Senior Scientist, Enzyme Catalysis


About Debut

Debut is the unconventional innovation lab spearheading the next generation of big business. Only Debut has a scalable, integrated, climate-positive creation model powered by biotechnology that puts human wellbeing at the center of everything we do—setting the new standard for profitable business and a new pace for an ever-changing world.  Our hybrid biotechnology approaches unlock latent markets, providing access to sustainably produced, natural ingredients with health benefits that cannot be obtained through other methods. We are committed to traversing the entire process, from ingredient discovery to the scaling of these products, for consumer markets. If you are passionate, enjoy fast-paced innovation and collaborative teams, then Debut is for you.  

Senior Scientist, Enzyme Catalysis



Debut Biotechnology is seeking a creative and innovative Senior Scientist to develop enzymatic processes and engineer proteins. This individual will design enzymatic pathways for the production of target molecules, and build those routes by discovering and engineering novel enzymes. This work will encompass designing and optimizing cell-free biocatalysis processes, as well as creating enzymes for multi-step pathways in microbial strains. The Scientist will optimize and execute protein engineering workflows to rapidly deliver high-performing enzymes, and will proactively identify solutions to improve and accelerate experimental processes. The Scientist will lead projects and shape project strategy, with responsibilities ranging from project planning to execution through varied stages and scales. The Scientist will provide mentorship and training to junior scientists, and will work collaboratively with functional groups across R&D at Debut to drive innovation.


Essential Functions

  • Ability to design insightful experiments, execute robust experimental workflows, and interpret complex data. 
  • Ability to plan and execute complex projects and lead scientists to deliver innovative solutions as a team and on time.
  • Ability to introduce new technologies to solve technical challenges.
  • Ability to write technical documents, including detailed lab notebooks, standard operating procedures, regular research update presentations, and patents. 
  • Detail-oriented, self-motivated, and enjoy taking on complex challenges. 
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills to facilitate interactions with highly interdisciplinary teams.
  • Strong organizational and time-management skills, including ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Position is fully on-site in San Diego, and requires work in the laboratory.


Education and Experience

  • PhD + 5 years of experience, OR MS + 11 years of experience, OR BS + 13 years of experience in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, or related disciplines.
  • Deep biochemistry knowledge, including but not limited to protein biochemistry, enzyme production and activity testing, DNA manipulation approaches, and knowledge of cellular pathways and diverse enzyme chemistries.
  • Experience leading projects and mentoring junior scientists.
  • Track record of delivering innovative processes and enzymes for production of target molecules.
  • Experience in several of the following areas: protein engineering, cell-free process development, design of enzymatic activity assays, high-throughput screening workflows and automation, enzyme discovery, biocatalytic retrosynthesis, bioinformatics, mechanistic enzymology, and computational protein design. 


Essential Physical Characteristics


The physical characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of a job, on a case-by-case basis. 


  • Continuous upward and downward flexion of the neck. 
  • Frequent: sitting, repetitive use of hands to operate computers, printers and copiers. 
  • Frequently uses hands to feel objects or control tools (e.g. pipetting).  Laboratory operations require dexterity and care to perform studies as required.
  • Occasional: walking, standing, climbing stairs, bending and twisting of neck, bending and twisting of waist, squatting, simple grasping, reaching above and below shoulder level, and occasional lifting and carrying of files or material weighing up to 50 pounds.
  • Must be willing to work with biohazardous agents (up to BSL2) and chemicals.
  • The R&D laboratory will result in exposure to hot and cold temperatures, noise, fumes, limited dust, and oily coolants.
  • 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.



Condition of Employment

As part of Debut’s pre-employment process, prospective candidates will undergo a background check prior to beginning employment. Additional types of background investigations may be conducted based on the job-related activities of the position.


Debut 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.


Salary: $110,000-$140,000

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