Head of Fermentation

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
You will be responsible for building the capacity and team for piloting, scale-up, and subsequent production of Shiru ingredients via precision fermentation. You will ensure all necessary resources are in place to enable this critical stage in Shiru product development is successful; this includes installing and commissioning bench fermentation capability, construction of a new pilot fermentation plant, supporting techno-economic analysis to select the most appropriate future full-scale production, and of course, recruiting and developing a team to support this ambitious agenda. This is an exciting enterprise at the cutting edge of food technology and you will have all the resources you need to ensure world-class success.

About you
You have extensive practical experience in microbial fermentation process development & production. You have led projects developing, optimizing, advancing, and scaling fermentation processes and have a deep understanding of the critical factors involved in commercialization. You are capable of balancing the needs of the science & engineering of food-grade fermentation with economic and business factors and as such you are a skilled collaborator with internal and external stakeholders. You have a curious mind and wish to push the boundaries of knowledge in this fast-developing discipline while being practical enough to know that concrete results matter. Finally, you can express and communicate the issues and requirements of your field to other stakeholders in the business to enable rapid strategic decision-making.


    • Lead the design, build & execution of critical fermentation process development from bench through pilot to production.
    • Build the team and facilities to execute the Shiru fermentation strategy. This includes the commissioning of an in-house pilot facility and identification of future full-scale production options.
    • Develop & mentor your self-recruited world-class fermentation team.
    • Work in close partnership with the Shiru strain development team and external partners to develop and optimize microbial fermentation processes.
    • Design, plan, and execute fermentation experiments including; analyzing data, developing conclusions, and making recommendations for future implementation plans.
    • Troubleshoot experimental, operational, and equipment issues and implement solutions.
    • Optimize fermentation processes from plate scale up to 200L bioreactors.
    • Actively participate in external forums and initiatives to ensure Shiru is at the forefront of food-grade fermentation.
    • Lead internal and external technology transfer projects.


    • Masters or PhD in Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Chemistry, or a related field.
    • 7+ years of industry experience in fermentation technology, process development, and scale-up in an industrial setting.
    • Experience working with various microbes, fermentation processes, and product types.
    • Experience with design of experiment, data analysis, and troubleshooting.
    • Strong practical understanding of microbial fermentation and scale-up.


    • Outstanding team player with excellent written, verbal, and visual communication skills.
    • A curious mind with the desire to grow, learn and adopt new technologies and techniques for process improvements.
    • Able to flex and adapt within an exciting startup environment.
    • A passion to develop better, more tasty & sustainable food products for the world in line with the Shiru mission.
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.