Machine Learning Lead

Emeryville, 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
In this role, you will build the foundation of Shiru’s computational search engine for functional food proteins that can replace traditional animal-based ingredients. Machine learning lies at the core of Shiru’s approach to identifying functional food ingredients. As our machine learning lead, you will work closely with a cross-functional team to identify areas where machine learning can make a difference, to conceptualize and guide collection of data from cutting edge, high-throughput platforms, and to analyze these data sets using the best machine learning methods, applied at scale.

You will come up with novel methods that use a broad spectrum of machine learning approaches, including deep learning techniques at the forefront of the field. We aim to develop large data sets, so you will need to develop and deploy machine learning methods at scale. You will work as part of a team to rigorously analyze our data, extract key insights, and make accurate predictions that will let us quickly identify functional protein ingredients. Ultimately, your work will result in a library of protein sequences with unique and tailored functionality capable of replacing traditional animal-based proteins for food.    

You will be joining the founding team of a startup that has long-term stability due to significant funding, and yet is very much in formation. A lot can change in this early and exciting phase, providing many opportunities for significant impact. You will work closely with a very talented team, learn a broad range of skills, and help shape Shiru’s culture, strategic direction, and outcomes.    

About you
You’re an expert in machine learning with a passion for food innovation for the betterment of the planet. You have several years of experience in industry applying novel machine learning techniques to large data sets with measurable success. You enjoy creating solutions from scratch, thrive on multi-disciplinary work, and have an endless hunger for knowledge, learning, and growth. It’s a plus if you have worked with biological data (especially regarding proteomics and small molecules modeling). 

You're comfortable exploring data and forming and testing hypotheses. You have a developed sense of whether analysis lacks rigor and how to improve it. You act like an owner, doing anything necessary to solve the problem at hand. You help define questions instead of just answering them. You work to resolve ambiguity, comfortably making decisions by relying on trusted resources.


    • Lead computational investigations that apply machine-learning approaches to structural biology as it relates to food, resulting in functional protein discoveries that enable a more sustainable food industry
    • Design, develop, and implement a machine-learning based framework across a range of learning objectives, including protein function prediction and structural enhancement, among others
    • Communicate crisply and concisely in both written and spoken communication with your cross-functional team of protein scientists, computational folks, and more
    • Capture, curate, and manage data sets, including creating data analysis tools and databases 
    • Stay up to date on literature covering cutting edge approaches and new datasets


    • Internal motivation. You expect work to be meaningful and to be part of a business dedicated to having a positive impact on the planet. You are generally flexible, self-motivated, resourceful, calm, and adaptive. 
    • Deep learning intuition. You bring intuition about datasets and experiment structures for deep learning from personal experience.
    • Creativity. You have a demonstrated ability to learn/develop novel machine learning methods, and to apply problem-solving skills to complex issues.
    • Life science data experience. You bring familiarity with the pitfalls and analytical techniques typically encountered with large biological/chemical datasets.
    • Scientific background. You have cultural familiarity with scientists and labs from personal experience. You know the language of scientists as well as that of engineers.


    • BS, MS, or PhD in computer science, statistics, mathematics, physics, engineering, or equivalent practical experience
    • 5+ years of real-world work experience in development of scalable, high-end machine learning algorithms to complex input data representations. 
    • Strong foundation of data science fundamentals, data analytics, and statistics.
    • Significant experience with at least one high-end Deep Learning framework (Tensorflow, Pytorch, Caffe, etc.), expertise in one or more general-purpose programming languages (such as Python, C/C++, or Scala). Demonstrated ability to write high-quality, production-ready code (readable, well-tested, with well-designed APIs). 
    • Experience with biological/chemical data (DNA sequences, proteomics, small molecule modeling, etc.). 
    • Strong collaborative and oral and written communication skills, able to transmit complex concepts to specialists from your own and other fields with ease.
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.