Breath Scientist

Cambridge, UK

Owlstone Medical’s mission is to save 100,000 lives and save health care providers $1.5B, with several major projects underway to develop disease screening and diagnostics based on detection of volatile metabolic products on breath.

We are currently seeking a Breath Scientist to be an integral member of our Clinical and Translational Science Department in Cambridge, UK. The successful candidate will apply their expertise in exhaled breath collection and mass spectrometry-based analysis of volatile compounds to develop analytical and platform methodologies for identifying biomarkers on breath. This role requires a critical thinker with outstanding analytical and problem-solving skills. The selected candidate will be a productive, independent researcher who also can work efficiently within a multidisciplinary team environment. They will exhibit clear and effective oral and written communication skills.

The Breath Scientist will be accountable for the activities described below and will demonstrate the key competencies and requirements as outlined.

Key Accountabilities:

  • Providing the technical input to develop fit-for-purpose exhaled breath sampling techniques and protocols
  • Providing the scientific input to define the spectrum of expected on-breath VOCs as part of analytical method development
  • Monitoring and advising on state-of-the-art sampling methods and analytical approaches in the market that could be used for further development, refinement, and validation of the biomarker discovery platform
  • In conjunction with a multidisciplinary team, defining useful technical performance measurements (TPMs) to allow monitoring of biomarker discovery capabilities over time
  • Conducting expert data analysis, interpretation, and reporting of data derived from analytical and platform method development studies
  • Contributing to the success of the department, programmes, and company, which may include technical consultation, review and running of projects, generation of experimental plans, study protocols and reports, delivering presentations and seminars, and ensuring that high-quality technical solutions are delivered to internal and external customers.


Competencies & Requirements

The following competences form the core strength of the Clinical and Translational Science department. You will be able to demonstrate experience in applying these competences in complex situations and critically evaluate and adapt them as required.

  • Pre-analytical: designing, implementing, and evaluating the appropriateness of sampling methodologies and sample preparation
  • Research: conducting objective, logical, and systematic methods of analysis to permit the accumulation of reliable knowledge
  • Protocols: following and validating procedural methods; understanding the importance of identifying and resolving nonconformities; tracking through to a root cause analysis of any outside tolerance deviations
  • Data Management: understanding the pertinency of the data collection, data entry, verification processes, and data management systems
  • Analysis: performing routine and non-routine investigation of the data; understanding when the applied technique is fit-for-purpose and what associated quality control activities are required to ensure that the technique remains within established ranges and limits
  • Critical Evaluation of Data: evaluating and ensuring the accuracy of data, as well as identifying real and non-real trends
  • Dissemination of Findings: reporting results to different target audiences; understanding the importance of clear communication adapted in a manner suitable for the audience


  • Advanced knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system
  • Experience in biomarker discovery using an omics-based approach
  • Technical knowledge and experience in any of the following areas: exhaled breath collection, sorbent trapping of VOCs, GC-MS analysis of exhaled breath, feature extraction, and/or post-processing of GC-MS data
  • Ability to critically review breath-based scientific literature and evaluate cutting- edge technology used in the collection and analysis of breath VOCs
  • A record of research excellence and collaboration, as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications in high-quality international journals


  • Experience optimizing thermal desorption GC-MS methods for VOC analysis
  • Solid understanding of cellular metabolism and biochemical pathways underlying VOC production in the context of human disease
  • Experience in the statistical analysis of multidimensional omics data, such as volatolomics or metabolomics
  • Fundamental knowledge of clinical trial design

Person Specification

Education & Training

  • PhD degree, or equivalent research experience, in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, or a relevant biological life science
  • Experience in research utilizing non-invasive sampling of breath with a focus on characterizing the VOC composition of exhaled breath or changes in on-breath VOC profiles associated with disease conditions, notably that of respiratory disease, oncology, hepatology, microbiology, or immunology is highly desirable


About Owlstone Medical

Owlstone Medical ( is on a mission to save 100,000 lives and $1.5 billion in healthcare costs through the development and application of Breath Biopsy®. This involves collecting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and respiratory droplets from breath, which can provide information about metabolic activity and markers related to health and disease.

Breath sampling has substantial advantages for the early detection of disease and to enable precision medicine approaches to patient care. To realize these advantages, Owlstone Medical offers Research Products and Services for biomarker discovery and is developing tests in applications including cancer, liver disease, asthma, and environmental exposure. Our work includes partnerships with major organizations including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, the Cleveland Clinic, and the NHS and our platform is in use at well over 100 clinical and academic sites worldwide.

Our leadership in breath is underpinned by our world-class and varied team, including systems engineers, clinical scientists, analytical chemists, artificial intelligence specialists and clinical trials coordinators.

The Owlstone group also commercializes a range of highly innovative products based on its proprietary FAIMS chemical sensing technology in other markets including Scientific, Industrial Process Control, Military and Homeland Defense.

We offer a relaxed, friendly, flexible and international working environment with a strong and vibrant team-spirit. You will be rewarded with a competitive salary package that includes an Employee share options scheme and private medical insurance and your work will have a clear impact on people’s lives. If you want to experience the buzz of a thriving start-up company set to succeed on a global scale, Owlstone Medical could be the place for you.

We do not accept applications from agencies outside of our preferred supplier list. If you are concerned that your application has not been received by Owlstone Medical, please contact us using

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