Research Associate I/II - Strain Optimization

Berkeley, CA
5 days ago
Full time role


Half of our world’s food supply is dependent on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, yet it has serious environmental impacts. Fertilizer contributes ...

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Job Description

About Pivot Bio:  

Fueled by an innovative drive and a deep understanding of the soil microbiome, Pivot Bio is pioneering game-changing advances in agriculture. Our products harness the power of naturally occurring microbes to provide nutrients to crops and new sustainable ways for farmers to reduce the usage of fertilizers as they work to help feed the world’s growing population.

Read/Hear more about Pivot Bio on Forbes or PBS News Hour. 

Position: Research Associate I/II - Strain Optimization, Berkeley CA   

The Strain Optimization team at Pivot Bio is looking for a dynamic and motivated team member who likes tinkering with microbes and putting them into good use. This role will be instrumental in designing bacterial strains that will lead to more sustainable agricultural practices. Besides having fun using various techniques to engineer non-model microorganisms, this position will give ample opportunity for learning in vitro and in planta analytical methods to make sense of the microbe and plant interactions in a fast-pace, collaborative, and supportive start-up environment.  


  • Engineer non-model microbial organisms using established SOPs.  
  • Collaborate with Strain Analytics team for testing modified strains, analyze and report data in a timely manner.  
  • Conduct experiments both independently and under the guidance of Strain Optimization scientists.  
  • Troubleshoot and improve strain optimization protocols to adapt to novel microbes.  
  • Responsible for producing and sharing data with multiple groups within the company.  
  • Intellectually contribute to strain engineering efforts for engineering next generation strains.  
  • Keep abreast of the current literature and give presentations as needed.  
  • Keep abreast of the current literature and bring creative ideas to contribute to strain optimization efforts.  

Qualifications and Experience: 

  • BS in biological sciences or a related field, with 1+ years of experience in a molecular biology and/or microbiology laboratory or equivalent related experience.   
  • A proven command of basic molecular biology techniques, such as nucleic acid extractions, PCR, and common plasmid assembly techniques.   
  • Experience with bacterial culturing and transformation and strong understanding of bacterial growth and metabolism.   
  • Experience using software for DNA assembly and sequence analysis.  
  • A proven ability to carry out experiments with careful planning and attention to detail.  
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.  
  • Data organization and reporting with Microsoft Excel, SpotFire, Tableau or R  

What we offer: 

  • Competitive package in a disruptive startup 
  • Stock options 
  • Health/Dental/Vision insurance with employer-paid premiums 
  • Life, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability policies 
  • Employee Assistance Program with free referrals and discounts 
  • 401(k) plan, 3% Match 
  • Commuter benefits 
  • Annual Training & Development support 
  • Flexible vacation policy with a generous holiday schedule 
  • Exciting opportunity to work with a talented and fun team 

Half of our world’s food supply is dependent on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, yet it has serious environmental impacts. Fertilizer contributes ...

View Company Profile