Hiring Scientist/Sr. Scientist, Protein Engineering | Birch Biosciences

Scientist/Sr. Scientist, Protein Engineering

Birch Biosciences

Date listed

2 months ago

Employment Type

Full time

Today, only 9% of plastic is recycled, and plastic demand is expected to triple by 2050, so our plastic problem is only going to get worse unless we do something about it.

Birch Biosciences is a startup company based in Portland, Oregon that engineers enzymes for plastic recycling using synthetic biology and machine learning. Engineered enzymes act as “molecular scissors” to break down plastic polymers in a high yield, circular process that enables manufacture of high quality, 100% recycled plastic products. Our bio-enzymatic recycling process is low cost, high yield, and reduces CO2 emissions by > 50%.

We’re worried about climate change, and are building a team of individuals who share our passion for solving this problem through close collaboration and a sense of urgency.  We’re building a different kind of company, where employees think like owners, act with authority, and collaborate closely with one another.

We are seeking a highly motivated and driven Scientist/Sr. Scientist to join our Protein Engineering team.  In this role, you will be responsible for designing and optimizing enzymes for plastic degradation using high throughput assays. You will work closely with a team of interdisciplinary scientists to develop and test novel enzymes with improved activity and stability for breaking down plastics. If you are a self-starter with a passion for novel enzyme development and expertise in protein engineering, we’d love to speak with you!



  • Design and optimize enzymes for plastic degradation using protein engineering techniques
  • Develop and implement high throughput assays to screen for enzymes with improved activity and stability
  • Design complex combinatorial enzyme variant libraries
  • Perform molecular docking simulations of enzyme-polymer interactions
  • Interrogate and optimize hydrophobic protein-substrate interactions
  • Analyze and interpret experimental data to guide enzyme optimization strategies
  • Express, purify, and characterize engineered protein variants using high-throughput methods (affinity, ion exchange, and size exclusion chromatography)
  • Optimize expression and purification of poorly soluble protein variants
  • Benchmark enzyme activity using quantitative protein normalization assays
  • Scale the expression, purification, and characterization of enzymes from deepwell plates to fermentation scale
  • Develop assays using fluorescent reporters, HPLC, and similar methods to characterize protein activity and probe enzyme kinetics
  • Analyze large protein variant data sets to assist in the training of statistical models
  • Work collaboratively with a team of interdisciplinary scientists to test and validate novel enzymes



  • MS or PhD in Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Biophysics, Molecular Biology, or a related field; strong preference for PhD
  • 5+ years of laboratory experience directly related to protein engineering
  • Understanding of structure/functional relationships and biological consequences of protein modifications
  • 5+ years of biochemistry experience; expertise in protein expression, purification, and characterization
  • 5+ years experience with assay development
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Passion for solving hard technical problems


Nice-to-haves (but not required):

  • Experience dealing with hydrophobic protein substrates and understanding polymer interactions
  • Previous startup experience preferred
  • Previous technical and program management experience preferred


Compensation and benefits at Birch Biosciences include:

  • Base Salary and Equity
  • Generous paid time off policy that includes: 3 weeks, approximately 1 additional week during year end holidays, and 5 federal holidays of your choice
  • Health Reimbursement Accounts
  • 401(k) retirement savings plan with employer match


As we continue to grow, our benefits package will evolve.  The benefits outlined above are accurate as of the job posting date, but may differ at time of hire.

Birch Biosciences is an equal opportunity employer promoting diversity and inclusion in the workspace. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), sex (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding), genetic information, taking or requesting statutorily protected leave, or any other basis protected by law.

Legal authorization to work in the United States is required. In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification form upon hire.



Birch Biosciences


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