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Post-Doctoral Research Associate - Synthetic Biology (UTIA)

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN

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Job Details


Postdoctoral Research Associates in Synthetic Biology

(Multiple Positions)



The Center for Agricultural Synthetic Biology is a post-doctoral research associate to work in the laboratories of Dr. Scott C. Lenaghan and Dr. C. Neal Stewart, Jr. at the University of Tennessee.

The projects are currently funded by DARPA, DOE, USDA, and NSF awards and cover a variety of areas with a primary emphasis on pushing the limits of synthetic biology with regards to advanced gene regulation and biosensor development in plants and protozoal parasites. The projects are highly interdisciplinary and prior experience with plants or protozoa is not required, as yeast and bacterial systems are commonly used to validate components and drive innovation in more complex systems.  

Applicants will focus on utilizing synthetic and molecular biology approaches to solve real-world challenges facing the energy, medical, agricultural, and biotechnology sectors. As the projects are high-risk, high-reward, and focused on achieving aggressive milestones, applicants must be capable of thinking ‘outside the box’ and meeting designated deadlines.


Applicants must have a PhD in molecular biology, cell biology, biotechnology, biomedical engineering or a related-field. Candidates who are in process of obtaining the degree may be considered but degree must be conferred by Summer 2024 with official transcript provided as verification.

Post-doctoral applicants must have demonstrated experience (publications) in molecular biology, cell biology, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, bioengineering or a related-field to be considered for this position. Preference will be given to applicants with strong publication records, considerable drive and motivation, and excellent problem-solving skills.

Due to the diversity of projects, applicants should specify in the cover letter their preferred research direction from the descriptions below:

    Engineering logic circuits in plants to control heterologous gene expression for a variety of applicationsAssembly of large synthetic DNA molecules for metabolic engineering in non-model speciesDevelopment of high-throughput, automated cell culture and analysis systems for protozoal pathogensDevelopment of plant or cross-kingdom biosensors for environmental monitoring in the built environmentPlant metabolic engineering for the production of high-value compounds in duckweed   
The Lenaghan and Stewart labs and the Center for Agricultural Synthetic Biology at UT provide outstanding research facilities and a highly stimulating interdisciplinary research environment including a large team of postdocs, technicians, and graduate and undergraduate students.

Positions are full-time with benefits and available immediately for one-to-two years (depending on the immediate best-fit project) with a possibility of renewal for up to four years based on performance and continued funding. Salary is based on experience and qualifications according to UT policy.

Job: Research Professional
Primary Location: US-Tennessee-knoxville
Organization: Food Science Research
Schedule: Full-time
Job Posting: Apr 1, 2024, 1:02:27 PM


Working at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Founded in 1794, the University of Tennessee is one of the nation’s oldest and most storied public universities. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee’s flagship land-grant institution includes the statewide Institute of Agriculture and the Space Institute in Tullahoma. The university embodies excellence in teaching, discovery, scholarship, research, creative activity, outreach, and engagement. Known as the Volunteers, we lead with a spirit of selflessness, empathy, and courage, and strive to be champions for diversity, equity, and inclusion

UT Knoxville is a Research 1 university with 11 academic colleges and more than 900 programs of study. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, our academic programs are repeatedly ranked top in their class. The university co-manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the country’s most prominent national lab, driving innovation in advanced manufacturing and materials, national security, and more. We are closely connected with our communities through outreach and extension efforts across Tennessee and through partnerships with non-profits, corporations, and industries—regionally, nationally, and around the globe.

The city of Knoxville is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The modern, thriving community is surrounded by gorgeous lakes and hundreds of miles of walking, hiking, and biking trails. Situated along the banks of the Tennessee River, our beautiful features an eclectic music scene, internationally recognized festivals, unique restaurants, and a robust offering of diverse cultural activities. Knoxville is located within a day’s drive of Atlanta, Nashville, Asheville, Charlotte, Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

Knoxville and the surrounding counties have a population of more than 850,000 people. The region houses many leading corporations and organizations, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pilot/Flying J, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Regal Cinemas, along with HGTV, Food Network, and other networks owned by Discovery Inc.

As a member of the UT family, you will be surrounded by top-notch faculty, staff, and students from around the world. You will be part of a diverse campus community that is passionate about changing the world and cheering for the Vols on game day.

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