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Postdoctoral Research Associate – Non-model Microbial Synthetic Biologist

Posted by on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 in Job Opportunities .

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. Our capabilities span a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines, enabling the Laboratory to explore fundamental science challenges and to carry out the research needed to accelerate the delivery of solutions to the marketplace.

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Synthetic Biology Group in the Biosciences Division (, Biological and Environmental Systems Sciences Directorate (BESSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The postdoc will work as a microbial synthetic biologist to develop cutting edge genetic tools, parts, and devices for non-model microbes. These elements will be implemented in various projects for the Center for Bioenergy Innovation ( and the BOTTLE Consortium (

Specifically, you will design and implement elements primarily in ClostridiumPseudomonas, and Parageobacillus species. These elements include but are not limited to Cas9 genome editing systems, RNA-based expression control systems, biosensors, and high-yield transformation protocols, but your input and expertise will determine the precise elements developed. You will be expected to work with other research and technical professionals at ORNL, both within and outside the Biosciences Division, as well as with external collaborators at partner institutions. You will be designing and executing experiments to achieve project goals, and you will be expected to communicate your results to the wider scientific community in the form of conference presentations and journal articles.

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Perform molecular genetics, synthetic biology, and related experiments
  • Work with a diverse team of scientists
  • Interface directly with internal and external partners in various disciplines
  • Present research results at national scientific meetings
  • Publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Participate in project planning and execution
  • Work with staff to develop new proposals
  • Maintain detailed and accurate records
  • Acquire and analyze data in keeping with project scheduling
  • Take a position of leadership for day-to-day laboratory operations while addressing all ORNL’s environmental health and safety requirements
  • Self-assess experimental research skill set and identify weakness and secure learning resources to address these issues
  • Ensure compliance with environmental, safety, health, and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics

Basic Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D. in microbiology, bioengineering, chemical engineering, molecular biology, genetics, or a related field is required
  • Applicants cannot have received the most recent degree more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Laboratory experience with microbiology, synthetic biology, and molecular genetics techniques is greatly preferred
  • Experience with genetic manipulation of microbes is highly desirable
  • Basic proficiency in a relevant computer language (e.g., Python, R) is highly desirable
  • Effective writing and presentation skills, demonstrated by a strong publication record from previous research
  • Desire to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team
  • Proven publication record

For additional information about this position, contact Dr. William G. Alexander (;

Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.

Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
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  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document

Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.

Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

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