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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Molecular Biophysics

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.
We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Center for Molecular Biophysics ( and the Molecular Biophysics group at the Biosciences Division ( at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in computational research on lignocellulosic materials. Emphasis will be put in optimizing nanocellulose biomaterials. The structure of native plant cell walls and their deconstruction to energy and materials will also be considered. This project is part of a large multidisciplinary efforts to develop Advanced Manufacturing for forest-based fiber-reinforced polymer composites and to understand the mechanism behind biomass deconstruction.
Major Duties/Responsibilities: 
In this position, you will:
  • Investigate computationally plant biopolymers, such as cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin.
  • Conduct molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, atomistic and coarse-grained, of cellulose nanofibers in composite polymer materials.
  • Investigate how solvation alters the structure of lignocellulose and of membranes of bacteria that convert sugars to biofuels.
  • Work closely with experimental collaborators to validate the simulation findings and interpret experimental results.
  • Publish research results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely fashion.
Basic Qualifications:
  • A PhD in Physics, Chemistry, Biophysics, Biology, Chemical Engineering or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Prior knowledge and demonstrated expertise in Computational Biophysics
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Experience in simulation of plant biopolymers
  • Experience in both atomistic and coarse grained simulations
  • Experience with machine learning approaches as applied to MD simulations
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs
For further information, contact: Dr. Loukas Petridis, Center for Molecular Biophysics Biosciences Division, ORNL at (865) 576-2576 or
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.
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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.
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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.