Website Switch Bioworks

The living fertilizer company

About us: Switch Bioworks is an early stage biotech startup that spun out of Stanford. Our mission is to feed a growing world sustainably by displacing industrial nitrogen fertilizer that is damaging the planet. To do this, we’ve developed and patented a new technology based on synthetic biology and the natural plant microbiome. We are looking for talent to help us realize our vision. Some call it a moonshot. We call it an earthshot.

About the position: As a microbiome Scientist, you will be coming in on the ground floor to help lead our charge in engineering the soil microbiome, studying colonization and community composition of engineered strains in soil and on plants, and identifying microbial chasses and colonization maximizing approaches. You will work with research associates and scientists to program strains you identify with nitrogen fertilizer production circuits + study their effect on plant growth promotion. As an early team member, you will also proactively shape the scientific and strategic vision of the company.

Characteristics of a successful candidate: 

  • Ability to work full-time in the US and be on-site in the California Bay Area.
  • PhD in life sciences or similar level of experience, including publication of impactful papers. (Note: to properly acknowledge significant experience you might have beyond this, we will bring you on as a Scientist II or Senior Scientist).
  • Expertise in all or most of the following: microbiome community characterization (e.g. gut microbiome composition and gene expression), microbe enrichment and isolation from complex environments, building and studying small synthetic communities, qPCR + next generation sequencing, quantitative colonization assay development, nitrogen fixation, plant-microbe interactions.
  • Preferred (but not required): experience growing and handling plants (gnotobiotic hydroponics or soil).
  • An independent thinker, able to contribute new ideas and read the literature.
  • Excellent presentation, writing, and data analysis skills; ability to clearly communicate technical information to colleagues.
  • A team player, including excitement to recruit, train, and work with research associates.
  • An execution-focused self-starter – a generalist problem solver with drive to acquire new skills as needed.
  • Positive can-do attitude.

Want to learn more or apply? E-mail the following to (1) your resume, (2) a paragraph or cover letter about why you’re excited to join Switch, (3) when you’d want to start. We’ll take it from there!

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