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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Cryo-EM of Biotic/Abiotic Interfaces

37830, Oak Ridge
Candidates may discuss with their recruiter at a later date
Closing date
Nov 30, 2023

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Field of specialization
Work Function
Research-Applied, Research-Basic
Job Type

Requisition Id 11965 


Oak Ridge National Lab is a US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory with an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. We are committed to accelerating and translating scientific discoveries into functional energy, environmental, and security solutions and cultivating a workplace that promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) across the organization.


The Materials MicroAnalysis (MMÅ) group in the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to contribute to the development of cryogenic electron microscopy techniques (cryoEM) for studying structural and chemical changes at abiotic/biotic interfaces of designed materials for pathogen detection and neutralization. This position will be a part of a large interdisciplinary team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and partner Universities funded by the DOE Biopreparedness Research Virtual Enviroment (BRaVE) initiative. You will be responsible for performing EM sample preparation and imaging of beam-sensitive samples (i.e., biological/soft matter) and will develop, refine, and utilize multiple cryoEM methods to understand pathogen/surface interactions across length scales.  You will work within the team to collect and analyze data about structural transformations at the abiotic/biotic interface that can be correlated with observed changes in biological phenotype.

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop sample preparation methodologies for beam/environmentally sensitive materials to preserve the abiotic/biotic interface 
  • Implement correlative imaging/analysis methods to develop a system/material agonistic approach for beam/environmentally sensitive sample analysis 
  • Actively participate in the research activities of the multidisciplinary/multiorganizational team
  • Present scientific results at appropriate national/international conferences
  • 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/structural biology, biochemistry, materials sciences, engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Experience with either electron beam-sensitive or environmentally sensitive samples for biological or materials sciences research
  • A strong record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals and presented at scientific conferences
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Strong collaboration skills and ability to work effectively as part of interdisciplinary teams
  • Ability to function in a fast-paced, interdisciplinary research environment
  • Capable of setting and meeting priorities to accomplish research needs

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in biological cryoEM using single particle analysis (SPA), cryogenic electron tomography (cryoET), or microcrystal electron diffraction (microED)
  • Experience in semi-automated cryoEM data collection (e.g., use of SerialEM, Leginon, or ThermoFIsher’s/Gatan’s software suites)
  • Basic knowledge of light-microscopy techniques
  • Experience with cryoEM sample preparation e.g., vitrification with high-pressure or plunge-freezing; cryogenic focused-ion beam (FIB) lamella preparation and/or FIB lift-out; and cryogenic ultra-microtome sectioning  
  • Familiarity with high-performance computing environments and experience in Python programming
  • Experience with or knowledge of cryoEM data processing tools (e.g., cryoSPARC, SCIPION, Relion, etc) or biological macromolecular visualization/reconstruction tools (e.g., Chimera, PyMol, Phenix, Coot)
  • Knowledge of other electron microscopy techniques such as scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), and volume electron microscopy (vEM)

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.

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.

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