Hiring Scientist/Senior Scientist, Polymer Chemistry | Birch Biosciences

Scientist/Senior Scientist, Polymer Chemistry

Birch Biosciences

Date listed

1 week 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 an expert in polymer chemistry to join our growing team as a Scientist/Senior Scientist.  In this role, you will lead the efforts for developing analytical techniques to characterize polyurethane breakdown and support downstream activities for measuring purity and recovery of polymers.  You will be the subject matter expert in chemistry/polymer chemistry at Birch and you will be tasked with leveraging your expertise to help make business decisions around projects the team takes on.  If you are a self-starter who is interested in helping to build a company from the ground up, we’d love to hear from you!


  • Develop analytical methods for detection and quantification of plastic polymers, oligomers, and monomers using modern techniques and instrumentation (e.g. HPLC, SEC, LC/GC-MS, DSC/ITC, FTIR, NMR)
  • Identify polymer degradation products from uncharacterized and heterogeneous biological mixtures
  • Develop and synthesize novel polymers for quantitative detection of enzyme activity in microfluidics assays
  • Collaborate with protein engineers to optimize enzyme-polymer interactions, including enzyme activity and specificity
  • Collaborate with bioprocess engineers to characterize polymer breakdown at bench and pilot plant scale using analytical chemistry and related techniques
  • Collaborate with bioprocess engineers to develop monomer recovery and purification protocols that exceed customer yield and quality specifications
  • Synthesize 100% recycled plastic resin from monomers and evaluate resin quality


  • MS or PhD in Polymer Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, or a related field
  • 5+ years of hands on laboratory experience with petrochemical based polymers/synthetic polymer chemistry
  • 5+ years of experience developing analytical methods
  • Expertise with analytical chemistry instrumentation (HPLC, MS, DSC, FTIR, etc.)
  • Knowledge of process chemistry
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Passion for solving hard technical problems

Nice-to-haves (but not required):

  • Plastic recycling experience
  • Knowledgeable in the field of biochemistry
  • Develop and synthesize novel polymers with fluorescent probes
  • Previous startup experience preferred
  • Previous technical team and program management experience preferred

Title and compensation will be based on level of experience with requested qualifications and may range from Scientist to Senior Scientist.


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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