Research Associate: Product Innovation

Number of employees


San Francisco, CA, United States

Posted on: 2023-10-30

Category: food

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Employment type:

Full time

Experience required:



Salary not provided

About the company:

Wildtype isn’t plant-based, farmed-raised, or wild-caught. We're making  cultivated seafood, starting with sushi-grade salmon. 

About Wildtype

Wildtype is on a mission to create the cleanest, most sustainable seafood on the planet, starting with sushi-grade salmon. We’re pioneering cellular agriculture to protect wild species and our oceans, and to reverse trends of global food insecurity. Wildtype will provide consumers with a new option for real seafood that provides the same nutritional benefits as the most pristine wild-caught fish, without common contaminants such as mercury, microplastics, antibiotics, or pesticides.

We were founded in 2016 by Aryé Elfenbein, a cardiologist and molecular biologist, and Justin Kolbeck (CEO), a former US diplomat who served in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in an effort to solve one of the world’s biggest problems: how to feed a growing population without stripping the earth of its natural resources and biodiversity. Investors include L Catterton, Jeff Bezos, Spark Capital, CRV, Temasek, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition, among others. 

Come join us in transforming our food system for good!

Your work at Wildtype 

  • Design and develop next-generation tissue engineering scaffolds with biopolymers and food ingredients for cultivated seafoods product development
  • Work with cell integration division to improve tissue engineering scaffolds through screening and characterization of new biopolymers, functionalization, and reformulation
  • Scale-up new cultivated seafood products from lab to pilot scale
  • Carry out experiments with the guidance of scientific leadership, maintain accurate notes, present data, engagement in product development, and planning
  • Analyze experimental samples by relevant biopolymer analytical methods, such as rheology, uniaxial compression, differential scanning calorimetry, light and fluorescence microscopy, etc.

What you bring to Wildtype

  • B.S. or M.S. in Chemical Engineering, Polymer Science, Food Science or related fields
  • 1+ year experiences (include internship and/or academic research) in a food lab or with biopolymers research (e.g. proteins, polysaccharides, carbohydrates, etc)
  • Alternative meat product (plant based or cultivated) experience is preferred but not required
  • Strong attention to detail and excellent organization skills; comfortable taking notes, writing reports, and performing laboratory-related arithmetic
  • A hunger for learning, growth, and being part of a fast-moving, interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers

What we’ll teach you

  • How to apply your biopolymer knowledge in the context of product development for the next-generation of sustainable cultivated seafood
  • Industrial scale-up of biopolymer scaffolds to unprecedented volumes
  • New techniques and functional assays such as novel tissue engineering scaffold fabrication, sustainable food development, and biopolymer rheology/DSC
  • How to continue growing as a scientist with outside-the-box thinking, creative experimental design, execution, and analysis
  • How to work with a fast-moving, interdisciplinary team working at the leading edge of numerous highly technical fields

Impact plan

  • Within 1 month you’ll have carried out your first experiment on your own, with the support of your scientific mentor. We’ll rely on you to test different formulations and other experimental reagents without supervision. You will have performed a few advanced analyses (including taste tests) on the samples you have produced. You will have defined your professional development goals for the next twelve months.
  • Within 3 months you will have mastered basic product development lab techniques within Wildtype’s unique context. You will be independently carrying out routine activities such as sourcing, tissue assembling, formulations, and biopolymer functionalization without supervision. You will have contributed to the design of several experiments.
  • Within 6 months your product development  skills will have developed to the point where you can independently train a new hire on Wildtype’s entire product production process. Your work will be organized effectively to achieve tasks on time at a high level of quality. You will have executed your first independently designed experiment with controls, and presented your findings at a company-wide research meeting. 
  • Within 12 months you’ll be managing and carrying out multiple experiments simultaneously. You will be able to articulate how your work directly impacts the company’s milestones. You will routinely take the initiative to research topics independently and volunteer new ideas and approaches.
Compensation range is listed below, in addition we offer 90th percentile equity.

Location: This position is an onsite role based in San Francisco.
Compensation (per year)
$70,000$92,000 USD


To learn more about Wildtype and see our newest updates, check out our blog! 

Wildtype is committed to building a diverse workplace spanning multiple dimensions including race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, gender identity, and veteran status.

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