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Postdoctoral Research Associate – Bioenergy

Job ID 3249 Date posted 11/16/2022

Brookhaven National Laboratory ( delivers discovery science and transformative technology to power and secure the nation’s future. Brookhaven Lab is a multidisciplinary laboratory with seven Nobel Prize-winning discoveries, 37 R&D 100 Awards, and more than 70 years of pioneering research. The Lab is primarily supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science. Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA) operates and manages the Laboratory for DOE. BSA is a partnership between Battelle and The Research Foundation for the State University of New York on behalf of Stony Brook University. BSA salutes our veterans and active military members with careers that leverage the skills and unique experience they gained while serving our country. Our organization fully supports service members transitioning from active duty to civilian life and pledge’s our commitment to actively hire veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Military personnel who have been formally trained or have relevant experience obtained while in service may meet educational requirements and are encouraged to apply for job opportunities at BSA.

Organizational Overview

Researchers in the Biology Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory seek to unravel and fully describe the complexities of biological systems. Our work helps to develop and makes use of the tools and techniques of biochemistry, molecular genetics, and structural biology. We also leverage the unique capabilities of Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source-II and Center for Functional Nanomaterials, major research facilities open to scientists from around the world. Our research makes important contributions to fulfilling the missions of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences and Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

Position Description

The Biology Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory seeks to fill two Postdoctoral Research Associate openings. In this role, you will engage in genetic optimization of bioenergy crops for the reduced lignin recalcitrance, enhanced biomass yield and processability, and/or producing the desired high value bioproducts. You will also enjoy a high level of interaction with an international and multicultural scientific community.

Position Requirements

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Identifying and characterizing the enzymes, regulators, and/or other biological factors controlling the desired metabolic processes.
  • Designing metabolic engineering or synthetic biology strategies and conducting experiments to optimize defined crops.
  • Establishing and maintaining experimental materials/samples.
  • Collecting, documenting and analyzing experimental data.
  • Writing manuscripts.
  • Presenting research results at meetings and conferences.
Required Knowledge Skills and Abilities:
  • Requires a Ph.D. in plant molecular genetics, plant biochemistry, synthetic biology or related field.
  • Extensive laboratory research experience in plant molecular genetics or plant biochemistry.
  • Operating analytic instruments such as HPLC, LC-MS and/or GC-MS and performing data analyses.
  • Ability to multi-tasks and meet deadlines as required.
  • Ability to work independently with a strong work ethic and self-motivation.
  • A proven track record of experimental design, execution and data analysis as reflected in manuscript writing and successful publication in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Demonstrated track record of poster presentations and/or oral presentations at scientific meetings.
  • Sophisticated molecular biology techniques, including but not limited to DNA and RNA isolation, molecular cloning, gene/genome editing, protein expression and purification, enzymatic assay and product analysis.

Preferred Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Knowledge in lignin biosynthesis and chemical structure. 
  • Knowledge on plant specialized metabolism.
  • Experience with plant cell wall study.
  • Experience in advanced molecular cloning and synthetic biology approaches.
  • Skill in woody or grass plant transformation.


  • Domestic travel may be required.
  • Research under the direction of Dr. Chang-Jun Liu.
  • BNL policy requires that after obtaining a PhD, eligible candidates for research associate appointments may not exceed a combined total of 5 years of relevant work experience as a post-doc and/or in an R&D position, excluding time associated with family planning, military service, illness or other life-changing events.
  • Initial 3 year term appointment subject to renewal contingent on performance and funding.

At Brookhaven National Laboratory we believe that a comprehensive employee benefits program is an important and meaningful part of the compensation employees receive. Our benefits program includes, but is not limited to:

  • Medical, Dental, and Vision Care Plans
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Paid Time-off and Leave Programs (vacation, holidays, sick leave, paid parental leave)
  • 401(k) Plan
  • Flexible Work Arrangements
  • Tuition Assistance, Training and Professional Development Programs
  • Employee Fitness/Wellness & Recreation:  Gym/Basketball Courts, Weight Room, Fitness Classes, Indoor Pool, Tennis Courts, Sports Clubs/Activities (Basketball, Ping Pong, Softball, Tennis)

Brookhaven Science Associates requires proof of a COVID-19 vaccination for all employees. Proof of full vaccination as recognized by the CDC and/or WHO, inclusive of the two-week waiting period, is required at the start of your employment.

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is an equal opportunity employer that values inclusion and diversity at our Lab. We are committed to ensuring that all qualified applicants receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, status as a veteran, disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

BNL takes affirmative action in support of its policy and to advance in employment individuals who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities. We ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

*VEVRAA Federal Contractor

Brookhaven employees are subject to restrictions related to participation in Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs, as defined and detailed in United States Department of Energy Order 486.1A. You will be asked to disclose any such participation at the time of hire for review by Brookhaven. The full text of the Order may be found at:

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