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Director, Upstream Process Development

Bluestem Biosciences

Bluestem Biosciences

Omaha, NE, USA · Remote
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2024

Job Description

Posted on:

August 29, 2023

Bluestem Biosciences, Inc., is a decarbonized chemicals company using programmable biology for the biomanufacturing of commodity chemicals in the Midwest. We are designing biology with “the end in mind” to enable existing infrastructure to make chemicals using organisms, not from oil.

We are seeking a full-time Director or Senior Scientist for Upstream Fermentation Process Development to join Bluestem’s top-talented scientific team. Ideal candidates will be experts in microbial fermentation process engineering (de novo process design, optimization, scale-up/scale-down, and tech transfer), preferably in anaerobic processes. Additionally, they will have a demonstrated ability to calculate critical yield and rate parameters. This role will be collaboration with our metabolic engineering and systems biology scientists, as well as our external research partners to facilitate a continually optimized approach to discovery.


  • Leverage knowledge of bioprocess design (e.g. feedstock and other raw material inputs, physical infrastructure at scale, feeding and control schemes) to enhance existing TEA models
  • Develop new process (scale-down) and direct the development of required analytical methods to enable strain screening (microtiter plates, flasks, ambr, and/or bench-scale bioreactors)
  • Design, manage the execution of critical fermentation process development experiments to maximize understanding of strain physiology during development to inform and drive continuous strain and process improvement
  • Manage external partners to summarize, analyze, and present experimental results to expedite strain and process development in a collaborative team environment
  • Lead process characterization (CPPs), optimization, and control (QBD) to enable scale-up of processes to pilot scale and beyond, including technology transfer between third parties
  • Provide knowledge and insights to inform utility, system, or equipment upgrades or expansions.
  • Explore technology advancement opportunities, carry out evaluations of new technology, and support implementation efforts.
  • Evaluate / Audit external lab and research partners for fermentation capabilities at various scales (bench, pilot, demo)


  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Fermentation Science, Microbiology Physiology, or related scientific field plus 5+ year(s) in a fermentation research and development position. Differing combinations of experience and education will also be considered.
  • Demonstrated hands-on experience and knowledge of fermentation science and biochemical engineering principles, theory, and practice, with a strong understanding of cellular physiology to design new or troubleshoot and improve existing processes
  • Hands-on experience with optimization of media, anaerobic fermentation process design and control, and operations at laboratory scale (pilot/demo/commercial scale experience a plus), including experience with automated and semi-automated process control strategies with dynamic control logic (e.g. pH-controlled fed batch processes)
  • Experience with a variety of microbes (preferably yeast), a variety of growth processes (microaerobic, and anaerobic)
  • Expertise with various statistical concepts and experience with software packages for analyzing large datasets, such as JMP or R, and familiarity with “plate to tank” correlation
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal and ability to work in a dynamic and fast-paced environment (start-up!)
  • Self-starter and ability to lead projects, build relationships and be a vocal representative of the company
  • Organizational agility and the ability to show collaboration and interest across the organization to bring together multi-disciplines and synthesize for external communications
  • Possess a Growth Mindset and open mind that seeks continuous learning from feedback, setbacks and failure on the journey to achieving results
  • Embraces diversity, models equity in action and contributes to a high trust and inclusive work environment that supports team members in doing the best work of their careers at Bluestem
  • Humble, Hungry and Smart with a grounded “otherish” approach to collaboration, an ownership mentality with a bias towards execution, and the ability to read and lead yourself so that you can more effectively read and lead others

Bluestem is excited to offer a remote-first working model. Team members can work primarily remotely. Conditions permitting, teams will meet in person every quarter or two at Bluestem’s hub, in Omaha, NE. We believe this balanced, flexible approach gives our team members the best of both worlds: plenty of focus time along with in-person collaboration that fosters trust, unlocks creativity, and further fuels innovation.

Bluestem is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity or Veteran status. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements.

If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation, please let us know by emailing