Research Development Lead

Location: Downtown Ithaca, NY 

Employment type: Part or full-time employment (20-40 hours / wk). Available immediately. 

Experience: MS/PhD graduate in biological, chemical, civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering; food science and microbiology. 

 Capro-X background 

Capro-X, is a sustainable ag-tech startup, spun out of Cornell, with labs located in downtown Ithaca. We are focused on scaling up our WheyAway fermentation technology, which upcycles dairy waste and byproduct streams into clean water and green alternatives to unsustainable palm oil chemicals. Today, Capro-X is focused on treating acid whey, a problematic byproduct from Greek yogurt production. We are currently optimizing our bioprocess in the lab, operating a pilot system at a local Greek yogurt plant, and scaling 20x to a demonstration scale system later this year. We’re largely grant funded (NSF Phase 2 and EPA Phase 1 SBIRs), and have also won key pitch competitions in the ag-tech space that are fueling our growth (FoodBytes! by Rabobank and Grow-NY). 

Job description & requirements 

Capro-X seeks to immediately add an Research Development (RD) Lead to our growing team in Ithaca, NY. The RD Lead will be joining at an exciting time for the company, as we expand our activities at the bench-scale and begin scaling up to a demonstration system at a Greek yogurt plant in NY in late 2020. 

The RD Lead will be responsible for leading fermentation bioprocess evaluations in the lab, and assisting in the field with our scale-up systems. A strong candidate should feel comfortable performing bench-scale bioreactor operations and wastewater-type water quality tests, analyzing and optimizing bioreactor mass flows, constructing bespoke bioreactors, and operating and maintaining key lab and analytical equipment (bioreactors, GC, HPLC). Our ideal candidate will have hands-on construction and operation of scale-up fermentation equipment; research experience through the entire operations and analysis spectrum of fermentation studies; clear and effective communication skills; and an ability to multitask across varying and dynamic project demands. 

In this fast-growing startup, the RD Lead will be given significant responsibility leading a small research team, gain first-hand experience driving research on a novel technology in a challenging and dynamic environment that is actively being implemented at the large-scale – we are quickly growing our team and seek new members with a “get it done” attitude, and share our ambition to bring greater sustainability to the world. 


  • Focused on fermentation R&D; work managing R&D team, operating and analyzing performance of bench-scale bioreactor systems 
  • Perform reactor samples analysis (wet lab, enzymatic, GC, HPLC, OD, pH, COD, BOD, VSS) 
  • Evaluate reactor performance (conversion efficiency, mass balance, optimization)
  • Perform R&D operations on client-site scale-up systems
  • Propose and review R&D plans with leadership, outline equipment/space/staff needs
  • Improve lab organization and processes (organization, data analysis, SOPs)
  • Perform maintenance on analytical and bioreactor equipment
  • Construct fermentation components at the bench and pilot-scale (bioreactors, pumps, piping, control and power systems)
  • Strong writing and presenting skills to communicate with team
  • Excitement to join a fast-growing startup 

Education and experience level 

– Seeking experienced MS/PhD in a relevant engineering or science field (for example: biological, chemical, civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering; food science and microbiology) 

– Work and/or academic research experience are required (thesis-level research, internship, consulting) 

– Experience with design, construction, and operation of large fermentation systems a plus. 

Equal employment opportunity statement 

Capro-X, Inc. is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer and welcomes all qualified applicants. Applicants will receive fair and impartial consideration without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic data, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or other legally protected status, or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local law. 

Applicants must be eligible to work in the US without restrictions for any employer at any time. As a condition of employment, all selected candidates will undergo Capro-X’s standard pre-employment checks, which include but are not limited to a background check regarding criminal history, driver’s license, education, and employment. 

Capro-X will not accept unsolicited candidate referrals or resumes / CVs from third-party vendors, including recruitment agencies; we will not be responsible or liable for any fees or costs associated with such unsolicited submissions. 

Next steps 

Interested candidates should submit application materials to hiring[email protected] with the following tag in the subject line: [CPRX RD Lead 2020]. Improperly addressed applications may be lost in automated filters.