Postdoctoral Researcher – Biomass Cell Wall and Conversion Analysis
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado is the nation's primary laboratory for research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
The Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center is a talented team of scientists (researchers) and technicians working in biological, chemical, and catalytic research approaches to renewable energy and materials for a circular economy. The center has strong focus in polymer design and upcycling, separations, synthetic biology and bioconversion, analytical sciences, computational modeling, and lignocellulosic chemistry and catalysis.
The Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center at NREL has an opening for a full time post-doctoral researcher working within a team focused on the analysis of biomass to gain a better understanding of the relationships amongst cell wall properties and plant performance in the field and conversion pipelines. This role will be working in collaboration with two project partners - The Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI) and the Feedstock Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC). More info can be found at these two links. https://cbi.ornl.gov/ & https://www.energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/feedstock-conversion-interface-consortium
What to expect for the role:
- Analytical method implementation and development for lignocellulosic biomass compositional and cell wall structural analysis, particularly using mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy
- Implement and develop high-throughput methods for analyzing biomass compositional, structural and other physicochemical and conversion characteristics
- Critical analysis of data using variety of statistical tools and formatting for manuscripts and presentations
- Presentation of findings in high-impact journals, conferences and patents
- Development of new concepts and ideas for biomass analysis and data-driven hypotheses for biomass compositional and structural behavior in field and conversion platforms and for manipulation of biomass for optimized properties
The successful candidate will support interdisciplinary projects focused on the analysis of lignocellulosic biomass for advancing knowledge of the relationships between cell wall compositional and structural properties as they relate to biomass agricultural performance (stress resilience, yield, etc.) and conversion to fuels and bioderived products (enzymatic deconstruction, thermochemical conversion, etc.). Emphasis will include using established and developing methods for analysis of lignocellulosic cell wall structure and components (lignin, sugars, suberin, lipids, metabolites, etc.), statistical analysis of laboratory data and implementation and development of high-throughput analytical methods for biomass analysis.
Technical leadership in planning, design, and execution of research; presentation of findings in patents, high-impact journals, technical reports, and conferences; and literature review including the development of new concepts and ideas for biomass analysis and related insights will also be needed. The successful candidate will be expected to have extensive knowledge of analytical instrumentation, statistical data analysis, lignocellulosic biomass cell wall chemistry, and laboratory safety.
Must be a recent PhD graduate within the last three years.
Additional Required Qualifications
- Strong background in operation and troubleshooting of analytical instruments (NMR, GC-MS, LC, etc.) as well as method development for analysis of biomass and bio-derived solids and liquids
- Demonstrated ability to disseminate research findings through technical reports, publications, and presentations to external audiences including at national conferences
- Demonstrated excellence in biomass analysis research supported by a strong publication record
- Experience working with large volumes of data and/or data dimensions and associated statistical data analysis tools (PCA, ANOVA, etc.)
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Experience conducting research across cross-disciplinary teams
- Experience with highly collaborative research including engagement with scientists at other National Laboratories, industrial, and/or academic partners
- Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills; attention to detail; ability to work independently and in teams and to deliver high-quality results within aggressive timelines
- Dedication to a safe and clean work environment
- Fostering an inclusive and collaborative work environment