Chemical Biology Group Leader

Sound Agriculture is an innovator in bio-inspired chemistry and plant genetics. We leverage natural plant diversity to grow crops more sustainably and create differentiated, nutritious food. Sound is a Series C startup funded by leading investors in food and agriculture such as Leaps by Bayer, Northpond Ventures, S2G Ventures, Fall Line Capital, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, Cavallo Ventures and Syngenta Group Ventures.

We are hiring a Chemical Biology Group Leader to lead the execution and expansion of our chemical biology discovery platform and molecular mode of action efforts. We have a unique small molecule approach that improves the sustainability of agriculture by reducing fertilizer use and making crops more climate resilient. Our scientific focus is understanding how complex plant and microbial systems communicate and coordinate physiology using natural product chemistry. 

We are seeking an experienced technical leader to build and manage a team of molecular biology scientists, associates, and technicians. The Group Leader will also manage external contractors and work across our Research team and cross functionally with our Product, Business Development, and Regulatory teams. We expect the Group Leader to grow the team to 7 FTE in the near term, with additional expansion in the future.

The role will report to the Chief Technology Officer and will be based in our laboratory in Emeryville, California.


  • Manage the strategy and execution of Sound’s Chemical Biology discovery platform
  • Develop effective experimental approaches to answer key mode of action questions, including molecule — receptor interactions, signal transduction pathway elucidation, and microbial community dynamics
  • Craft strategies for future chemistry pipeline development
  • Collaborate with team leaders across Data Science, Synthetic Biology, and Product teams
  • Perform experimental design, execution, and data analysis as needed
  • Ensure data quality and on time delivery of project workflow
  • Plan and execute platform development activities to expand capacity
  • Provide training and mentorship for Chemical Biology team scientists and technicians

Skills & Experience

  • PhD in chemistry or life sciences 
  • 7+ years experience in industry positions with progressive management responsibility
  • Expertise in chemical biology or medicinal chemistry, including principles of high throughput screening, QSAR, molecular mechanism studies
  • Fluency in project management concepts and software
  • Experience training and managing junior scientists and technicians
  • Identify as a player coach’ rather than a top down manager
  • Strong organizational and time-management skills
  • Passionate about plant and soil science and the future of food and agriculture

Our Offer 

  • Opportunity to work in an early-stage, disruptive startup with a talented, experienced, and growing team of dedicated individuals
  • Competitive compensation package
  • Performance bonus structure
  • Comprehensive health care plans that include Medical, Dental and Vision coverage
  • Flex Spending Account (Healthcare, Dependent Care & Commuter Benefit)
  • 401k Plan
  • Generous vacation policy
  • Regular team events and engagement activities (we actually like hanging out with each other!)

Sound is based in Emeryville, CA with a number of employees working remotely. We have a mission driven culture and a fast-paced, collaborative work environment. We are looking for someone to join the team who will bring a passion for sustainability along with a deep expertise in the business of food and agriculture.

Equal Employment Opportunity

We seek a diverse pool of applicants and consider all qualified candidates regardless of race, ancestry, color, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, citizenship, disability, Veteran status, marital status, or any other protected status.

Sound participates in E‑Verify and will provide the federal government with your Form I‑9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the United States. If E‑Verify cannot confirm that you are authorized to work, Sound is required to give you written instructions and an opportunity to contact the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Social Security Administration (SSA) so you can begin to resolve the issue before Sound takes any action, including terminating your employment.