Scientist, protein and biopolymer chemistry



Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2024


We’re looking for creative, practical scientists to overhaul the food system with us. This job posting is a general open position, as we are always looking for unusually capable individuals who share our mission, values, and totally swear-word free approach to pursuing them. You are looking to apply your expertise in biopolymer chemistry to flavor, texture, and cost problems in sustainable foods and are excited to learn and do whatever it takes to scale your innovations to global impact. This position is based in Oakland, CA and offers competitive salary and equity.

About Plonts

Our food system represents a whopping 34% of global carbon emissions and is the primary driver of habitat destruction (half of the habitable land is used for agriculture) and species extinction. Within food, the biggest single problem is cows. Cows outweigh humans 🤯 and account for over 10% of carbon emissions. Dairy alone produces more carbon than all of aviation. But the problem is that cows and their milk taste really good, and no amount of guilt will ever stop us from devouring them. The only solution is to create sustainable products that are better than cows on two factors: taste and cost. Plonts is a public benefit corporation that designs microbial communities that transform novel, sustainable plant materials into new categories of fermented foods. This approach allows us to create plant-based products that are absurdly delicious and cheaper than their animal-based counterparts. We are starting with the most resource intensive and addictive dairy product: 🧀.

About The Position

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Working with the CEO and research team to design thoughtful, but flexible research agendas with potential for globally relevant inventions
  • Starting from first principles, consider the problem, the solution, and then execute and learn. Repeat.
  • Gather and consider feedback from other teams, including commercial, manufacturing, and development
  • This position is full time and not remote


  • A PhD in a relevant scientific area
  • A track record of outcomes that demonstrate your creativity, practicality, or ability to execute
  • Excitement to embrace the uncertainty of working on hard scientific problems in a small startup
  • Willing to take ownership of your science’s success, working well outside your job description (manufacturing, commercial) to ensure your work succeeds
  • Passion for scrappy team building, doing actual science not managing bureaucracies
  • A bias towards “clear is kind” communication: direct and honest
  • Conviction in our mission and values

What do you get out of it?

  • Work with a small team of scientists who keep the bar high and hold mission before ego
  • Have broad creative license within our mission’s creative constraints
  • Operate in a low-hierarchy environment, working directly with the CEO
  • Work on existential sustainability problems via a hands-on product that you get to eat
  • Wear many hats and learn what it takes to build an startup in sustainability and biotechnology
  • Have a systemic impact on the food system
  • Build the kind of place where you’d like to work

If interested, what should you do?

To apply, please email with a resume and responses to the following prompts (a conversational, unpolished tone is fine):

  1. What motivates you right now? What about for the long term? And most importantly, why?
  2. What are the most important things that you are striving to improve in yourself? What are you doing to work on them?
  3. As this is an open position, tell us about what problems or solutions you would pursue if you were to join us? Why do we need what you can do?

Plonts is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status or disability status. But we acknowledge that we are flawed humans within a flawed society. We do our best and apologize and learn when that’s not enough.

Oakland, CA