Postdoctoral Research Associate - Enzyme Engineering

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Sep 02, 2020
Oct 02, 2020
Field of specialization
Work Function
Job Type
Full time


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will focus on engineering enzymes to transform plastic waste degradation products into high-value polymer precursors.  This position resides in the Synthetic Biology Group in the Biosciences Division, Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


In this position, you will contribute to the Center for Plastics Innovation by choosing and engineering enzymes to transform plastic waste degradation products into high-value polymer precursors. You will develop/implement a directed evolution protein engineering workflow. You will collaborate with researchers (interns, graduate students, technical support staff, postdocs, staff, and faculty) at ORNL and at partner institutions from a range of disciplines (materials science, chemical and biomolecular engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, and machine learning). You will design and execute laboratory experiments, analyze quantitative data, and write and present results to the scientific community.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Interface with internal and external collaborators in various disciplines informally and through regular presentations project meetings.
  • Participate in project planning and conduct research in alignment with project goals, budget, and schedule.
  • Contribute to and lead peer-reviewed journal articles and presentations at national conferences and file invention disclosures as appropriate.
  • Contribute to proposals and reports.
  • Maintain detailed and accurate records of research.
  • Contribute to laboratory operations through shared responsibilities.
  • Demonstrate ethical conduct and understand and apply laboratory safety standards.
  • Mentor students/interns.
  • Choose biocatalysts to promote small molecule transformations, build gene libraries, sequence libraries, and analyze resulting data.
  • Express gene libraries in E. coli or other host organisms.
  • Develop plate-based enzyme assays and screen the expressed libraries.
  • Inspect protein structures or structural models to determine the likely effects of mutations.
  • Scale-up the bioprocess to produce up to gram scale of small molecules.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A doctoral degree in Bioengineering, Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, or a related field is required. 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


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills as demonstrated by publications and presentations.
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory and with other institutions.
  • Ability to function well in an interdisciplinary research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to changing needs.
  • Experience with biocatalysis, enzyme or metabolic engineering, and/or enzymology.
  • Experience with molecular cloning and analysis of sequencing data.
  • Experience with analytical instruments and method development, for example plate readers, liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and/or with liquid handling instruments such as Tecan liquid handlers.


Postdocs: 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. This position is a temporary, full-time assignment for 24-36 months, contingent on successful performance and continued funding.

*Relocation:  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


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.


Apply now