Postdoctoral Research Associate - Biomaterials Characterization

Updated: 29 days ago
Location: Oak Ridge, TENNESSEE

Requisition Id 2535 

The Biofuels Scientific Focus Area (Biofuels SFA) project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking a postdoctoral associate to pursue research in the field of biopolymer characterization using neutron and X-ray scattering techniques. This project aims to establish a fundamental understanding of plant cell wall structure as well as changes to its structure during chemical and enzymatic deconstruction, for production of cost- and energy-efficient bio-fuels. Neutron scattering provides unique ways to investigate the structure and dynamics of biomass and its component polymers through the application of isotope labeling and neutron contrast variation. ORNL is host to world-leading neutron scattering instrumentation that provide unprecedented opportunities for advancing our knowledge about this multi-component, hierarchical biological material. 
As a member of a multi-disciplinary research team of bio-physicists, chemists, computational scientists, and engineers, you will conduct independent and collaborative neutron scattering experiments at ORNL’s neutron scattering facilities, the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), and Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). A significant part of your work will require you to coordinate with team members on the design, execution and analysis of experiments. This role is an excellent opportunity for a young postdoctoral scientist to develop their career, broaden their experience in topics relevant to biopolymer characterization, and to interact with leading scientists from around the world.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • You will pursue a high-quality independent and collaborative research program, build national and international collaborations, and publish research results in scientific journals.
  • You will pursue complementary techniques such as X-ray scattering/diffraction.
  • You will maintain strong communication with an interdisciplinary team of scientists such as coordinating with chemists on sample preparation and computational scientists on data modeling and interpretation.
  • You will ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements.
  • As a member of the ORNL scientific community, you will be expected to commit to ORNL's Research Code of Conduct. Our full code of conduct, and a statement by the Lab Director's office can be found here: .


Basic Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, Food Science, Material Science, Agriculture, Biophysics or related fields.
  • A strong record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively with staff at all levels and to work in a multi-disciplinary team.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Previous experience with working in, or performing experiments at, neutron or synchrotron X-ray user facilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and other research scientists from both academia and/or industry.
  • Prior experience with chemical and bio-polymer materials characterization techniques.


Other Requirements:

  • Please provide a list of publications when applying for this position.
  • If you are selected for interview, you will be required to submit a minimum of 2 letters of recommendation.


The Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) operates the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), the United States' highest flux reactor-based neutron source, and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), the world's most intense pulsed accelerator-based neutron source. Together these facilities operate 30 instruments for neutron scattering research, each year carrying out in excess of 1,000 experiments in the physical, chemical, materials, biological and medical sciences. HFIR also provides unique facilities for isotope production and neutron irradiation.
To learn more about Neutron Sciences at ORNL, please go to this link:

Benefits at ORNL:  UT-Battelle offers a quality benefits package, including a matching 401(k), contributory pension plan, paid vacation, and medical/dental plan options. Onsite amenities include a credit union, medical clinic, cafeteria, coffee stands, and fitness facilities.  
Relocation:  Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for this position. If you are invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter 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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If you have trouble applying for a position, please email [email protected]

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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