Scientist I – Metabolic Engineering


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.  


As a Metabolic Engineering scientist, your focus will be on pathway discovery to produce the molecules of interest, performing exploratory studies to demonstrate feasibility, and identifying areas for further optimization. You will work with a team to develop innovative strategies, design, and analyze the outcomes of the strain build. You will routinely design and perform genome editing using CRISPR tools and other molecular biology techniques such as PCR, Gibson assembly, DNA transformation, and DNA sequencing analysis.  

Essential Functions 

  • Design and build strains using knowledge of metabolic pathways and cellular physiology 
  • Engineer metabolic pathways using genome editing and/or plasmid screening 
  • Designing, executing, and interpreting metabolic engineering experiments 
  • Collaborate with small-scale and fermentation teams to develop strains & processes 
  • Develop and improve medium-to-high throughput strain construction workflows for rapid testing 
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities with a proven track record of being innovative and generating key breakthroughs to advance cell lines 
  • Writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for internal use  
  • Must possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills to facilitate interactions with a highly interdisciplinary team 
  • Strong organizational and time-management skills  
  • Excellent attention to detail and diligent adherence to deadlines and deliverables 
  • 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 

Education and Experience 

  • PhD OR MS with 6 years experience OR BS with 8 years experience in metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, or a related field 
  • Proficient and thoughtful in designing and performing CRISPR-based genomic editing 
  • Deep knowledge of central metabolism and optimization of metabolic pathways 
  • Experience with biochemical synthesis pathways is highly desirable 
  • Working with non-E.coli host organisms is a plus 
  • Experienced in BLAST search, sequence alignment, and phylogenetic trees 
  • Familiar with Geneious, Benchling and Smartsheet 

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: $90,000 - $120,000 


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