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Sandia National Laboratories Postdoctoral Appointee - Synthetic Biology in Livermore, California


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 needs to 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.


We are seeking a dedicated and hardworking scientist for a postdoctoral fellowship. The selected candidate will work with a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and researchers who are passionate about achieving success while solving some of society’s greatest challenges. Do you have an outstanding track record of research and development in synthetic biology, biochemistry and microbiology? Utilize this expertise to work on a variety of projects helping produce renewable biofuels and bioproducts from lignocellulosic biomass. This includes our portfolio of projects related to biological conversion of lignin to valuable fuels and chemicals. We will provide professional development and coordinate efforts to help you further your career.

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

  • Work with other scientists to write proposals and expand our program into new areas aligned with your expertise and interests;
  • Develop research plans, generate results, and publish peer-reviewed papers. Write reports to funding agencies and participate in scientific conferences.


  • PhD in Biological Sciences or a relevant field with strong background in microbiology, synthetic biology and biochemistry;
  • Expertise in studying microbial communities to determine synergies among community members. Analyze the substrates being consumed and metabolites being produced and adapt microbial communities for growth on new carbon sources;
  • Experience in engineering bacterial or fungal strains for production of biofuels or bioproducts. This might include design and assembly of gene expression systems, transformation, and characterization of modified strains.


  • Knowledge of lignocellulosic biomass deconstruction processes, including chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, and downstream biological conversion;
  • Experience in growing and handling filamentous fungi;
  • Familiarity with analytical tools such as HPLC and GC-MS and applying these to studies of lignin breakdown products;
  • Familiarity with systems biology and multi-omics analyses, including genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics, and associated methods for data collection and analysis.

Department Description:

The Biomass Science and Conversion Technology department is dedicated to developing and advancing innovative technologies for producing the next generation of biofuels. 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 withamazingimpact 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 schedules, generous vacations,strongmedical 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.

EEO Statement:

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or veteran status.