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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Ecosystem and Microbial Ecology

Date: Sep 12, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 6054 


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.


The Biosciences Division ( within ORNL seeks a postdoctoral research associate in the areas of ecosystem and microbial ecology. You will join international and interdisciplinary teams of investigators passionate about understanding the ecology of soil and plant associated microbial communities. Specifically, you will focus on projects to understand plant – microbe responses to drought within Populus as part of a DOE early career award. Research for this project will have a specific focus on mycorrhizal fungal response to drought and the role of these fungi in ecosystem carbon cycling.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Design, conduct, analyze, and interpret laboratory, greenhouse, and field-based research.
  • Lead and contribute to the development of scientific manuscripts.
  • Perform research utilizing a full range of state-of-the-art equipment/facilities for microbiology, molecular biology, ecosystem ecology, plant biology, and genomics in a professional environment with excellent technical support.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Microbiology, Ecology, Molecular Biology, or a related field completed within the last 5 years.
  • Demonstrated expertise in both modern molecular ecology methods such as metagenome analyses, quantitative PCR, rRNA community sequence analyses, and ecosystem analyses for characterizing soil nutrient cycling.
  • Demonstrated record of expertise in informatics approaches for microbiome and metagenomic studies and a track record of primary contributions to peer-reviewed publications.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A successful history of interdisciplinary, integrative, and creative research in the discipline of ecosystem and microbial ecology
  • Familiarity with software tools for next generation DNA sequence analysis of rRNA and metagenomic microbial datasets.
  • The ability to program and script in R, Python or other languages to customize analyses is preferred.
  • Familiarity with culturing mycorrhizal fungi for manipulative experiments.


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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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.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

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