Assay Development Scientist

Berkeley, CA
R&D
Full time
About us 
At Shiru we believe that food should be delicious and nourishing without negatively affecting our planet. Acknowledging our growing global population as well as the imminent effects of climate change, Shiru’s mission is to create better protein ingredients that will catapult us into a sustainable food future. 

With our mission in mind, Shiru makes high quality, functional food proteins through better leveraging our precious environmental resources. To do this, we employ technologies originally  created to solve problems in adjacent industries, including computational biology, machine learning, and industrial fermentation and bioprocessing.

We apply computational intelligence to find the most functional natural food proteins in the world, harnessing the inherent ability of microflora to produce them. We then partner with food and beverage companies to incorporate these unique protein ingredients into everyday products. Shiru is now expanding our team of dedicated professionals across multiple disciplines to make enhanced protein ingredients for a better world.

About the role
Shiru rapidly and efficiently identifies high value functional food proteins via an innovative computational platform that integrates machine learning and molecular modeling and creates them through precision biology. As the assay development scientist in our early stage company, you will initially wear many hats. Firstly, you will work with Shiru’s scientists to express recombinant protein ingredients at lab scale. Your focus will be on streamlining and parallelizing the workflows associated with protein production and characterization creatively and effectively. You will design and implement assays to characterize Shiru’s functional food proteins using biochemistry and materials science techniques. The assays you create will be used to characterize and validate the food functional properties of Shiru’s protein candidates. To start, you will design and implement assays that are meaningful and robust at lab scale. Scaling Shiru’s technical platform will involve automating both production of recombinant food proteins and their characterization using robotics and other HTS techniques to increase the magnitude of Shiru’s data library and improve our predictive abilities. Ultimately, your work will result in a library of validated, high value protein ingredients with unique and tailored functionality enabling formulation of more sustainable food products. 

You will develop efficient operational models involving assay instrumentation, design, and analysis to streamline and automate Shiru’s screening workflow. Together with Shiru’s team you will curate and grow libraries of validated protein ingredients. Your work will be critical to bringing sustainable, functional protein ingredients to market through meticulous product development that relies on deep knowledge of protein chemistry and an appreciation for the complex interactions of proteins within foods. Your role at Shiru will be varied, with clear communication critical to your success. Ensuring that your workflow is fully integrated and well-aligned with the work of other teams, as well as sharing your findings in an articulate manner, will guide you towards success in this position. This role represents a unique opportunity to work with a hard-driving cross-functional team of scientists, engineers, and business people.

About you
You’re a seasoned scientist (PhD + several years industry experience) with ownership of workflows involved in creating and characterizing biological products spanning design to characterization with a passion for food innovation for the betterment of the planet. You have experience automating workflows, designing novel assays to produce and characterize functional bioproducts. You might be transitioning from academia into the start-up world, or you may be coming from a large company where you’ve worked to bring commercially valuable biological products from bench to application. You enjoy strategy and planning and find your “flow” creating and executing strategic experiments and increase efficiency in doing great science. You thrive on multi-disciplinary work and have an endless hunger for knowledge, learning, and growth.

Responsibilities

    • Recombinant expression of functional protein ingredients
    • Experimental assay design for protein screening
    • Data analysis and management
    • Performing a variety of research experiments related to HTS, including project trouble-shooting
    • You will bring a broad understanding of relationships between molecular and macromolecular properties (structure and function) and their contributions to complex food systems
    • Creatively analyze diverse structures including solutions, suspensions, foams, emulsions, and semi-solid materials
    • Develop and run analytical assays and configure these assays to automated systems
    • Perform research with the following subset of analytical techniques: DSC, UV/VIS-spectroscopy, DLS, particle size analysis, rheology, texture profile analysis, liquid handlers, electrochemistry
    • Operate liquid handling robotics and other high-throughput screening equipment as needed
    • Maintain detailed and accurate record of lab work and support IP filings

Attributes

    • You are generally flexible, self-motivated, resourceful, calm, and adaptive
    • You demonstrate and model Shiru’s values of sustainability, thoughtfulness, and innovation
    • You are comfortable with a rapid pace of work in a dynamic environment
    • You are equally comfortable challenging as you are with being challenged
    • Ability to master new research techniques quickly with superb problem-solving skills
    • Excellent communication skills and meticulous data management 
    • You expect work to be meaningful and to be part of a business dedicated to having a positive impact on the planet

Requirements

    • PhD in Protein Biochemistry, Materials Chemistry, Biophysics, or related field 
    • Post-doctoral academic or industry research experience in one of the above fields a plus
    • Experience in high-throughput screening, automation, and statistical evaluation of large data sets 
    • Experience in production of recombinant proteins is a plus
    • Independent experimental design and execution, data analysis, and troubleshooting
    • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
    • Experience in device prototype development and/or custom instrumentation through 3D printing, CAD design, machining is desirable 
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; must be a team player
    • Prior exposure to a scientific programming language such as R or Python is a plus
At Shiru, we're looking for people with passion, grit, and integrity. You're encouraged to apply even if your experience doesn't precisely match the job description. We’re expecting your skills and passion to stand out—and set you apart—especially if your career has taken some extraordinary twists and turns. Please join us in this singular opportunity to create the future of food!  

Shiru is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. Shiru offers competitive compensation and employee benefits along with an attractive equity package commensurate with candidate qualifications.