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Scientist: Protein 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.

The Protein Engineering group is seeking a self-driven and energetic scientist to help discover new enzymes to support Debut’s biomanufacturing platform for high-value molecules. The exact level of this position will be based on experience and qualifications, and as such, we encourage all interested candidates to apply.

Education and Experience:

Ph.D./M.S. +3 years of experience/B.S. +5 years of experience in Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology or a related discipline.

Essential Functions/Responsibilities:

  • 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

Required experience and skills:

  • Development, optimization and scale up (for high-throughput applications) of enzyme activity assays
  • Determination of enzyme kinetic parameters 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:

  • Familiarity with colony pickers and liquid handlers is highly desirable.
  • 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).
  • Programming experience with any of the following is a plus: Python, R, Javascript, SQL, bash/Linux CLI.
  • Hands-on experience with basic bioinformatics tools and software (BLAST, Geneious, SnapGene, Pymol).
  • Familiarity with structure-based protein design (Rosetta), machine learning (NLP) or coarse-grained protein simulations.


  • 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


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