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Senior Research Associate - Downstream Process Development

Debut Biotech

Debut Biotech

San Diego, CA, USA
Posted on Friday, November 10, 2023

Senior Research Associate – Downstream Process Development


About Debut

Debut is the unconventional innovation lab spearheading the next generation of big business. Only Debut has a scalable, integrated, climate-positive creation model powered by biotechnology that puts human wellbeing at the center of everything we do—setting the new standard for profitable business and a new pace for an ever-changing world.  Our hybrid biotechnology approaches unlock latent markets, providing access to sustainably produced, natural ingredients with health benefits that cannot be obtained through other methods. We are committed to traversing the entire process, from ingredient discovery to the scaling of these products, for consumer markets. If you are passionate, enjoy fast-paced innovation and collaborative teams, then Debut is for you.  

Debut Biotechnology is seeking a Senior Research Associate in downstream process development for small molecule purification. You will develop (and track the data of) robust & scalable downstream processes, communicate these investigations in the form of written reports and presentations, and support pilot-scale process operations to maximize product yield. This individual should have hands-on experience with the unit operations and relevant bench/pilot equipment that can be used for purification & physical separations. As such, those with backgrounds in chemistry & chemical engineering are strongly encouraged to apply.  

The successful candidate will work closely with the internal members of the downstream process development team, as well as cross-functionally with fermentation scientists, pilot plant associates, biologists, chemists, and engineers. 

Essential Functions 

  • Carry out bench & pilot-scale studies to support process development, optimization, & characterization. 
  • Coordinate with adjacent groups to ensure requirements of downstream process development are met (e.g. starting material from fermentation team, sample analysis from analytical team) 
  • Prepare and process samples for data analysis. 
  • Generate and report data appropriately. Emphasis on process flow diagrams, yields, mass & energy balances. 
  • Document experimental studies in reports, datasheets and presentations and author/edit standard operating procedures (SOPs) 
  • Present experimental work to internal and external collaborators. 
  • As needed, support downstream process pilot operations for robustness testing of established processes.  
  • Support tech transfer of developed process to allow for scale up at contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs). 

Education and Experience 

  • Bachelors/Masters degree in Biology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or related subject. 
  • 4-6 years of relevant industrial experience in downstream process development and/or purification of small molecules from complex matrices (e.g. fermentation broth). 
  • Attention to detail and meticulous record keeping is required. 
  • Experience with separation and purification technologies (centrifugation, filtration [both dead-end and cross-flow], liquid-liquid extraction, crystallization) desired.  
  • Experience working with relevant bench and pilot-scale DSP equipment strongly preferred. 
  • Experience providing on-site support at CMOs during scale-up a plus. 
  • Must be motivated and able to work under tight deadlines. 
  • Ability to work both collaboratively and independently as required. 
  • Strong planning, organizational, time management and communication skills. 

Essential Physical Characteristics 

The physical characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of a job, on a case-by-case basis. 

  • Continuous upward and downward flexion of the neck.  
  • Frequent: sitting, repetitive use of hands to operate computers, printers and copiers.  
  • Frequently uses hands to feel objects or control tools (e.g. pipetting).  Laboratory operations require dexterity and care to perform studies as required. 
  • Occasional: walking, standing, climbing stairs, bending and twisting of neck, bending and twisting of waist, squatting, simple grasping, reaching above and below shoulder level, and occasional lifting and carrying of files or material weighing up to 50 pounds. 
  • Must be willing to work with biohazardous agents (up to BSL2). 
  • The R&D laboratory will result in exposure to hot and cold temperatures, noise, fumes, limited dust, and oily coolants. 
  • The performance of this position will present exposure to an industrial environment and requires support and compliance with the published Company PPE policy including but not limited to the use of personal protective equipment such as safety glasses with side shields, appropriate attire, safety shoes, hard hat, hearing protection, etc. 

Condition of Employment 

As part of Debut’s pre-employment process, prospective candidates will undergo a background check prior to beginning employment. Additional types of background investigations may be conducted based on the job-related activities of the position. 

Debut is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran, or disability status. 

Salary Range: $75k - $90k

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