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Strain Engineer: Spiber – Tsuruoka, Japan

About Spiber:

Established in 2007, Spiber Inc. is a Japanese biotechnology venture engaged in the development of novel sustainable materials. We recently announced Brewed Protein™, our proprietary protein material produced through an entirely in-house brewing (i.e. fermentation) process. Free from reliance on animal and petroleum resources, this revolutionary new material is well-positioned to contribute to animal-free and microplastic-free initiatives in industries such as apparel, transportation, construction, and artificial hair. Our partners include Goldwin, distributor and producer of The North Face products in Japan; Kojima Industries Corporation, auto parts manufacturer and tier-one supplier to Toyota; synthetic hair producer Aderans; tire manufacturer Bridgestone; and Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. We have also partnered with fashion designer Yuima Nakazato to create a couture collection for Fall/Winter 2019/20 at Paris Fashion Week. Our MOON PARKA® outerwear jacket, a collaborative effort with The North Face, saw a limited release in Japan in December 2019. We are currently constructing our first overseas mass production plant—a world-class structural protein production facility in Thailand.

Job description:

As a member of the host development team, you will work on the development of microorganisms that are used to produce structural proteins, mainly through host optimization. This task requires close collaboration with up- and down-stream teams that are working on topics such as protein design and fermentation. Through large-scale screening of mutant strains and systematic analysis, you will search for mutations that are instrumental in reaching target production levels. You will also use techniques such as genome editing and long-chain gene synthesis to feed those results back into the development of production strains, and take on a leadership role in one of more of these technologies.

Required skills:

  • Experience in research, experimentation, and leadership in a field such as bacterial
    genetics or genetic engineering (please attach relevant research documents when
  • Ph.D. or equivalent research experience

Preferred skills:
Bioinformatics experience in tasks such as:

  • Computational simulation of metabolism (e.g. flux balance analysis)
  • Genome sequencing and analysis of mutations
    (Please attach relevant research documents when applying)

Working at Spiber and life in Japan:

Salary system

At Spiber, each individual decides their own salary, and all salaries are freely visible to everyone else in our team. As members of a society with limited resources, we have an obligation to take responsibility for the salaries we choose. Spiber team members creatively evaluate their salaries using a variety of metrics—the company’s current circumstances; the sort of value created; the balance between oneself, one’s team members, and society; and more. This system represents a considerable departure from how most of us think about salaries, and requires a great deal of consideration and self-evaluation. The process isn’t always an easy one, but we believe it provides exciting opportunities for personal responsibility and growth.

Flexible work style

Spiber employees are free to join any meeting, project, or team that they think they can learn from or contribute to. Our flex time system allows employees to set their own work hours. Our dress code is relaxed, and all employees are free to work in any part of the office that they like.

Location in the Japanese countryside

Our corporate style requires constant communication within a close-knit community. That’s why, in general, we ask all our team members to relocate to our company headquarters located in the beautiful Shonai region of Yamagata, Japan. Our office windows look out over rice fields and mountain ranges, and a twenty-minute drive will have you at the beach with surf, sun, and hot springs.

Assistance with moving to Japan

Spiber will help employees coming from abroad with their visa application, travel to Japan (reimbursed by the company), and initial setup (finding an apartment, registering at city hall,etc.).

Language support

Can’t tell your 左 from your 右? Don’t sweat it—Japanese language ability is not a requirement for applying. We have a multilingual and multicultural team that is ready and willing to help when needed. For those who are interested, free Japanese tutoring is also offered (and counts as working time, too).


Under ‘Self Promotional Materials,’ please attach materials that detail your research experience (research paper, thesis, etc.). Please include up to ten important papers, and for up to three of these, please include a short description of the research and your specific role(s) in the research.


Lio Tariman

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