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Postdoctoral Research Associate -Plant Systems Biology

Date: Nov 11, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9475 



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 Plant Systems Biology Group in the Biosciences Division (BSD), Biological and Environmental Systems Science (BESSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The Postdoctoral Research Associate will work to functionally characterize genes and pathways involved in the regulation of plant-microbial interactions. This research is supported by U.S. Department of Energy Plant-Microbe Interfaces Scientific Focus Area (, which seeks to understand the dynamic interface between plants, microbes, and their environment.


In this position, the postdoctoral researcher will work in close collaboration with a diverse team of scientists to perform the following research tasks: 1) perform fungal inoculation assays to uncover common and unique molecular signatures in Populus-fungal interactions, 2) validate the function of genes identified from genetic mapping and omics analyses, and 3) investigate the molecular mechanism underlying plant-microbial interactions. 


Recent publications from the Plant Systems Biology group include Qiao et al. (2021) Plant Biotech J 19: 2454; Xie et al. (2020) New Phytologist 228: 1627; Labbé et al. (2019) Nature Plants 5: 676; Xie et al. (2018) Plant Cell 30: 1645; Zhang et al. (2018) New Phytologist 220: 502; Muchero et al. (2018) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115: 11573; Yang et al. (2017) Nature Communications 8: 1899; Abraham et al. (2016) Nature Plants 2: 16178.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

The Plant Systems Biology Group seeks to explore and understand the network of genes, proteins, metabolites, and environmental signals that lead to improved plant characteristics and performance. The selected candidate will join a multi-disciplinary team of investigators undertaking broad, integrated approaches to enhance fundamental understanding of genetic controls of plant-microbe interactions in bioenergy-relevant plants. Major duties/responsibilities include:


  • Perform fungal-inoculation assays
  • Generate and characterize transgenic plants
  • Perform protein-protein interaction assays
  • Perform protein phosphorylation assays
  • Present research progress in project meetings and national/international conferences
  • Publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Maintain detailed and accurate records
  • Acquire and analyze data in keeping with project scheduling
  • 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 plant biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, physiology, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Prior knowledge and demonstrated expertise in molecular, genetic, and biochemical characterizations of genes and pathways


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Expertise in fungal-inoculation assays
  • Expertise in gene expression assays
  • Experience working with Arabidopsis and/or Populus plants
  • Experience working with plant-microbe interactions
  • Experience in plant transformation
  • Experience in transient expression assays
  • Effective writing and communication skills with a strong publication record
  • Desire to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team


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 number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • 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.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at


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.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

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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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