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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Plant-microbe Interactions

Date: Sep 27, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 5963 



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 the role of plant small proteins and small RNAs in the beneficial interactions with fungi and bacteria, as well as application of genome-editing and synthetic biology to the functional characterization of plant candidate genes involved in plant-microbe symbiosis. This research is supported by DOE Plant-Microbe Interfaces (PMI) Scientific Focus Area (, which seeks to understanding the dynamic interface between plants, microbes and their environment.


In this position, you will work in close collaboration with a diverse team of scientists to perform the following research tasks: 1) functional characterization of poplar small proteins involved in beneficial poplar-microbe interactions, 2) discovery of mobile poplar small RNAs that could regulate fungal gene expression, and 3) elucidation of plant gene function in relation to plant-microbe interactions using CRISPR-based loss- and gain-of-function analysis.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 


  • Design and build gene constructs
  • Transform the gene constructs into plants
  • Characterize transgenic plants in relation to plant-microbe interactions
  • 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 completed within the last 5 years


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


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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville