarity breaking down processes and equipment to identify sources of contamination or variation
  • Attention to detail to execute complex fermentation processes with minimal deviations and troubleshoot as needed
  • Understanding of associated processes like analytical chemistry, microtiter plate-based growth and production, lab support services, LIMS, etc.