Postdoctoral Research Associate - Biochemical Synthesis and Characterization

Date: May 23, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12938 


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to conduct basic and applied research in support of the DOE-funded Plant Microbe Interfaces project (PMI SFA; and the Department of Energy’s Biological and Environmental Research mission. This position resides in the Biosciences Division within the Molecular and Cellular Imaging group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). 


The successful candidate will be part of a multi-disciplinary team and conduct research focused on developing methods for the generation and utilization of plant and microbial signaling molecules and molecular reporters to enable imaging of subsurface dynamics in plant-microbe-soil systems. Desired experience includes chemical and biochemical synthesis; nanoparticle synthesis, modification, and characterization; fundamentals of imaging methods on plants and microbes; and general knowledge of spectroscopies for characterizing molecules, nanoparticles, microbes, and plants. Additionally, experience in the development of molecular reporters, bioconjugation, and stable isotope reporters are encouraged. Opportunities to learn and develop various techniques surrounding the field of plant-microbe interfaces will be supported. It is expected that the candidate will publish their research accomplishments in peer-reviewed journals and present them at scientific meetings.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Conduct collaborative scientific research focused on developing methods for the generation and utilization of plant and microbial signaling molecules and molecular reporters. 

  • Work independently to support multidisciplinary research efforts within the Plant-Microbe Interfaces project.

  • Lead and contribute to the preparation of scientific manuscripts.

  • Present research findings at national and international scientific meetings.

  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Collaboration, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by encouraging a respectful workplace. 


Basic Requirements:

  • Ph.D. in fields related to Chemoenzymatic Synthesis, Molecular Probes and Reporters, Chemical Synthesis, Biochemistry, Enzymology, or related field relevant to the job duties of this position.

  • Demonstrated written and oral communication skills.

  • Effective interpersonal skills.


Preferred Requirements:

  • Background in molecular reporters and probe development, chemoenzymatic synthesis, nanoparticle applications, bioinorganic characterization, bioconjugation, biochemistry or ability to demonstrate knowledge and experience in these fields.

  • Proficiency in chemical synthesis, isolation/purification (e.g., synthetic design, enzyme expression, column chromatography, etc.) and characterization (e.g., NMR, UV-vis, and FT-IR spectroscopies, mass spectrometry, HPLC, fluorescence characterization, etc.)

  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to project needs.


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.
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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.
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This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

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ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

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