Senior Research Associate, Fermentation

Basic Function: As a member of this R&D team, you will play an important role the development of heterotrophic and mixotrophic processes for the production and commercialization of microbial products. You will organize and perform experimental fermentation work at the laboratory and pilot scale.  You will be able to plan, operate, design control strategies, troubleshoot, analyze, interpret and report the results of these experiments. You will compile and present high quality, accurate data to both external and internal groups via reports and presentations, provide recommendations on experimental paths and plan experiments. You will support the acquisition, organization and maintenance of fermentation equipment for the microalgal cultivation and R&D laboratories.


Specific Project: The fermentation position will involve working on the bioprocess development of heterotrophic microalgae and products derived from them. The successful candidate will carry out benchtop fermenter experiments and maintain associated equipment.  The candidate will also perform supplementary experiments to study the physiology of heterotrophic microalgae and elucidate the stressors associated to the overproduction of the product of interest. The candidate will participate in commercialization efforts of algae derived products and be involved the development of new methods and analytical capabilities for each process. The candidate must be comfortable with scale-up and scale-down of microbial fermentation technology (with yeast, and/or microalgae) and available to work with other fermentation teams from other facilities that may collaborate with Heliae.


Reports to:  Manager of Fermentation


Primary Responsibilities and Duties may include but are not limited to:

  • Prepares benchtop scale fermenters for experiments. Carries out experiments with other members of the Fermentation Team.
  • Compiles and analyzes experimental data, generates final reports for fermentations and associated experiments.
  • Aids in selection of upcoming experiments based on goals, results from previous experiments and available time.
  • Utilizes experience and observations to capture knowledge from experiments, communicates the knowledge to colleagues, and makes recommendations based on this knowledge.
  • Maintains benchtop fermenter system – preventative maintenance, trouble shooting and implementation of new equipment.
  • Searches for ways to continuously improve techniques and procedures. Drive for high degree of reproducibility, consistency, and accuracy. Drive for close matching of mass, energy, and stoichiometric balances where possible to ensure validity and reproducibility of results.
  • Computes biological conversions such as biomass production rate, oxygen/CO2 uptake and/or evolution rate, carbon efficiency and nutrient mass balance.
  • Maintains benchtop fermenters (e.g. Eppendorf Bioflo, Infors)
  • Performs literature searches.
  • Prepares and inoculates axenic cultures in sterile hood environments.
  • Writes SOPs and new safety protocols for new chemicals/supplies/algal species brought on site.
  • Prepares and organizes a wide range of culture media, stock solutions, and chemical handling in a laboratory setting.
  • Maintains detailed documentation of experiments in laboratory notebooks.
  • Performs tasks assigned by direct manager and coordinates own workflow within multiple cross-functional groups.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of proprietary company information.
  • Consistently uses safe laboratory practices.
  • Performs other duties as needed or directed by supervisor.



  • BSc or MSc in Life Science, preferably cell biology or microbiology
  • 2+ years’ experience in small scale (~10L) microbial fermentation
  • Experience writing fermentation control scripts (BioCommand or similar program)
  • Experience with independent research
  • Operational understanding and proficiency with biological lab equipment including but not limited to: fermenters, light microscope, mass spec, pH and DO sensors, freezer dryer, centrifuge and others.
  • Proficiency with aseptic technique
  • High proficiency with excel, JMP or other graphical data organization platform.
  • Experience with heterotrophic and mixotrophic cultivation of microalgae a plus
  • Excellent time efficiency to balance meeting requirements, indoor work, outdoor work, and report writing.
  • Fluent English, written and spoken.
  • Excellent communication (written and oral), analytical and technical skills


Physical Requirements:

  • The ability to work 40 or more hours per week at Heliae’s headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona, including occasional weekend days
  • Occasionally (0-33%) lift or carry up to 60 lbs
  • Frequently (34%-66%) perform fine manipulations with hands and fingers
  • The ability to travel if needed for conferences or workshops


Heliae is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. If you need assistance or an accommodation during the application process because of a disability, it is available upon request. The company is pleased to provide such assistance, and no applicant will be penalized as a result of such a request.

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