Postdoctoral Research Associate - Theory, Modeling and Simulation of Soft-Matter Systems

Date: Nov 21, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11913 


As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, ORNL has an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. We have a dedicated and creative staff of over 6,000 people! Our vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is to cultivate an environment and practices that foster diversity in ideas and in the people across the organization, as well as to ensure ORNL is recognized as a workplace of choice. These elements are critical for enabling the execution of ORNL’s broader mission to accelerate scientific discoveries and their translation into energy, environment, and security solutions for the nation.


We are seeking an outstanding Postdoctoral Research Associate with experience in performing molecular dynamics simulations of soft matter systems (e.g., polymers and biopolymers) at both the atomistic and coarse-grained levels. In this role, you will work as part of an interdisciplinary team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and partner Universities that is funded by the DOE Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) initiative. As a team member, you will work on projects involving charged polymers or polymer brushes at interfaces in aqueous solutions in contact with biological materials and nanopatterned surfaces. We are particularly interested in candidates who can conduct simulations at the atomistic scale and subsequently translate them to the coarse-grained/mesoscopic level using conventional and/or machine-learning approaches. The ideal candidate will possess the ability to interpret and communicate simulation results in the context of experiments conducted in the laboratory.


The position is within the Nanomaterials Theory Institute (NTI) at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) Division, Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). As a member of our interdisciplinary research team, you will collaborate with scientists performing state-of-the-art experiments such as imaging, spectroscopy, scattering, and impedance measurements, among others.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Collaborate closely with other members of NTI/CNMS and the BRAVE project.
  • Present and report research results and publish in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner.
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.
  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Biophysics, Polymer Physics, Materials Science, Chemistry, Physics, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Develop simulation protocols and perform molecular dynamics simulations of soft matter systems in bulk and at interfaces at both the atomistic and coarse-grained levels.
  • Analyze and interpret simulation results.
  • Experience in modeling proteins and other biological materials using molecular dynamics simulations.
  • Proficiency in macromolecular modeling/simulations of charged systems using both atomistic and coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations.
  • Expertise in developing coarse-grained force fields from atomistic MD simulations.
  • Familiarity with machine-learning approaches, especially to achieve automated coarse-graining and/or developing machine-learned atomistic potentials.
  • Strong background in materials modeling, particularly proteins and polymers, with a focus on molecular dynamics simulations.
  • Proven track record of productive and innovative research demonstrated through publications in peer-reviewed journals and/or conference presentations.
  • Abilities to work independently, be a self-starter, and actively contribute to collaborative team efforts.
  • Demonstrated ability to thrive in a dynamic research environment, prioritize tasks, multitask effectively, and adapt to changing needs.


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.


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


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.


Other benefits include: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Life Insurance, Pet Insurance, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.


If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email:


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.

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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