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Microbiology Research Scientist

Cemvita Factory Inc.
Houston, Missouri, US
Closing date
Jan 26, 2022

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Cemvita Factory is a biotech startup that is applying synthetic biology in their mission to be carbon negative and climate positive. Founded in 2017 in Houston, the company is engineering microbes in a Microbes-as-a-Service platform model to use carbon dioxide as a feedstock to produce an array of carbon negative industrial chemicals. Cemvita's microorganisms capture and convert CO2 into chemicals and alternative fuels, helping oil and gas companies decarbonize while transforming their byproducts into valuable feedstocks, a crucial step in building a circular carbon economy. The potential market for Cemvita Factory's engineered microbes, or bio-manufactured chemical intermediates, is enormous.

Decarbonizing heavy industry is one of the most critical challenges in addressing climate change, and Cemvita projects that by 2050 they will convert a gigaton of CO2 by using their engineered microbes. The initial focus is on converting CO2 to produce bioethylene, with 29 other chemical products targeted for development. Cemvita's bio-manufacturing platform operates under ambient temperature and pressure, which saves significant energy.

Cemvita recently closed Series A funding, with investments from leading venture capital and strong corporate partners, and plans are underway to develop a pilot plant with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures to convert CO2 to bioethylene.

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The Opportunity

As a Microbiology Research Scientist, you will be part of our company's Microbiology team, and responsible for culturing extremophiles and anaerobic microorganisms for the production of alternative/ renewable energy. The role involves deep investigations and exploration of metabolic pathways and routes that lead to byproducts and metabolites of interest. This position will expose you to a multidisciplinary group of scientists who are working together in the development of green and sustainable novel technologies that have a profound impact on decreasing global carbon emissions.

  • Lead the culturing, isolation, and maintaining of anaerobic organisms
  • Design and execute the approach for optimizing metabolite production
  • Perform DNA and RNA extraction and quantification and troubleshoot methods for environmental samples
  • Identify and characterize microorganisms through gene sequencing tools
  • Analyze/ interpret data and prepare updates and reports
  • Train new hires on safety practices, protocols and data management, and operation of analytical equipment
  • Maintain meticulous digital records of all work completed and deviations from relevant protocols
  • Assist junior team members with troubleshooting and problem solving of technical issues
  • Perform QA/QC on routine and new protocols
  • Work closely with and under supervision of Director of Microbiology
  • Consistently demonstrate company core values

  • PhD in Microbiology-relevant field
  • 2-5 years post PhD experience
  • Demonstrated strong experience with anaerobic microbiology techniques including culturing anaerobic bacteria and archaea using Hungate technique and different types of culturing systems
  • Experience with anaerobic bioreactors, digesters, and biohydrogen/biomethane production
  • In depth knowledge of hydrocarbon degradation
  • Analytical experience with GC, LCMS, and HPLC hardware and software to quantify metabolites
  • Experience with complex media culture for isolation and enrichment of microorganisms

Nice to have
  • Industry experience in petroleum microbiology or anaerobic fermentation
  • Prior experience at a biotech startup
  • Experience with genetic engineering/ synthetic biology of anaerobic organisms
  • Experience with microbial electrosynthesis

Cemvitans are passionate about science and proud of their work, not afraid to think big and defy the impossible, and always ready to embrace multidisciplinary approaches. The Cemvita Way is based on first-principles thinking, where everyone strives to raise the bar every day and be a force-multiplier. They strive to create the future, leave a legacy, and celebrate wins along the way.

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