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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Plant Systems Biology

Date: Mar 27, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37831

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4419 


The Biosciences Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory invites qualified persons to apply for the position of Postdoctoral Research Associate in Plant Molecular and Systems Biology.


Major Duties/Responsibilities

You will join a team of diverse, cross-disciplinary scientific and technical staff working to characterize the plant developmental, metabolic and signaling pathways underlying mediation of beneficial relationships with bacterial and fungal symbionts of Populus, as part of a larger DOE-funded Plant Microbe Interfaces (PMI SFA) project (


With a specific goal to understand the influence of host genetics on rhizosphere dynamics and establishment of beneficial relationships with microbes, your work will focus on conducting and analyzing co-culture experiments using Populus and Arabidopsis plants and microbial isolates/consortia. Experiments will be carried out in tissue culture and greenhouse settings and involve characterizing responses associated with temporal changes in root growth and metabolic and molecular profiles. You would also be involved in cloning of significant candidate genes and domains based on phylogenetic and expression analyses in order to validate their predicted functional significance (developmental/defense; calcium/kinase signaling) as part of a collaboration with computational, microbial and synthetic biologists. Activities would include RNA isolation and library preparation, cloning, RNA-seq data analysis, phylogenetic analysis, plant tissue culture propagation, co-culture assays in tissue culture and greenhouse, plant and root growth analysis, data analysis and preparation of oral presentations and journal publications describing the results.


The selected candidate will be part of the Plant Systems Biology group, which is undertaking broad, integrated approaches to enhance fundamental understanding of genetic controls of plant productivity, biomass quality and sustainability in bioenergy-relevant plants.


Basic Requirements

  • Ph.D. in plant biology, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry or related fields within the past 5 years is required.

Preferred Requirements

  • Prior experience with rhizosphere chemistry characterization, Root cell-/tissue-type characterization
  • Prior publication record relevant to plant-microbe assays and/or root development.
  • Prior knowledge and demonstrated expertise in molecular, genetic, and biochemical characterization of genes and pathways 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and ability to work in a team environment


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. 


Appointments will initially be for 24 months with a possibility of an extension of up to 12 months. 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.

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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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville