Scientist, Microbial Ecology

  • Anywhere

Company :
Upward Farms

Location :
Brooklyn, New York

Expiry Date :
Sat, 24 Apr 2021 23:59:59 GMT

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Description :
Upward Farms designs and operates complete ecosystems of plants and fish in vertical farms, supplying these organic products to local grocers. We are currently expanding, opening a new cutting-edge, fully automated facility in Brooklyn. More and larger farms are in the works. Our mission is to heal the broken food system and reconnect eaters with flavorful and nutritious local food.

In this role, you will join the Agriculture and Manufacturing R&D (AMRD) team and collaborate with colleagues from across Engineering, Operations, and Quality Assurance. You will lead the development and execution of Upward Farms microbiome research agenda as well as collaborate on cross-disciplinary research in horticulture and aquaculture. You will be tasked with learning from our production systems complex microbiome and leveraging that information to improve plant-microbe interactions to support the production of flavorful, nutritious food. As a member of AMRD, you will pursue science and technology-enabled solutions for ecological production systems so that Upward Farms can advance crop, ecology, and manufacturing outcomes.


Your objective is to provide vision and technical leadership on blank page questions, embrace the complexity of biological systems, and deliver research-enabled solutions that have commercial value. Success in this role will mean setting the direction for microbial ecology research to advance our teams work to harness the power of whole ecosystems and their microbiomes.

You are encouraged to build bridges, do what it takes to solve the right problems, and co-create our design and research culture. This is a brand new role on our team and comes with the opportunity and flexibility to shape it to make it your own.


* Lead the development of original research and thought leadership on Upward Farms industrial microbiomes across horticulture and aquaculture.
* Collaborate on the design of future microbial ecology research spaces at Upward Farms.
* Design, perform, and document microbiology experiments.
* Communicate research findings and advise actionable insights.
* Contribute to microbial ecology outcomes such as community stability, community startup, soilless culture health, disease prevention, and reproducibility of ecosystems across farms.
* Contribute to farm design (e.g. fertigation systems, farm operations, specifying the use of biological inoculants).
* Work collaboratively with research and development teams to support plant production and aquaculture research.
* Communicate with internal and external stakeholders, adapting communications to diverse audiences and representing Upward Farms effectively and professionally.
* Contribute to the ongoing development of food safety protocols at Upward Farms.
* Remain current in relevant scientific fields and bring new research ideas into the research pipeline.


* Ph.D. in Microbial Ecology, Microbiology, Soil Science, Horticulture, Agronomy, or related field.
* Experience applying ecological principles to the study or management of microbial communities.
* Experience with a variety of microbiology and microbial ecology laboratory techniques.
* Experience with next-generation bioinformatics platforms (e.g. QIIME 2).
* Experience developing new protocols and SOPs.
* Excellent written and oral communication skills to a wide range of technical backgrounds.
* Question-driven, curious, open-minded.


* Post-Ph.D. research and/or industry experience.
* Experience designing, setting up, and operating a microbiology lab.
* Previous research experience in plant-microbe interactions.
* Project management experience.


We offer a dynamic work environment and benefits that include:

* Aetna Medical, Aetna and MetLife Dental, and Aetna Vision insurance; FSA/HSA plans; and HIPAA-compliant health advocates. Upward Farms contributes 78-100% of the premium for Medical benefits for employees and their families.
* Unlimited paid sick time. For extended illness, we offer short-term disability.
* Up to 20 days paid time off per year, depending on experience, in addition to paid holidays.
* For new parents, an extension of New York States paid family leave for up to 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave. This leave is in addition to Disability leave available to pregnant and postpartum mothers.
* 401(k).
* Commuter benefits, discounted gym memberships, and other perks.
* Fresh salad, and lots of it!


We are an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our needs are unique and varied so we value colleagues with diverse backgrounds. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and/or protected veteran status.