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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Plant Synthetic Biology

Date: May 14, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 7856 


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 Directorates (BESSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). 


In this position, the plant synthetic biologist will develop principles and techniques for plant biosystems design and apply synthetic biology to the genetic improvement of bioenergy crops. This research is supported by the DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI) (, which seeks to accelerate domestication of bioenergy-relevant plants and microbes to enable high impact, value-added fuels and coproduct development at multiple points in the bioenergy supply chain.


In this position, you will work in close collaboration with a diverse team of scientists to perform the following research tasks: 1) multiplexed genome editing, 2) multigene transformation for trait stacking in plants, 3) tissue- and cell type-specific promoters, and 4) new plant transformation technologies.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Design and build gene constructs
  • Transform gene constructs into plants
  • Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) or single nucleus RNA-sequencing (snRNA-seq)
  • 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 within the last five years is required


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Expertise in molecular cloning
  • Experience in plant transient gene expression and stable transformation
  • Experience working with plant genome editing, pathway engineering, and/or single-cell genomics is desirable
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, demonstrated by a strong publication record from previous research
  • 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


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
  • View Profile
  • 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


Special Requirements:

This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license.


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.

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