Scientist, Microbial Biochemistry

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 seeking a Scientist with a strong background in microbial biochemistry, with working knowledge in pathways associated with microbe-microbe and/​or plant-microbe interactions. The Microbial Biochemist will work in close collaboration with the Chemical Biology team in the screening and MoA characterization of new candidates for development of solutions that improve soil nutrient and carbon utilization sustainably. This is a unique opportunity to make an impact shaping the future of agriculture. THe Microbial Biochemist will report to the Director of Chemical Biology and will be based in Emeryville, CA.


  • Identify and select microbial screening targets for evaluation of macronutrients cycle and carbon utilization
  • Design and implement microbial assays to support validation of candidate’s MoA
  • Contribute to the design and evaluation of microbiome experiments (controlled environment/​field) with Bioin­for­mati­cians and Plant Biologists 
  • Collaborate with Chemical Biology team in the development of soil microbial collection for screening

Skills & Experience

  • PhD in Microbial biochemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology or related field with demonstrated success designing and implementing assays for the characterization of microbial metabolism
  • Solid understanding on the use of omics and multi-omics for MoA characterization
  • Prior experience in the screening of small molecules desired
  • Knowledge in microbial ecology and relevant processes (ie quorum sensing, plant-microbe symbiosis
  • Demonstrable experience mentoring research associate or junior scientists through lab tasks
  • Strong problem-solving skills and flexibility to adapt based on changing priorities
  • Good team player who thrives in a highly collaborative environment

This role demonstrates our company values by: 

  • Boldness: Embrace the complexity of microbial ecosystems as a sustainable path for disrupting the use of synthetic fertilizers
  • Ownership: Drive the expansion and evolution of our microbial screening platform to enable the development of next generation nutrient use efficiency products
  • Respect: Value the diversity of ideas both old and new, to generate value added information for our customers 
  • Creativity: Develop new ways of evaluating compounds for the nutrient utilization pipeline 

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.