Director of Discovery

  • Shiru
  • Emeryville, CA
  • Nov 18, 2020

Job Description

About us At Shiru we believe that food should be delicious and nourishing without negatively affecting our planet. Acknowledging our growing global population as well as the imminent effects of climate change, Shiru’s mission is to create better protein ingredients that will catapult us into a sustainable food future. 
With our mission in mind, Shiru makes high quality, functional food proteins through better leveraging our precious environmental resources. To do this, we employ technologies originally  created to solve problems in adjacent industries, including computational biology, machine learning, and industrial fermentation and bioprocessing.
We apply computational intelligence to find the most functional natural food proteins in the world, harnessing the inherent ability of microflora to produce them. We then partner with food and beverage companies to incorporate these unique protein ingredients into everyday products. Shiru is now expanding our team of dedicated professionals across multiple disciplines to make enhanced protein ingredients for a better world.
About the roleShiru’s Director of Discovery will lead a team of extraordinary researchers using technologies spanning molecular biology, protein chemistry, automation, as well as materials and food science to exploit the vast resources of the plant kingdom to make better food. The discovery team at Shiru is responsible for screening functional food proteins capable of replacing less sustainable ingredients.  At Shiru we identify ideal food proteins by mining curated protein libraries, producing proteins via high throughput fermentation, and testing their properties in novel assays to screen for food functionality. Shiru’s discovery team develops novel assays, executes high-throughput protein production, performs large-scale data analysis, leads technology platform development, and aids in scientific consulting with customers. You will be responsible for the management and growth of scientists on the team, resource allocation, and delivering functional protein candidates that meet commercial project needs.
Your work will be critical to bringing sustainable, functional protein ingredients to market by cultivating a best in class team of interdisciplinary research scientists to identify ideal protein ingredients for a range of different applications. Your role at Shiru will be varied, with clear communication critical to your success. Ensuring that your team is fully integrated and well-aligned with the work of the company as a whole will guide you towards success in this position.
About youYou are an experienced people manager and scientist with demonstrated capabilities in project management and resource allocation. With your passion for using biology for the good of the planet, your research has spanned the fields of protein, biochemistry, and HTS. Ideally, you have led the development of multiple functional protein screens from conception, development, and piloting through execution. You have an understanding and deep appreciation for how machine learning, automation, and other high-tech approaches from industries outside of food can be used to scale screening and thereby discovery. You tackle problems hands-on, arriving at solutions to complex problems through scientific knowledge and leveraging the expertise of your team. You are detail oriented and enjoy strategy and planning as much as execution, which from time to time means troubleshooting alongside your team at the bench. You know how to grow and motivate a high performing team of experts and prioritize professional development in your team members. 


  • Lead a multi-disciplinary team of world-class researchers, implementing growth opportunities, career mentoring, recruiting, and hiring
  • Manage and drive internal new discovery processes, communicating stage gates with leadership and ensuring a high quality of deliverables from the discovery team throughout the process
  • Work with leadership to effectively and transparently establish and refine strategy and priorities and allocate research-related resources
  • Identify, establish, nurture, and complete collaborations with leading academic or industry partners
  • Use creativity and problem-solving to develop and refine innovative research approaches leveraging best in class and new/emerging technologies
  • Work with senior scientists to ensure the technical quality of the group’s work
  • Evaluate and align internal technology assets in support of Shiru’s overall business development


  • You are generally flexible, self-motivated, resourceful, calm, and adaptive
  • You are comfortable with a rapid pace of work in a dynamic environment
  • You are equally comfortable challenging as you are with being challenged
  • Resilient attitude with exemplary scientific and personal integrity
  • Excellent communication and stakeholder management skills
  • Track record of aligning strategy, resources, and prioritization with project goals
  • Ability to identify trade-offs and, when necessary, say no
  • You want work to be meaningful and to be part of a business dedicated to having a positive impact on the planet


  • PhD in Protein Biochemistry, Materials Chemistry, Biophysics, Bioengineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or equivalent, or BS/MS with equivalent experience
  • 5+ years post-PhD (or equivalent) industry research experience in biotechnology, assay development, or high-throughput screening
  • 2+ years of people management experience, managing teams of at least 8 people
  • Solid background in biology/chemistry/materials/food or related fields, with an appreciation of how molecular level properties relate to food function
  • Must have the ability to move between micro and macro orientations with judgment and must be willing to jump in and get “hands dirty” with detail when necessary
  • Excellent data management practices
  • Familiarity with software, programming, and/or laboratory automation a plus
At Shiru, we're looking for people with passion, grit, and integrity. You're encouraged to apply even if your experience doesn't precisely match the job description. We’re expecting your skills and passion to stand out—and set you apart—especially if your career has taken some extraordinary twists and turns. Please join us in this singular opportunity to create the future of food!  
Shiru is an equal opportunity employer who values diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. Shiru offers competitive compensation and employee benefits along with an attractive equity package commensurate with candidate qualifications.

Organization Type



Food & Agriculture

Drawdown Solutions

Plant-Rich Diets

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