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Vice President, Downstream Process Development







Job Description

Bluestem Biosciences, Inc., is a decarbonized chemicals company using programmable biology for the biomanufacturing of commodity chemicals in the Midwest. We are designing biology with “the end in mind”  to enable existing infrastructure to make chemicals using organisms, not from oil. 

We are seeking an expert in downstream processing of small molecules from microbial fermentation (e.g. recovery, purification, catalysis, process optimization, scale-up/scale-down, tech transfer). Our ideal candidate will have deep expertise in downstream process engineering, demonstrated experience in developing and scaling technologies, and “range” to draw on best practices from related fields, including the petrochemical industry. This position will collaborate closely with our upstream process development and strain development teams, as well as our external research partners to drive efficient deployment of DSP from development through to pilot and commercial scales.


  • Collaborate with a multidisciplinary team to design, develop, and scale safe and cost-effective recovery processes for fermentation broth.
  • Lead the creation and manage the execution of experiments at third party labs from bench to pilot scale, providing critical analysis of data, and innovatively solving problems. Responsibility areas include co-product isolation, fermentation product separation, purification, and catalysis.
  • Develop & refine initial process designs from bench-scale data and ultimately translate into PFDs and P&IDs; drive the refinement of technoeconomic analysis across Bluestem’s integrated plant designs.
  • Manage the tech transfer of DSP / catalysis technology from R&D to pilot and production scales.
  • Collaborate with internal or external manufacturing counterparts to align the development of processes with existing manufacturing capabilities and unit operations. Design with the “end in mind.”
  • Coordinate with commercial and product development activities to estimate DSP capex for implementing Bluestem’s production roadmap.
  • Serve as “Owner’s Engineer” to work with contracted EPC firms


  • Advanced degree in Chemical Engineering, Process Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering or related engineering or scientific field plus 5+ year(s) in a development or production engineering position. Differing combinations of experience and education will be considered. 
  • Demonstrated hands-on experience in DSP engineering principles and practice, with a strong understanding of chemical and biochemical  fundamentals that drive optimal DSP design for fermented products.
  • Proven ability to lead projects at both development stage and through scale-up, build relationships with contractors and collaborators, and represent the company vocally.
  • Expertise with various statistical concepts, Lean Six Sigma, and continuous process improvement principles.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal; organizational skills and ability to work in a dynamic and fast-paced environment.
  • Proficiency in computer software applications such as JMP, R, Python, ASPEN+, SuperPro Designer,  or other modeling. Experience with DCS programming (Delta V, Yokogawa or similar) is a plus.
  • Possess a Growth Mindset and open mind that seeks continuous learning from feedback, setbacks and failure on the journey to achieving results
  • Embraces diversity, models equity in action and contributes to a high trust and inclusive work environment that supports team members in doing the best work of their careers at Bluestem
  • Humble, Hungry and Smart with a grounded “otherish” approach to collaboration, an ownership mentality with a bias towards execution, and the ability to read and lead yourself so that you can more effectively read and lead others

Bluestem is excited to offer a remote-first working model. Team members can work primarily remotely. Conditions permitting, teams will meet in person every quarter or two at Bluestem’s hub, in Omaha, NE. Travel to third party collaborators on a monthly basis will also be required, especially when executing critical experiments or tech transfer activities. We believe this balanced, flexible approach gives our team members the best of both worlds: plenty of focus time along with in-person collaboration that fosters trust, unlocks creativity, and further fuels innovation.

Bluestem is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace. We are committed to equal employment opportunities regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity or Veteran status. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. 

If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation, please let us know by emailing

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