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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Coordination Chemistry

Date: May 13, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 8029 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Chemical Separations Group in the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). 


The Postdoctoral Research Associate will have a strong background in synthetic coordination chemistry to develop novel chelation platforms for metal ions of interest in nuclear medicine and clean energy applications. As part of the Chemical Separations Group, you will have the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team comprising specialists in thermodynamics, coordination chemistry, organic and polymer synthesis, laser spectroscopy, materials characterization, separations, computational chemistry, and radiochemistry. Our cold labs house state-of-the-art instruments including a triple-quad ICP mass spectrometer, single-crystal X-ray diffractometer, 2D-IR spectrometer, potentiometric titrators, and ultrafast laser systems.  Our radiochemistry laboratory boasts 6 hoods and 2 gloveboxes equipped for radiological work, and an array of radioanalytical instruments for the detection of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-emitting isotopes and quantification of radioactive complexes. The successful candidate will conduct research focused on the development of novel chelation strategies to selectively bind radioactive and non-radioactive s-, p- and f-block metal ions and the application of these ligands in targeted radionuclide therapy and chemical separations. It is expected that you will publish your research accomplishments in high impact journals and present them at national meetings.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop novel chelators for radioactive and non-radioactive s-, p- and f-block elements such as radium, antimony, and actinium.
  • Perform hands-on synthesis of novel chelators on a multi-gram scale
  • Use a variety of characterization methods to evaluate the binding properties of chelators, including radio-TLC, radio-HPLC, potentiometric titrimetry, UV-vis spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy, single-crystal X-ray diffraction, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy
  • Participate in project planning and execution
  • Present and report research results at group meetings and national conferences
  • Publish scientific results in high-impact peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in chemistry, chemical engineering, nuclear chemistry, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A strong dedication to overcoming research hurdles through hard work and perseverance
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and drive the project forward
  • Proficiency in chelator synthesis, isolation/purification (e.g., column chromatography, crystallization, etc.), and characterization (e.g., NMR, UV-vis, and FT-IR spectroscopies, mass spectrometry, HPLC, etc.)
  • Experience with determination of binding constants by NMR spectroscopy, UV-vis spectrophotometry, or potentiometric titration
  • Experience with safely handling radioactive isotopes
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


This position is expected to begin on or before July 1, 2021.


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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  • 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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville