Senior Scientist, Metabolic Engineering


About Debut

Debut 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 a Senior Scientist in Metabolic Engineering your focus will be on 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
  • Must 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

Job Type: Full-time

Salary: $110,000.00 - $140,000.00 per year


  • 401(k)
  • 401(k) matching
  • Dental insurance
  • Flexible schedule
  • Flexible spending account
  • Health insurance
  • Health savings account
  • Life insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Parental leave
  • Referral program
  • Relocation assistance
  • Vision insurance

Supplemental pay types:

  • Bonus pay


  • Master's (Preferred)

Work Location: One location

To learn more about Debut please see:

DSM Agrees to Evaluate Debut’s Scalable Cell-Free Manufacturing Platform (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News):

Next gen cell-free biomanufacturing could unlock opportunities to synthesize natural ingredients (Food Navigator-USA):

Debut Biotech Awarded $1M from Air Force Research Lab for aerospace applications of cell-free biomanufacturing (PRWeb):

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