Postdoctoral Research Associate - Microbial Synthetic Biologist

Date: Jul 6, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11456 


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 Synthetic Biology Group in the Biosciences Division (BSD), Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate (BESS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop and optimize CRISPR-Cas tools to enable genome engineering in DOE-relevant microbial systems. These tools accelerate our ability to interrogate genotype-phenotype relationships to build the fundamental knowledge of these microbial systems and provide design rules to address key challenges to enable an agile Bioeconomy.


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.


In this position, you will engineer non-model microbes of interest to DOE (e.g. micrbial bioproduction chassis, soil microbes), utilizing CRISPR-Cas and recombineering systems to enable multiplex, targeted manipulation of the genome. Using these tools, you will identify the responsible genetic changes linked to specific phenotypes of interest using Next Generation Sequencing, Systems Biology, and other approaches.


You will be expected to integrate with technical support staff, as well as expert collaborators in microbiology, systems biology, bioinformatics, bacterial physiology, and analytical chemistry at ORNL and at partner institutions. You will also design and execute laboratory experiments, analyze quantitative data, and write and communicate results to the scientific community.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Perform molecular genetics, synthetic biology, and related experiments
  • Work with a diverse team of scientists
  • Interface directly with internal and external partners in various disciplines
  • Present research results at national scientific meetings
  • Publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Participate in project planning and execution
  • Work with staff to develop new proposals
  • Maintain detailed and accurate records
  • Acquire and analyze data in keeping with project scheduling
  • Take a position of leadership for day-to-day laboratory operations while addressing all of ORNL’s environmental health and safety requirements
  • Self-assess experimental research skill set and identify weakness and secure learning resources to address these issues
  • 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 PhD in Microbiology, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Molecular Biology, Genetics or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with microbiology, synthetic biology, and molecular genetics, preferably including non-model bacteria.
  • Experience with manipulation of microbial metabolic pathways is desirable
  • Experience analyzing large datasets, including sequencing and ‘omics data
  • 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, contact Dr Carrie Eckert (; email address


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.

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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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