Research Associate II – 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 Research Associate II in Metabolic Engineering, your primary responsibilities will be to engineer microbial hosts to produce valuable small molecules. The Research Associate II will work with a team of scientists to meet the needs of Debut’s rapid strain engineering and optimization workflow. The position will help ideate routes to produce the molecules-of-interest, perform exploratory studies to demonstrate feasibility, and identify areas for further optimization.  

Essential Functions 

  • Routinely perform standard metabolic engineering techniques (PCR, DNA extraction, plasmid cloning, gel electrophoresis, transformation, DNA sequencing) 
  • Design and construct strains, under the guidance of scientists in the team 
  • Assist in continuous workflow optimizations to improve efficiency  
  • Help review and analyze data to design follow-up experiments  
  • Collaborate with small-scale and fermentation teams to advance strains & processes 
  • Ability to learn quickly in a fast-paced startup environment 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 

Education and Experience 

  • Bachelor’s Degree + 2 years of experience; OR Associates Degree +  4 years of experience; OR HS Diploma/GED + 6 years of experience; 
  • Familiar with common molecular biology techniques such as PCR, DNA extraction, plasmid cloning, gel electrophoresis, transformation, DNA sequencing and DNA transformation 
  • Experience in pathway discovery and optimization is a plus 

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: $70,000 - $85,000 

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