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Research Associate II - Strain Banking & Inventory Management

Pivot Bio

Pivot Bio

Berkeley, CA, USA
Posted on Friday, February 2, 2024

About Pivot Bio:

Fueled by an innovative drive and a deep understanding of the soil microbiome, Pivot Bio is pioneering game-changing advances in agriculture. Our products harness the power of naturally occurring microbes to provide nutrients to crops and new sustainable ways for farmers to reduce the usage of fertilizers as they work to help feed the world’s growing population. Read/Hear more about Pivot Bio on Forbes or PBS News Hour.

Position: Research Associate Strain Banking and Inventory Management

We are looking for a strong researcher who thrives in the laboratory. The successful candidate should be willing to learn and support innovation, while maintaining excellent laboratory practices. Reporting to the Strain Banking Lead, and working in a beautiful laboratory facility in Berkeley, the candidate will be responsible for supporting the development and operations of strain banking and inventory management of our bacterial strains. We are seeking a candidate with prior hands-on experience with inventory management, bacterial culturing and storage techniques and best lab practices. We are seeking a candidate with working knowledge of microbiology, an eye for detail, skill with troubleshooting laboratory equipment, and excellent verbal and written communication skills. Experience with automated equipment and LIMS is a plus. We expect the candidate to thrive in a fast-paced environment, adapt to changing operations objectives, and operate independently with minimal oversight. If this is you, you will enjoy the satisfaction of being a crucial member of a growing team innovating the most cutting-edge products in Ag Biologicals.


  • Generate and QC working cell banks for Manufacturing and R&D.
  • Culture and preserve novel microbial strains.
  • QC strain banks using PCR, sequencing, dilution plating, and microscopy.
  • Oversee existing freezer stock inventory and inventory maintenance.
  • Troubleshoot and improve upon existing processes including automation and process development for novel microbes.
  • Assist in phenotyping our strains via a suite of chemical, biological and molecular assays.
  • Assist in automation and scale up of key processes.
  • QC, analyze and communicate your data in written reports and at team meetings.
  • Maintain a thorough digital lab notebook and required electronic documentation.
  • Communicate effectively and coordinate resources within and across teams.
  • Bring your excitement and enthusiasm for working in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.
  • Follow (and develop new) SOPs
  • Attend and contribute to R&D meetings

Physical Demands:

  • Job will involve a mix of laboratory and computer-based work
  • Repeating motions that may include the wrists, hands, or fingers
  • Sedentary work that primarily involves sitting/standing
  • Communicating with others to exchange information
  • Occasionally perform physically repetitive tasks like pipetting, sample weighing, and sample packaging
  • Visual inspection of small details and differences in biological materials
  • Occasionally lift up to 50 pounds
  • Able to work 8-hour workdays and 5-day work weeks


  • Bachelor of science degree in biological sciences, microbiology, or related field or equivalent experience
  • 4+ years’ experience in a fast-paced industry research lab environment
  • A deep appreciation for the art of aseptic handling/technique.
  • Strong molecular biology experience (colony PCR, microbial cell culture, gel electrophoresis, microscopy).
  • Proven ability to manage deadlines and multiple ongoing multi-day workflows.
  • Comfortable with standard microbiology techniques, including culturing and bacterial plating
  • An understanding of research/development, and the principles behind experiment design and execution (e.g. importance of controls, answering research questions, and testing hypotheses)
  • Exceptional documentation and communication skills including writing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) documents and reports and the ability to understand the needs of others and clearly explain ideas
  • Strong ability to work independently and as a team, ask good questions, and recognize anomalies


  • Experience with QC/QA and GMP.
  • Strong data analysis and statistical skills.
  • Experience working with laboratory liquid handling automation.
  • Extensive experience culturing bacteria and working with non-model organisms.
  • Experience with process development, troubleshooting and scale-up.
  • Experience with tech transfer to other research teams or CROs.

What we offer:

  • Competitive package in a disruptive startup
  • Stock options
  • Health/Dental/Vision insurance with employer-paid premiums
  • Life, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability policies
  • Employee Assistance Program with free referrals and discounts
  • 401(k) plan, 3% Match
  • Commuter benefits
  • Annual Training & Development support
  • Flexible vacation policy with a generous holiday schedule
  • Exciting opportunity to work with a talented and fun team

*Internal employees, please apply by clicking on the Internal Job Board icon on NSIDER

The salary range for this Berkeley, CA based position incorporates a premium for the cost of labor in this area. If this role is hired remotely, contact us for the lower range for National Benchmark. Following employment, growth beyond the hiring range is possible based on performance.

Hiring Compensation Range
$66,585$83,231 USD