Associate Director, Translational and Clinical Research (Preclinical)

South San Francisco, California /
R&D /
/ Hybrid
Brightseed is a pioneer in biosciences and artificial intelligence (A.I.) that illuminates nature to restore human health. Brightseed’s proprietary A.I., Forager®, accelerates bioactive discovery, biological validation and ingredient formulation from years to months, rapidly revealing new connections between nature and humanity. Through Forager® and clinical evaluation, Brightseed partners with organizations across the consumer health continuum to offer insight into the world of bioactives and health solutions. Visit to learn more.

Bioactives are small molecule compounds produced by plants, fungi, and microbes that grow in and adapt to environments that present a wide range of challenges to their survival. Bioactives also benefit the health of humans – they are the enlivening caffeine in tea, the powerful antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes or curcumin in turmeric, and they inform active ingredients in medicines like Taxol, aspirin and Metformin, the latter a first-line treatment for Type 2 diabetes derived from the French lilac flower. Science has long known that bioactives are critical to human health, yet the vast majority remain unknown and uncharted – often referred to as the “dark matter” of nutrition. Brightseed’s A.I., Forager®, discovers bioactives in nature and maps them to human health outcomes at a rate and accuracy that was previously impossible.

You are an experienced R&D leader with expertise investigating the impact of plant bioactives on human health at the cellular and molecular level. At Brightseed, you will own our preclinical workflow, including the build out of our research capabilities and execution of R&D programs. You will serve as a key expert for both internal and external preclinical research activities, partner with the Discovery and Product/Process teams and help to translate our fundamental insights into commercial products. This position reports to our Senior Director of Translational and Clinical Research (TCR).


    • Serve as the in-house expert for our pre-clinical framework and study designs and act as a key technical voice supporting both internal and external programs.
    • Develop and lead preclinical testing workflow in collaboration with our Biology Team to ensure prioritized bioactives progress through the pipeline.
    • Oversee the build-out of our preclinical research capabilities, including protocols, model systems and external partners/collaborators.
    • Design in vivo safety, toxicological & ADME testing plan for lead bioactive compounds and to inform future product formulation & dosing.
    • Lead our preclinical efficacy screening of plant bioactives to further establish mechanistic insights and ensure physiologically relevant phenotype(s) translate for future human clinical testing.
    • Participate in a range of active research programs, interpreting results on plants, their bioactive compounds, and their potential applications to human health, and deriving insights that highlight the commercial potential of discoveries.
    • Provides scientific direction and oversees workflows for a small team of scientists to solve complex business issues and technology challenges
    • Provides strategic leadership to impact the success of the TCR function and overall business outcomes
    • Interacts with senior management, leadership and external customers in significant matters, which may involve negotiation
    • Responsible for supporting recruiting and retaining top talent
    • Performs other related duties as assigned


    • Normally requires a PhD in a scientific discipline (Biology, Nutrition Science, Biomedical Sciences, Nutritional Biochemistry, Molecular Nutrition, Physiology or a human biology-related field) and minimum of 10+ years related experience; may include post-doctoral experience.
    • Or MS with 13+ years experience
    • 3-5 years specific experience in nutritional or therapeutic discovery and/or translation; may include post-doctoral experience 
    • Requires experience in industry successfully leading and directing the work of small teams
    • Direct experience designing in-vitro and pre-clinical studies in the context of tying biological targets to human health
    • Experience compiling, structuring, and curating molecular and biomedical data and interfacing with expert knowledge systems is highly desirable
    • Demonstrated record of generating original scientific insights related to nutrition and health and publishing articles in peer-review publications
    • Experience supporting successful commercial launches of nutrition or health-related products is a plus


    • Self-starting, entrepreneurial orientation a must
    • Highly collaborative and able to build strong working relationships across multiple cross-functional teams
    • Strong ability to communicate scientific data across diverse teams and integrate feedback
    • Able to work through multiple stakeholders to provide expected outcomes
    • Strong supervisory and leadership skills
    • Ability to prioritize tasks and to delegate them when appropriate
    • Ability to function well in a high-paced environment
    • Prolonged periods of sitting at a desk and working on a computer
    • Must be able to lift up to 15 pounds at times 


    • The salary range for this position is $166,000 - $186,000. 
    • Compensation for this position is commensurate with relevant qualifications and work experience, academic credentials, job related skills, employment location and other factors. 
    • More senior candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
As a lab based company, where in person collaboration is key to drive innovation, we encourage all team members to be in our office most days each week. However we appreciate and honor the need and desire for flexibility and have implemented a hybrid working model. We have a fully stocked healthy kitchen, a gym onsite, plenty of free parking, weekly team events and a state-of-the-art lab and office. 

We offer a competitive total rewards package with team-first benefits programs for full-time employees, including medical, dental and vision coverage, unlimited paid time off, life insurance, employee assistance programs, 401(k) plan, a mental health platform, employee discounts, payroll credits for cell phone and commuter costs and a paid parental leave program.

We are committed to making transformative discoveries with a team-first mentality. Successful team members are truth-seeking and trusting, with the tenacity required to trail blaze in uncharted territory. We are a collaborative team that actively seeks input and values differing perspectives. And we produce tangible results, holding ourselves accountable in the process. 

We are also committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of connectedness and inclusion. We grow and learn together, respecting professional and personal experiences, areas of expertise, and types of self expression. 

In recruiting for our team, we welcome the unique contributions that each one of us brings in terms of education, opinions, culture, color, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, religion, different abilities, sexual orientation and beliefs.