Postdoctoral Research Associate - Machine Learning for Protein Design

Date: Nov 11, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 10595 


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. 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 Biostatistics and Biomedical Informatics Group in the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division, Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The position will work as part of a crosscutting initiative for Enzyme Engineering funded by the ORNL Director’s Research and Development Program. The Enzyme Engineering Initiative is developing a high-throughput Design-Build-Test-Learn pipeline for engineering enzymes that catalyze reactions at materials interfaces.


In this position, you will work in a collaborative and interdisciplinary team with experimental and computational scientists to engineer proteins interacting with materials for plastics degradation, metal binding, and material synthesis. You will be expected to apply and develop machine learning approaches for protein design and to integrate these approaches with computational structural biology.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Perform research in machine learning-guided protein design
  • Integrate experimental and simulation data into machine learning workflows
  • Work with the team to analyze and troubleshoot results and performance of machine learning models
  • Present and publish research findings in scientific conferences and peer-reviewed journals
  • Participate in project planning and execution
  • Work with staff to develop new proposals
  • Maintain detailed and accurate records
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics
  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in computational biophysics, chemistry, biology, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Strong background in protein sequence analysis, structural modeling, and machine learning
  • Demonstrated ability to program in Python


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with protein engineering and computational protein design
  • Experience with large language models
  • Experience with machine learning frameworks such as PyTorch, TensorFlow, and Scikit-learn
  • Proven publication record
  • 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


For additional information, please contact Dr. Serena Chen (


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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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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