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Senior Scientist: Metabolic Engineering

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.

As the Senior Scientist of metabolic engineering your focus will be on leading pathway optimization and strain improvement ensuring completion of projects with strict time deadlines. You will help lead a team of seven scientists to meet the needs of Debut’s strain engineering and your responsibilities will include:

  • Engineering metabolic pathways and performing genomic editing using CRISPR/Cas9 systems
  • Developing medium-to-high throughput strain construction to rapidly improve bioproduction of target molecules
  • Designing, setting up, executing, and documenting metabolic engineering experiments. Working with peers and management to define pertinent experiments, develop protocols, collect, and analyze resultant data within agreed timelines
  • Coaching junior staff and problem solving with them to ensure progress across multiple deadlines
  • Writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for internal use
  • Project management and tracking strain building and testing
  • Collaborating with fermentation and product purification processes to ensure work products are delivered on time and at spec
  • Functioning as the point person for a project and processing data for subsequent review and reporting.
  • Managing the strain engineering workflow and ensuring on time delivery


  • PhD with 8+ years of experience in metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, or a related field
  • Proficient and thoughtful in designing and performing CRISPR-based genomic editing
  • Deep knowledge in the central metabolism of E. coli and optimization of metabolic pathways
  • Mush have experience with metabolic engineering in E. coli with a proven track record of creating commercial strains
  • Experience working with other organisms is highly desirable
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities with a proven track record of being innovative and generating key breakthroughs to advance cell lines.
  • Has lead campaigns from conception to pilot production for small molecules
  • Experienced in BLAST search, sequence alignment, and phylogenetic trees
  • Familiar with Geneious, MindManger, and Smartsheet
  • Must possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills to facilitate interactions with a highly interdisciplinary team
  • Motivated by a sense of urgency, attention to detail, and an engrained penchant for professional development of themselves and their co-workers
  • Strong organizational and time-management skills including managing projects simultaneously
  • Excellent attention to details and diligent adherence to deadlines and deliverables
  • Ability to prioritize responsibilities and multi-task
  • Must be motivated, self-directed, and work well with little oversight
  • Ability to learn quickly in a fast-paced startup environment
  • Must be willing to work non-standard hours supporting a 24/7 operation including weekends


  • 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: $125,000.00 – $150,000.00 per year


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