R&D Assistant Staff Member - Synthetic Biology

Updated: 18 days ago
Location: Oak Ridge, TENNESSEE

Requisition Id 6058 


The Biosciences Division (BSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is focused on advancing science and technology to better understand complex biological systems and their relationship with the environment. BSD has expertise and special facilities in genomics, computational biology, microbiology, microbial ecology, biophysics and structural biology, and plant sciences. Research experiments include large scale laboratory, greenhouse and field experimental data acquisition, management, organization and analysis to derive insight and hypotheses suitable for further experimental validation and to improve researchers’ ability to further advance understanding of biological systems.


The Synthetic Biology Group in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Biosciences Division is seeking a fungal biologist/biochemist to work with staff scientists to build our fungal biology program and address research goals in biotechnology, biosecurity, and agriculture.  The successful candidate will conduct natural products research (including microbes and plants, with a particular emphasis on fungi) for multiple projects, including our Plant-Microbe Interactions Science Focus Area (pmi.ornl.org), the Center for Bioenergy Innovation (cbi.ornl.gov), and the cBioFab Biodesign project.  The primary objective within these projects will be the discovery of natural products and signals from fungi, bacteria, and plants using both traditional organic chemistry methods and the application of mass spectrometry-based metabolite analyses. The research will include the purification and identification biochemical signals exchanged between bacteria, fungi, and plants, including signals involved in the establishment of plant-microbe symbiotic relationships, and signals involved in priming/inducing plant defense responses to pathogens in contrast to symbionts.  The combined studies will aim to elucidate the complex microbial interactions with their hosts and other microbes. For these studies, you will design and execute laboratory experiments, maintain detailed and accurate records, analyze quantitative data, and communicate results to the scientific community through presentations and publications. These multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional projects that require a team-oriented, collaborative spirit.


 Major Duties / Responsibilities:


  • Design, implement, and deliver R&D solutions to isolate and characterize natural products from microbes (particularly fungi) and plants, and determine their role(s) in defense and defense signal cascades.
  • Publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Present results both informally (e.g., in internal meetings) and formally to sponsors or research peers (e.g., conferences)
  • Mentor less experienced staff members, students, or interns
  • Maintain a culture of continued learning
  • Work with a diverse team of scientists
  • Interface directly with internal and external partners in various disciplines
  • Participate in project planning and execution
  • Maintain detailed and accurate records
  • Acquire and analyze data in keeping with project scheduling
  • Take a position of leadership for day-to-day laboratory operations while addressing all of ORNL’s environmental health and safety requirements
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics



  • A doctoral degree and post-doctoral experience in plant pathology, fungal biology, plant biochemistry, microbial biochemistry, natural products chemistry, or related field. 
  • Experience in techniques for the isolation and characterization of natural products from microbes and plants.
  • Familiarity with software for mass spectrometry data processing post metabolomic analyses
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to a scientific audience.
  • Proven publication record.
  • Desire to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team.
  • Familiarity with sequencing and ‘omics datasets and techniques is a plus.



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 ORNLRecruiting@ornl.gov.

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

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