Share this Job

Postdoctoral Research Associate - Plant Synthetic Biology

Apply now »

Date: Nov 24, 2020

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4182 

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 ( of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has an opening for a plant biologist to investigate factors controlling the establishment of beneficial non-native bacteria in the environment. Modifying plant-associated soil microbiomes offers new opportunities to improve ecosystem function, but also represents a substantial engineering challenge. In the new Secure Ecosystem Engineering and Design Science Focus Area, we will build the fundamental knowledge and tools necessary to address this challenge.

In this position, you will work in close collaboration with a diverse team of scientists to perform the following research tasks: 1) developing plant-delivered in situ microbiome engineering to regulate the establishment of microbial invaders, 2) developing plant biosentinel for real-time detection of microbial signaling, and 3) developing countermeasures and detection systems for CRISPR-Cas tools.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Design and build gene constructs
  • Transform the gene constructs into plants
  • Characterize transgenic plants for detecting microbial signals, regulating microbial gene expression, and protecting plants from unintended genetic modifications
  • Present research progress in project meetings and national/international conferences
  • Publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • 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 Ph.D. in plant biology, biotechnology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, or a related field is required
  • Applicants cannot have received the most recent degree more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Expertise in molecular cloning
  • Experience in plant transformation
  • Experience working with plant-microbe interactions is desirable
  • Effective writing and presentation skills, demonstrated by a strong publication record from previous research
  • Desire to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team

For Additionanl Information:
Contact Dr. Xiaohan Yang (; email address


Special Requirements:

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 up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.


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