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Job Description

Debut Biotech is a high-growth company located in sunny San Diego, CA. At the heart of our ethos is the ability of synthetic biology to create over 60% of the material inputs for society to provide a sustainable future. While many have attempted to achieve this goal using traditional fermentation, no platform can convert low-cost renewable feedstocks into ANY material; our advanced biomanufacturing platform will be the first. At Debut, we promise that your day-to-day innovation will drive us closer to realizing this critical vision and that failure is OK when shooting for the stars; if you’re not failing, you’re not pushing hard enough. We genuinely believe that Debut will be THE biomanufacturing company and the vision for a better tomorrow motivates our team. If you are passionate, like fast-paced innovation and close-knit teams, then Debut is for you.

The Protein Engineering group is seeking a self-driven and energetic scientist to help dissect complex enzymatic pathways, identify the main bottlenecks, and propose new targets for engineering efforts. You are also expected to contribute to the protein engineering capabilities by devising new assay methodologies, implementing new approaches to hit identification and executing on various directed evolution campaigns.


  • Identify key enzymes and cofactors contributing to the performance of complex enzymatic pathways
  • Carefully characterize the biochemical and biophysical properties of the enzymatic targets
  • Design and execute end to end directed evolution campaigns from backbone identification to library design, generation, screening, and automated data analysis.
  • Design novel high throughput screening assays to identify improved variants.
  • Express, purify and characterize novel enzymes and enzyme variants, at a range of scales.
  • Work across different groups to validate and drive early candidates toward integration into Debut’s biomanufacturing platform.
  • Accurately record and summarize data, communicate findings to the relevant stakeholders and contribute to writing of progress reports and patents.
  • Keep abreast of the most recent advances in technology and strive to improve the protein engineering infrastructure


Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology or Chemical Engineering or a related discipline.

Required experience and skills:

  • Characterization of novel functions within enzymatic cascades
  • Detailed analysis of biochemical (enzyme activity and inhibition kinetics, reaction mechanism, etc.) and biophysical (pH- and temperature-stability, etc.) properties of enzymes
  • Development and optimization of enzymatic assays to probe activity and stability
  • Protein overexpression in microbial hosts (Ecoli, fungi, etc.)
  • Protein purification using a variety of methods (affinity, ion exchange, etc.)
  • Hands-on experience with the use of the AKTA system
  • Analytical methods for protein quantification (ELISA, PAGE, Western, etc.), enzyme activity measurement (absorbance, fluorescence, HPLC, LC-MS,GC-MS) and stability analysis

Preferred additional qualifications:

  • Basics of modern molecular biology including construct design, PCR, ligation-free (eg. Gibson, Golden Gate) assembly, site-directed mutagenesis, and large-scale library construction
  • Robust understanding of basic statistics and design of experiments (DOE).
  • Familiarity with basic bioinformatics tools (Pymol, Geneious, SnapGene).


  • Employment is subject to a criminal background check.
  • Must be willing to work with biohazardous agents (up to BSL2).
  • Work requires sufficient hand, arm, and finger dexterity to operate computer keyboard and office equipment. Laboratory operations require dexterity and care to perform studies as required.
  • The R&D laboratory will result in exposure to hot and cold temperatures, noise, fumes, limited dust, and oily coolants.
  • Requires walking, climbing stairs, bending and occasional lifting of material up to fifty (50) pounds.
  • The performance of this position will present exposure to an industrial environment and requires support and compliance with the published Company PPE policy including but not limited to the use of personal protective equipment such as safety glasses with side shields, appropriate attire, safety shoes, hard hat, hearing protection, etc.
  • Debut Biotech is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran, or disability status.


  • 6% Matched 401K program
  • Dental, health, and vision insurance
  • 20 days PTO
  • Stock options
  • Flexible schedule
  • Maternity and paternity leave

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: $95,000.00 – $115,000.00 per year


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