Postdoctoral Appointee in Synthetic Biology at the Agile Biofoundry (Emeryville)

Emeryville, California
Depends on experience
May 04, 2021
Jun 01, 2021
Field of specialization
Biochemical, Biological, Microbiological
Job Type

What Your Job Will Be Like

Sandia/California’s Biomaterials and Biomanufacturing Department is seeking a creative, dedicated, and hardworking Postdoctoral Scientist to work within the Agile BioFoundry (ABF) to engineer non-model fungi to produce biofuels and biochemicals to accelerate its mission. ABF and Sandia are working to enable a robust bioeconomy by developing advanced biomanufacturing capabilities accessible to industry and academic partners.

A team of expert scientists and engineers are developing a non-model fungal conversion host and have engineered pathways for a wide range of bioproducts into them, including terpenes, lipid-derived products, and organic acids. We are seeking an individual with expertise in metabolic engineering to join us and help develop engineering tools (e.g. CRISPR) for these organisms and then use the engineered hosts to produce new valuable bioproducts.

On any given day, you may be called on to:

  • Develop and implement approaches to iteratively engineer fungi to produce bioproducts;
  • Collaborate with machine learning (ML) data scientists to leverage ML capabilities to accelerate progress
  • Develop proteomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic approaches to understand the microbial engineering efforts;
  • Participate in laboratory management and mentoring student interns;
  • Present results at project meetings and conferences.

Qualifications We Require

  • PhD in Biology, Bioengineering, Biochemistry, Mycology, or closely related field;
  • The ability to conduct and communicate creative, independent research as proven through a record of high technical accomplishment (e.g. publication in high-impact scientific journals, presentations at national/international conferences).

Qualifications We Desire

  • Proven experience with non-model fungi and microbial conversion of lignocellulosic sugars into bioproducts;
  • Experience in proteomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis;
  • Experience in designing DNA expression constructs in silico and transformation;
  • Experience in screening strains for bioproduct production using analytical techniques such as HPLC, GCMS etc.;
  • Experience with optimizing cultivation conditions at benchtop and bioreactor scales to maximize bioproduct titer, rate and yield.

Position Information

This postdoctoral position is a temporary position for up to one year, which may be renewed at Sandia's discretion up to five additional years. The PhD must have been conferred within five years prior to employment.

Individuals in postdoctoral positions may bid on regular Sandia positions as internal candidates, and in some cases may be converted to regular career positions during their term if warranted by ongoing operational needs, continuing availability of funds, and satisfactory job performance.

About Our Team

The Biomaterials and Biomanufacturing Department is dedicated to developing and advancing innovative technologies for producing the next generation of biofuels and biomaterials. Our multidisciplinary staff represents a diverse range of backgrounds and skill sets: molecular biology, chemistry, chemical and biochemical engineering, biophysics, computational science, and biochemistry. We partner broadly with other Sandia departments as well as other national laboratories, industry, and universities to develop practical, science-based solutions to national energy goals. We also play an essential role in the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), one of three Bioenergy Research Centers in the Nation advancing the next generation of biofuel technologies.

About Sandia

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:
• Challenging work with amazing impact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide
• Extraordinary co-workers
• Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world
• Career advancement and enrichment opportunities
• Flexible work arrangements for many positions include 9/80 (work 80 hours every two weeks, with every other Friday off) and 4/10 (work 4 ten-hour days each week) compressed workweeks, part-time work, and telecommuting (a mix of onsite work and working from home)
• Generous vacations, strong medical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at:
*These benefits vary by job classification.

Security Clearance

This position does not currently require a Department of Energy (DOE) security clearance.

Sandia will conduct a pre-employment drug test and background review that includes checks of personal references, credit, law enforcement records, and employment/education verifications. Furthermore, employees in New Mexico need to pass a U.S. Air Force background screen for access to Kirtland Air Force Base. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause access to be denied or terminated, resulting in the inability to perform the duties assigned and subsequent termination of employment.

If hired without a clearance and it subsequently becomes necessary to obtain and maintain one for the position, or you bid on positions that require a clearance, a pre-processing background review may be conducted prior to a required federal background investigation. Applicants for a DOE security clearance need to be U.S. citizens. If you hold more than one citizenship (i.e., of the U.S. and another country), your ability to obtain a security clearance may be impacted.

Members of the workforce (MOWs) hired at Sandia who require uncleared access for greater than 179 days during their employment, are required to go through the Uncleared Personal Identity Verification (UPIV) process. Access includes physical and/or cyber (logical) access, as well as remote access to any NNSA information technology (IT) systems. UPIV requirements are not applicable to individuals who require a DOE personnel security clearance for the performance of their SNL employment or to foreign nationals. The UPIV process will include the completion of a USAccess Enrollment, SF-85 (Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions) and OF-306 (Declaration of for Federal Employment). An unfavorable UPIV determination will result in immediate retrieval of the SNL issued badge, removal of cyber (logical) access and/or removal from SNL subcontract.  All MOWs may appeal the unfavorable UPIV determination to DOE/NNSA immediately. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the MOW may try to go through the UPIV process one year after the decision date.


All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status and any other protected class under state or federal law.

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