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Sr. Scientific Engineering Associate – Bioproduct Recovery and Catalysis, Berkeley Lab (Bay Area, California)

Berkeley Lab (LBNL) addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Berkeley Lab’s Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division has an opening for an experienced scientist or engineer to join the team at the Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU). The Sr. Scientific Engineering Associate (SEA) will focus on developing technologies as well as managing projects related to biomass conversion (i.e., pretreatment, hydrolysis and fermentation) and bioproduct recovery/upgrading activities.


What You Will Do:

  • Independently plan, lead and execute process development, piloting related projects and experiments in collaboration with industry, academic, and Federal R&D sponsors and partners.
  • Act as project lead for assigned projects including communications with clients/other laboratories, proposal preparation/review, resource planning, weekly meetings and reports as specified.
  • Integrate catalysis and recovery efforts and work closely with other teams on multiple projects.  Provide support and lead elements of project work in these areas as needed and appropriate.
  • Follow the safety guidelines of LBNL; participate in and contribute to continuous safety improvement. Be available for periodic shift and weekend on-call duty for facility emergencies.
  • Maintain detailed experiment records (notebook, batch records), collect data, analyze data and report findings in written and oral presentations.
  • Supervise, train and lead the workflow of junior technical staff.  
  • Write manuscripts and participate in the authoring of grant proposals, patent applications, and internal/external presentations, and contribute significantly to the intellectual growth of the organization.   
  • Direct the process of selection, improvement, and maintenance of equipment and laboratory facilities in the catalysis and recovery area.
  • Use statistical design of experiments and data analysis software where necessary.
  • Perform system suitability testing, statistical process control, root cause failure analysis, and other problem solving and prevention techniques.
  • Participate and occasionally lead group/team meetings including PowerPoint presentations applying good verbal and written communication skills.
  • Keep abreast of current scientific literature.
  • Present findings at meetings and conferences.
  • Perform research activities including scheduling and project management, experimental design, execution of chemical catalysis unit operations at bench and 100L-scale, execution of processes for bench and pilot-scale fermentation, execution of recovery and purification processes (filtration, centrifugation, distillation, etc.), and execution of associated analytical methods.

Additional Responsibilities as needed:

  • Assist with general lab activities such as clean up, waste disposal, purchasing, etc.


What Is Required:

  • Knowledge equivalent to Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Biochemistry or related areas.
  • 3-6 years’ experience in bioprocess engineering, including experience with both biomass conversion and bioproduct recovery.
  • Experience with catalysis and downstream processing unit operations, including pressure vessels, distillation, liquid-liquid extraction, and solid-liquid separation.
  • Extensive experience with process optimization and scale-up for biomass conversion and bioproduct recovery using various methods with an understanding of reaction and separation mechanisms.
  • Experience with fermentation process development and bio-based product isolation and purification methodologies.
  • Experience in the supervision of technical staff and/or undergraduate/graduate students.
    Strong analytical skills, with the ability to present data coherently, suitable for inclusion in peer-reviewed publications. Experience in developing and running analytical chemistry methods (HPLC, GC, etc.)
  • Strong problem-solving capabilities with demonstrated ability to present novel methods and techniques to solve problems within broadly defined objectives.
  • Ability to learn and implement unique experimentation techniques.
  • Strong written and oral communications skills, with the ability to effectively guide the research efforts of junior staff.


The posting shall remain open until the position is filled.



    • This is a full time career appointment.
    • Full-time, M-F, exempt (monthly paid) from overtime pay.
    • Salary is commensurate with experience.
    • This position may be subject to a background check. Any convictions will be evaluated to determine if they directly relate to the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Having a conviction history will not automatically disqualify an applicant from being considered for employment.



Anissa Cooke

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