Plant Synthetic Biologist

New York City, NY /
Science – Plant Science /

OXMAN is a hybrid Design and R&D company that fuses design, technology, and biology to invent multi-scale products and environments. The fusion of disciplines within our work opens previously impossible opportunities within each domain—allowing design to inspire science and science to inspire design.

At OXMAN, we question dominant modes of design that have divorced us from Nature by prioritizing humanity above all else (human-centric design). Although it is design that has caused this rift, we believe that design also offers the greatest opportunity to heal it.

We propose a Nature-centric approach that delivers design solutions by, for, and with the natural world, while advancing humanity. In this pursuit, we reject all forms of segregation and instead call for a radical synergy between human-made and Nature-grown environments.

This approach demands that we design across scales for systems-level impact. We consider every designed construct a whole system of heterogeneous and complex interrelations—not isolated objects—that are intrinsically connected to their environments. In doing so, we open ourselves up to moving beyond mere maintenance toward the advancement of Nature.


OXMAN is seeking a Plant Synthetic Biologist to join an all-star interdisciplinary team of deep thinkers and brilliant makers. Applied synthetic biology experience growing, transforming, and evolving a variety of common model plants (e.g., Arabidopsis, Marchantia, algae, staple crops), particularly to optimize their capacity for synthesis of functional polymers, compounds, and biomaterials and to investigate novel pathways for genotype-to-phenotype control is desirable. Successful applicants embody stellar technical skills, hold the capacity to navigate and resolve uncertainty, and demonstrate a unique “language” of biology (wetware) / computing (software) / fabricating (hardware), or a combination thereof. They have produced and can present a prolific corpus of research and experimental demonstrations rooted in sound scientific approaches and process-driven design with biology at its core; exemplify a passion for systems-based thinking with a wide range of potential applications for their work; personify an appreciation for engineering, science, and art; and seek synergy between biology and technology in research, practice, and direct industrial utility.

The Plant Synthetic Biologist will play a key role in designing and implementing novel experiments and applications of synthetic biology principles to a variety of biological and bio-inspired systems—from single-celled organisms to whole ecologies and even biotic-abiotic hybrid systems, where autonomous robots may interact with biological organisms. Their work will advance a future of unification between synthetic biology and product design.

Core responsibilities

    • Lead plant biology projects across all stages, from concept development to product fruition.
    • Develop next-generation synthetic biology tools (e.g., algorithms, data structures, predictive models, software pipelines, experimental approaches) that yield step changes in our ability to engineer biological and bio-inspired systems.
    • Design experiments that question, validate, and/or enable novel products that fundamentally leverage developed bio-ware.
    • Execute key biological experiments at the bench level.
    • Maintain high-quality documentation of scientific output and research in the forms of written reports, electronic lab notebooks, internal databases, code comments, etc.
    • Actively seek opportunities to publish work in top-tier journals and other platforms for diffusing scientific knowledge.
    • Nurture and augment the scientific vision of OXMAN, upholding core design principles and ensuring the highest and most innovative quality of work.
    • Actively partner with a multidisciplinary team of professionals, including other biologists, engineers, and designers, across scientific and design pursuits.
    • Communicate ideas, work, and progress clearly, including by engaging in team meetings, presentations, and other creative communication outlets.

Qualifications & competencies

    • PhD or equivalent, with a focus on the design of synthetic biology systems and applications of synthetic biology principles as part of biological systems interrogation.
    • Minimum 5 years of industry or academic experience in biological model development, genetic engineering, construct design, scientific tool design, application development for synthetic biology systems, biodesign, and/or machine learning.
    • Portfolio of highly successful scientific work demonstrating out-of-the-box thinking and stellar taste.
    • Fluency in the use of relevant synthetic biology design tools, including physical equipment used for organism growth, transformation, cloning, analysis, and reporting, as well as software to design molecular biology reagents and full experiments.
    • Experience with sourcing material to execute biological experiments.
    • Experience with robotic pipetting, synthetic biology simulations, and ad-hoc scientific instrumentation.
    • Experience with rapid prototyping and fabrication tools, including CNC routers, robotic arms, and 3D printers is desirable.
    • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment.
    • Excellent project management skills, independence, self-motivation, organizational skills, and attention to detail.
    • Strong commitment to the team; maintains positive working relationships with diverse people, including internal team and external partners.
    • Embodies ethics and integrity in all work with impeccable scientific integrity, respecting both company and broader community policies in all conduct.
Interested candidates should please apply online at

OXMAN does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristics.