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PhD Microbiologist

Pluton Biosciences

Pluton Biosciences

St. Louis, MO, USA
Posted on Monday, September 18, 2023

Pluton Biosciences, Inc. PhD Microbiologist Saint Louis, MO · Full time

We are seeking a Microbiologist to lead our microbiology team in St. Louis, MO.


Pluton Biosciences is an AgTech and ClimateTech start-up applying the latest sequencing and data science technologies and our revolutionary Micromining Innovation Engine to unlock the potential of novel microbes for solving agriculture and climate challenges. Our first products will help drive agriculture carbon-negative, reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers, and protect crops.

We are seeking a Microbiologist to lead our microbiology team in St. Louis, MO. The Microbiologist will isolate and characterize beneficial microbes and will produce prototype microbial products at lab-scale to support research activities. Experience with downstream bioprocessing of microbially-derived products is a plus. We are looking for a motivated individual with strong, creative problem-solving skills suited to a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment. The candidate must be an exceptional team player. This Microbiologist will have a significant impact on realizing Pluton’s mission to increase the sustainability of agriculture and combat climate change.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Design experiments to isolate unique and rare microbes that will improve agriculture.
  • Conduct microbial analyses, including isolation, identification, and characterization of microorganisms.
  • Work on cross-functional teams developing and executing strategies to evaluate and optimize biological activity of microbial products.
  •  Lead experiments to increase lab-scale production efficiency and product yields (approx. 1-10 L).
  • Manage lab-scale production and downstream bioprocessing.
  • Train and oversee junior scientists in the cultivation/isolation/identification of microbes; basic microbiology and aseptic techniques; microbiology assays and strain storage.
  • Design and apply molecular approaches such as mutagenesis and directed evolution to improve the performance of specific microbial technologies.
  • Write and present reports of findings to internal and external stakeholders.
  • May be required to provide guidance and assistance to junior researchers.
  • Manage resources, materials, and logistics required to design and execute experiments.
  • Determine specific technical approaches to be implemented to successfully deliver project goals on a startup timeline and budget.
  • Conduct research in accordance with or exceeding all relevant Health, Safety and Environmental guidelines.
  • Stay up to date on developments within the field to make recommendations for application of new technologies to improve current processes.


Required Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Microbiology or closely related scientific field.
  • Applied knowledge of microbial physiology, biochemistry, fermentation, and downstream bioprocessing.
  • Expertise in aseptic techniques, serial dilutions, gram staining, streaking plates, preparing cultures, plate counting.
  • Experience with the isolation and characterization of non-model microbial species, e.g., diverse soil bacteria or fungi.
  • Strong knowledge of upstream bioprocess development techniques for microbial products.
  • Experience with standard genetic and molecular techniques such selections and directed mutagenesis.
  • Excellent communication (written and verbal), interpersonal, and technical writing skills.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working on microbial products for agriculture.
  • Experience working in growth chambers, greenhouse, and/or field.

Workplace fit:

  • Dynamic startup environment, lots of opportunity to learn, spearhead new initiatives, and facilitate career growth.
  • Fast-paced work environment requiring confidence and decision-making with an interdisciplinary team.
  • Engage meaningfully with our core values of Integrity, Authenticity, Humility, Respect, Collaboration, and Community.
  • Engage daily in scientific curiosity and learning to expand beyond what’s known into what’s next.


Pluton’s team values community and collaboration. When you join Pluton, you are part of a group that works together to realize our big goals. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned expert, you’ll learn about and discuss work from across the company and contribute to solving some of the planet’s biggest problems.


Pluton offers a competitive benefits package including:

  • Medical, dental, vision and life insurance
  • 401k with match
  • Paid time off
  • Paid company holidays
  • Paid parental leave
  • Participation in company stock option plan


Diversity, equity, and inclusion are cornerstones to achieving Pluton’s mission and objectives. We strive to build and nurture a culture where diversity is valued for the perspectives gained, where everyone can expect equitable treatment, and where inclusiveness is a norm. Women and individuals from underrepresented groups often do not apply to positions where they do not meet all criteria. If this position interests you, we encourage you to apply and let us know where your strengths fit with our team; you may be just the person we are looking for.