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Senior Research Chemist


Northfield, IL, US, 60093

Job Description

Stepan is seeking a Sr Fermentation Scientist to join our Research and Development team in Northfield, IL. In this role, you will report to the Senior R&D Manager and be part of an enthusiastic, highly motivated, and collaborative team of biochemists, microbiologists and fermentation scientists. This position plays a key role in the newly established fermentation group focused on biosurfactants. As the Fermentation Scientist you will design and execute a wide range of microbial fermentation research, strain development and optimization experiments to develop scalable and cost-effective seed and fermentation media, seed train and fermentation conditions to support development of new sustainable, environmentally compatible microbial and metabolite-based bio-surfactants and other natural products. Will travel domestically up to 25% annually. Relocation package offered for those that are out of state.

Key Responsibilities:

•    Conducting bench level microbiology/fermentation research
•    Preparation of cultures for bio repositories
•    Performing all aspects of instrument operations including setup, calibration, operation, troubleshooting and maintenance      
•    Developing and leading fermentation concepts, practices, and procedures (including process scale-up and tech transfer)                                                                                                   
•    Carrying out analysis of all samples required to support laboratory operations, interpret results of analyses and maintain documentation to support sample analysis 
•    As fermentation processes run non-standard hours as experiments require, the selected candidate must be willing to work non-standard hours including weekends as necessary
•    Supporting scale up by optimizing fermentation conditions from shake flask to industrial scale bioreactors
•    Providing detailed tech transfer documents for scale up at production facilities pilot and production scales (including 3rd party collaborations)
•    Maintaining detailed records of experiments and documentation in Electronic Lab Notebook and other systems. Authoring research reports, preparing and delivering technical presentations
•    Working in a collaborative environment with other technical personnel including Formulation Chemists, Process/Scale up Chemists as well as Commercial Team to achieve project goals
•    This position involves working in office, laboratory, and pilot/manufacturing environments. Time spent in partner laboratories or at manufacturing facilities requires compliance with all appropriate site safety rules



•    Hands-on research experience in microbial fermentation or chemical engineering with a biological/biochemical emphasis 
•    Experienced in microbial/fungal cell physiology and metabolism 
•    Demonstrated expertise of bench-scale fermentation equipment, including troubleshooting and maintenance of such equipment 
•    Excellent written, oral communication skills and effective interpersonal skills
•    Highly motivated, flexible, organized, self-starter with ability to handle multiple projects and changing business priorities
•    Incumbent will be involved in chemical and microbiology laboratory operations and will handle biological objects and chemical agents. Incumbent must have the ability to don personal protection equipment (PPE), lift up to 50 pounds, and work in the proximity of chemicals
•    Experience implementing the design of experiment (DoE) methods for strain screening/characterization and bioprocess development is an added plus



  • Ph.D. with 2 plus years’ experience, or MS, a minimum 5 years’ experience in biochemical engineering, biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology or a related discipline. 
  • Equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered.



Established in 1932, Stepan Company is a major manufacturer of basic and intermediate chemicals including surfactants, polymers, as well as specialty ingredients that go into consumer, household, and institutional products such as laundry detergents, shampoos, and surface cleaners. Stepan Company currently has 20 global manufacturing locations and over 2,000 employees. We have a strong record of growth. Our growth allows us to provide meaningful career opportunities and stability to our team members. We have big goals at Stepan and know every team member will be crucial to achieving our objectives. Regardless of function, we are looking for team members who bring with them a growth mindset, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the ability to thrive in an evolving environment.


We celebrate diversity at Stepan and are committed to creating a diverse, inclusive environment. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetic information, disability, age, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law.





Stepan is a global specialty and intermediate chemical manufacturer that has been serving a broad range of industries for 88 years. Today, Stepan is a $2 billion revenue company. Our continued success is driven by the passion and commitment of our 2,200 employees around the world.

Why Work At Stepan?

  1. Stable & Growing
  2. Collaborative Environment
  3. Make a Difference & Be Recognized
  4. Committed to Safety & Sustainability
  5. Value Driven Culture

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Nearest Major Market: Chicago