Research Associate II

Number of employees


Berkeley, CA, United States

Posted on: 2024-02-07

Category: agritech

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Employment type:

Full time

Experience required:



Salary not provided

About the company:

Pivot Bio is the leading nitrogen innovator providing farmers and the world with a better nitrogen for improved productivity and sustainability

About Pivot Bio:  

At Pivot Bio, we are working together to transform agriculture, finding smarter, more sustainable and, ultimately, more profitable ways for farmers to grow. Working with and for farmers, we’re using cutting-edge science to create a microbial nitrogen for the world’s most vital crops. We are replacing synthetic fertilizers with a more sustainable, nature-driven plant nutrition that benefits farmers, consumers and the planet.

We are looking for a strong researcher who thrives in the laboratory. The successful candidate should be willing to learn and support innovation, while maintaining excellent laboratory practices. Reporting to the formulation scientist, and working in a beautiful laboratory facility in Berkeley, the candidate will be responsible for supporting the development of innovative formulations intended to deliver microbial actives that improve nitrogen use efficiency in corn. We are seeking a candidate with prior hands-on experience with cell separation technologies, such as tangential flow filtration (TFF). Familiarity with drying technologies including freeze drying and spray drying is a plus. The candidate should have a strong foundation in chemistry, a working knowledge of microbiology, an eye for detail, skill with troubleshooting laboratory equipment, and excellent verbal and written communication skills. We expect the candidate to thrive in a fast-paced environment, adapt to changing research objectives, and operate independently with minimal oversight. If this is you, you will enjoy the satisfaction of being a crucial member of a growing team innovating the most cutting edge products in Ag Biologicals.  

This is an Associate role. Performs research in cloning, fermentation, protein expression and purification. Participates in activities such as RNA isolation, cDNA library construction, library amplification, genomic DNA isolation, random shotgun cloning, polymerase chain reaction, and other standard molecular biology techniques. May assist in transcription profiling and array-based technologies such as probe generation and hybridization. Uses sequence analysis tools and library normalization and subtraction protocols as well as RNA isolation. Also prepares technical reports, summaries, protocols, and quantitative analyses. 

  • Lead laboratory-scale TFF cell recovery efforts including operation, maintenance, troubleshooting, vendor communications, and exploring system flexibility and alternative configurations   
  • Conduct experiments examining how formulation and process variables impact the biological and physical quality of laboratory prototypes, producing replicable results that are statistically relevant   
  • Onboard new analytical and processing techniques, conducting validation experiments to assess their potential incorporation into formulation workflows   
  • Work in a laboratory setting to generate liquid and dry microbial formulations   
  • Operate and maintain lab-scale processing and analytical equipment   
  • Handle microbial samples (including powders) in a manner that promotes operator safety, lab hygiene, and sample integrity
  • Maintain samples in an organized manner while conducting long term shelf life studies 
  • Plate and count microbes using aseptic technique   
  • Analyze samples for water activity, moisture content, viscosity, pH, flowability   
  • Document experiment details and data in both physical and electronic notebooks  
  • Collect, enter, and analyze data   
  • Follow (and develop new) SOPs  

Required education and experience 

  • Bachelor of science degree in life sciences, food science, biological systems engineering, biochemical engineering, or related field or equivalent experience    
  • 2+ years' experience in a fast-paced industry research lab environment   
  • Prior experience with tangential flow filtration / membrane separations at laboratory or pilot scale   
  • Familiar with sterile/aseptic technique for handling microbes    
  • Comfortable with standard microbiology techniques, including CFU/viability plating for cell counting   

Physical demands

  • Job will involve a mix of laboratory and computer-based work    
  • Repeating motions that may include the wrists, hands, or fingers   
  • Sedentary work that primarily involves sitting/standing
  • Communicating with others to exchange information  
  • Occasionally perform physically repetitive tasks like pipetting, sample weighing, and sample packaging   
  • Occasionally lift up to 50 pounds with assistance 
  • Able to work 8-hour workdays and 5-day work weeks on site 

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

*Internal employees, please apply by clicking on the Internal Job Board icon on NSIDER

The salary range for this Berkeley, CA based position incorporates a premium for the cost of labor in this area.  If this role is hired remotely, contact us for the lower range for National Benchmark.  Following employment, growth beyond the hiring range is possible based on performance.

Hiring Compensation Range
$66,585$83,231 USD

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