Sr. Research Associate, Molecular Biology & Strain Improvement

Sr. Research Associate, Molecular Biology & Strain Improvement 150 150 checkerspot

Title: Sr. Research Associate, Molecular Biology & Strain Improvement

Type: Full-Time

Location: Berkeley, CA

Supervisor: Senior Director, Molecular Biology & Strain Improvement


Checkerspot designs performance materials at a molecular level.  It does this by optimizing microbes to biomanufacture unique structural oils produced in nature, but not previously accessible at commercial scale.  A certified B-Corporation, Checkerspot’s first materials are next generation polyurethanes and textile finishes designed to improve the performance of consumer products.  The company is currently commercializing a performance composite engineered into skis and sold through its WNDR® Alpine brand, as well as algal oil formulated into miDori® BioWick and sold in partnership with Beyond Surface Technologies.  Checkerspot’s mission is to expand the palette of molecular building blocks for high performance and sustainable materials. 


Our company culture can best be understood through experience.  Come get to know us!  We’d like to be known more by what we do than what we say.


We seek an enthusiastic, team-oriented, problem solver to join our Molecular Biology & Strain Development group as a Senior Research Associate.  Key responsibilities will include:

  • Managing the platform strain engineering and development process, including transformation, propagation, and cryo-preservation 
  • Assessing microbial strain performance data and benchmarking against commercial performance metrics
  • Developing new assays to assess strain performance
  • Managing a high throughput, automated screening pipeline
  • Developing and maintaining automated liquid handling systems to facilitate screening for classically improved and/or successfully engineered strains and to address mission-critical biological strain performance issues  
  • Supporting molecular biology activities including DNA plasmid preparation and enzymatic manipulation of nucleic acids, as needed


  • Minimum of 6+ years of industry experience or a B.S. or M.S. degree in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, or related disciplines with 10+ years of relevant hands-on academic research experience
  • High throughput screening or lab automation experience, including script writing
  • Experience with standard molecular biology/molecular genetics techniques 
  • Experience with fungal, plant, or microbial model systems or with high throughput screens in mammalian cells 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Experience with collaborating with cross-functional teams and reporting results to management
  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced, dynamic environment
  • Committed to safety in a laboratory environment
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis


Checkerspot offers its employees a competitive benefits and compensation package. 

Checkerspot is an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, genetic information, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis.

For consideration, please submit your résumé and brief cover letter: