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Principal Biochemist - Enzyme discovery, characterization and engineering

Principal Biochemist - Enzyme discovery, characterization and engineering

  • Location United States of America - California - San Diego
  • Travel required Up to 25% travel should be expected with this role
  • Job category Research & Technology Group
  • Relocation available This role is not eligible for relocation
  • Job type Professionals
  • Job code RQ081775
  • Experience level Senior
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Job summary

Job Family Group:

Research & Technology Group

Job Description:

At bp, we’re reimagining energy for people and our planet. We want to help the world reach net zero and improve people’s lives. Technology innovation will play a vital role in shaping the scale-up and commercialization of the net zero building blocks – and bp is investing in focused research and development (R&D) to generate future competitive advantage. 

The Technology at bp houses our science and technology R&D activities, and within Technology, Applied Sciences (AS) focusses on the physical and biological world. The AS teams have the remit to differentiate the present and innovate the future, we help to maintain the competitiveness of our established businesses, such as Castrol and Fuels, while also creating the technology foundations for our transition growth businesses including biofuels, renewables, hydrogen and electrification.

We are currently looking to deepen our focus in a number of key areas and plan to establish a number of dedicated innovation squads covering identified growth areas. Each of these areas has the potential to generate material business returns post 2030.

The focus of these squads is to build momentum; the squads will start small and pivot to the biggest opportunities as the work progresses.

Job description

This is an opportunity to join us in creating, growing, and delivering innovation to reimagine energy for people and our planet.

The advanced bio & physical sciences for low carbon energy (AB&PS) team is the central research organization for biosciences, chemistry, materials sciences, fundamental biofuels pathways, green hydrogen/ electrochemistry, and the science of carbon capture and the bp Biosciences Center (BSC) in San Diego, CA, is one of bp’s global research hubs. The Center stays closely connected to bp businesses and external technologies, and ensures the expertise required to progress opportunities through the early stages of technology development.  The Center also advises businesses on biological issues and partnership opportunities.  The team in San Diego is comprised of flexible, agile, multi-skilled, innovative members that work collaboratively across the research portfolio. 

This position will report to the synthetic biology lead. The initial focus of research activities will be to support the biosciences programs requiring biochemistry & bio-catalysis expertise.

The successful candidate will lead efforts for enzyme discovery, characterization and engineering, as well as efforts for assay development and method automation.  The individual will join a group of interactive scientists and should have strong interpersonal skills and outstanding inter-disciplinary problem solving and critical thinking skills, with a strong interest in the pursuit of scientific discovery.  This position requires hands on work at the bench with a recent experience of delivering experimental results.  

Key accountabilities

  • Serve as domain expert for enzymology, protein biochemistry, protein expression and purification, and enzyme engineering.
  • Lead the implementation and investigation of innovative workflows to expand enzyme improvement capabilities, including computational approaches.
  • Design, conduct and analyse lab-based experiments to evaluate and improve biocatalysts, demonstrating high throughput and automation capabilities.
  • Collaborate closely with biosciences, bioenergy, and computational sciences capability teams to deliver project goals. 
  • Advise on strategies for bioprocess improvements.
  • Analyze, organize, and present data to the scientific and leadership teams.
  • Write internal scientific and external reports.
  • Work in a fast-paced, multi-disciplinary environment, both independently and within a project team 
  • Promote safety initiatives and champion compliance with bp’s Code of Conduct. 
  • Serve as mentor to junior scientists.

Essential criteria and qualifications:

  • Education:   Masters / PhD degree (12+ years) degree from the following fields: enzymology, biochemistry, molecular biology, biology, synthetic biology, chemistry or related fields (or bachelors degree with equivalent relevant experience). Experience must be proven by a track record of publications.    
  • Must have a high level of technical knowledge and skills in a broad range of biochemistry and/or enzymology-related fields including biochemical pathways, protein engineering, enzyme mechanism/kinetics, complex assay development, and protein expression, purification, and characterization.
  • Ability to provide expert advice and innovation to develop solutions to complex technical issues.
  • Design and implement experiments, interpretation of data from multiple sources.
  • Participate in project strategy development and implementation, including developing intellectual property.
  • Ability to prioritize responsibilities, show flexibility in response to changed priorities and work effectively in a multi-tasking, fast pace, and matrix environment.
  • Strong organizational skills, being able to handle multiple projects at the same time.
  • Ability to work safely and independently. Adept at formulating new standard operating procedures as well as reliable and accurate execution of tasks following SOPs outlined by others.
  • Must be motivated, be an independent problem solver, possess excellent interpersonal skills, communicate well within and between teams and be able to work under tight deadlines.

 Desirable criteria

  • Experience working in and maintaining a biosafety level two facility
  • Experience with protein production systems at medium and pilot-scale
  • Experience in analytical chemistry techniques e.g. HPLC, LC-MS, or GC-MS
  • Knowledge of bioinformatics and enzyme computational design
  • Knowledge of biochemical pathways for a range of substrates


Travel – up to 25%. Travel between the various locations (in the UK, US, Europe, India, and China) may be required. Must be willing to work in other locations for extended periods of time.

Why join us

At bp, we support our people to learn and grow in a diverse and exciting environment. We believe that our team is strengthened by diversity. We are committed to fostering an inclusive environment in which everyone is respected and treated fairly.

There are many aspects of our employees’ lives that are important, so we offer benefits to enable your work to fit with your life. These benefits can include flexible working options, a generous paid parental leave policy, and excellent retirement benefits, among others!

How much do we pay ? 148- 211K. *Note that the base pay range listed for this position is a good faith and reasonable estimate of the range of possible base compensation at the time of posting.
We offer a reward and wellbeing package to enable your work to fit with your life. These can include, but are not limited to, access to health, vision and dental insurance, flexible working schedule, paid time off policy, discretionary annual bonus program, long-term incentive program, and a generous 401K matching program.  You may learn more about our generous benefits at benefits@bp.

We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

Travel Requirement:

Up to 25% travel should be expected with this role

Relocation Assistance:

This role is not eligible for relocation

Remote Type:

This position is a hybrid of office/remote working


Analytical Thinking, Enzymes, Industry technology knowledge, Protein Biology, Research and development, Science and Technology Leadership, Synthetic Biology

Legal Disclaimer:

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company.  We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, socioeconomic status, neurodiversity/neurocognitive functioning, veteran status or disability status. Individuals with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation related to bp’s recruiting process (e.g., accessing the job application, completing required assessments, participating in telephone screenings or interviews, etc.).  If you would like to request an accommodation related to the recruitment process, please contact us to request accommodations.

If you are selected for a position and depending upon your role, your employment may be contingent upon adherence to local policy.  This may include pre-placement drug screening, medical review of physical fitness for the role, and background checks.

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