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Scientist - Microbial Strain Engineering

At C16 Biosciences, we believe that palm oil doesn’t have to be a problem. Our team is building a sustainable and environmentally-friendly alternative to “conflict palm oil,” which relies on tropical rainforest deforestation and emits over 1 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. C16 Bio’s technology platform harnesses naturally-occurring biological processes, improved by the latest innovations in strain engineering, fermentation, and low-cost lipid extraction to produce a better kind of palm oil.

Please note: This is a posting for general consideration of future Scientist roles at C16 Biosciences. At present, we are not actively looking to fill this position, but intend to be in the coming months. All candidates will hear back regarding next steps upon review of their application. 

As a Scientist on C16 Bio’s Strain Engineering team, you will harness molecular and synthetic biology tools to create new microbial strains with core performance advantages. You will be entrusted as a thought leader in our broad efforts to develop next-generation strains and oils that deliver value to our customers. Projects may involve developing new molecular biology tools to enhance C16’s engineering capabilities, manipulating carbon metabolism in order to increase flux towards lipid biosynthesis, introducing exogenous metabolic functions to a host microorganism, or designing metabolic pathways to produce new palm-oil derived ingredients. Additionally, you will gain exposure to the “rapid prototyping” of a consumer products company and to entrepreneurial science. We are searching for a diligent, inquisitive, and self-motivated individual with a passion for microbes. Candidates for this position must have a PhD degree, with three or more years of relevant wet lab experience, as well as excellent communication, documentation, project management, and organizational skills.

Major responsibilities:

  • Contribute to the Strain Engineering team's strategic roadmap and generate new scientific directions to explore
  • Execute core strain engineering experiments (e.g., molecular cloning and microbial transformation) to generate new microbial strains
  • Develop new techniques and molecular tools to support strain engineering goals
  • Manage and mentor Strain Engineering Research Associates
  • Coordinate with screening and fermentation teams to benchmark strain library performance using high-throughput screening
  • Analyze, interpret, and communicate strain engineering results to broader R&D team
  • Maintain integrity of relevant laboratory materials (e.g. strain libraries, genetic constructs, equipment and reagents) and standard operating protocols

Minimum education and experience:

  • PhD in a relevant technical field, such as Chemical Biology, Molecular Biology, Bioengineering, or Chemical Engineering
  • Proficiency in or ability to quickly learn standard methods of microbiology, molecular biology, and chemical biology: PCR, agarose gel electrophoresis, molecular cloning, microbial transformation, microbial culture, fermentation, and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
  • Masterful understanding of microbial metabolism, metabolic engineering, and synthetic biology concepts
  • Comfortable with state-of-the-art bioinformatics and molecular biology software tools, as well as scientific computing and data analysis (MATLAB or Python preferred)
  • Self-starter who thrives in independent work environments
  • Effective communicator, both within a collaborative scientific team and in communicating science to a non-technical audience
  • Self-motivated, fast learner able to simultaneously handle multiple projects

Preferred qualifications:

  • PhD or postdoctoral research in strain engineering, metabolic engineering, lipid metabolism, or related fields
  • First-author peer-reviewed publication(s) demonstrating engineering of biological systems for designed functions
  • Previous experience in a startup or commercial research environment

C16 offers:

  • Competitive salary within the industry
  • Unlimited PTO
  • Medical, dental & vision insurance coverage
  • Access to well-being tools and development opportunities (e.g. mental health, CitiBike memberships, and more)
  • 401(k) retirement plan options


  • We celebrate diversity in all its forms. We are committed to EEO regardless of race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, national origin, gender, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, marital or parental status, disability, veteran status, and more.

Legal authorization to work in the U.S. is required. 

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.