Biochemistry Postdoctoral Scholar

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Emeryville, California
 Salary will be predetermined based on postdoctoral step rates.
October 11 2018
Organization Type
Job Type

Biochemistry Postdoctoral Scholar - 85660

Organization: BE-Biological Systems & Eng

Berkeley Lab’s Biological Systems & Engineering Division ( has an opening for a Biochemistry Postdoctoral Scholar.  The DOE funded Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) is a multi-organizational research center comprising world-class resources and expertise located in Emeryville, California. The vision of JBEI is that bioenergy crops can be converted into economically-viable, carbon-neutral, biofuels and renewable chemicals currently derived from petroleum, and many other bioproducts that cannot be efficiently produced from petroleum. JBEI’s mission is to establish the scientific knowledge and new technologies in feedstock development, deconstruction and separation, and conversion needed to transform the maximum amount of carbon available in bioenergy crops into biofuels and bioproducts. When fully scaled, JBEI’s technologies will enable the production of replacements for petroleum derived gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and bioproducts. To learn more, visit

The Microbial and Enzyme Discovery Group at JBEI is seeking a postdoctoral scholar to join our team. The incumbent will be focused on discovering and understanding the microorganisms and enzymes involved in biological lignin depolymerization, and harnessing this understanding to develop customized enzyme systems capable of producing targeted lignin-derived intermediates at high yields. You will be responsible for developing robust recombinant protein expression systems for a wide variety of enzymes from bacteria. You are expected to have a strong background in biochemistry and molecular biology, including recombinant bacterial protein expression. You will also collaborate closely with scientists in the Biomass Pretreatment Group and the Feedstocks and Technology Divisions at JBEI, so the ability to work effectively in teams and strong communication skills are critical attributes.

What You Will Do:

  • Identify bacterial lignin deconstructing enzymes from bacterial isolates and microbial communities.
  • Develop expression strategies for recombinant expression of these lignin deconstructing enzymes.
  • Purification of recombinant enzymes.
  • Functional characterization of lignin modifying enzymes.
  • Develop robust analytical methods for monitoring lignin bond cleavage or lignin modifications as a function of enzyme activity.
  • Develop enzyme mixtures that can generate targeted lignin-derived intermediates from lignin streams produced by biomass pretreatment.
  • Assist with the development of funding proposals and preparation of manuscripts for publication.
  • Publish scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and present findings at seminars and conferences.
  • Collaborate with other members of the group and across the Divisions at JBEI.

Additional Responsibilities as needed:

  • Prepare and assist with the development of patents.
  • Participate in group meetings and seminars.
  • Maintain an accurate and detailed scientific logbook of all experiments performed.  Ensure that others could duplicate results.

What is Required: 

  • A Ph.D. in biochemistry, chemical engineering, biochemical engineering, or molecular biology.
  • Extensive experience in recombinant protein expression, enzyme purification and enzyme characterization.
  • Demonstrated track record of publishing in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to work with guidance of principal investigator and collaborators as well as to conduct experiments independently, maintain appropriate records and manage data.
  • Experience with scientific journal writing submissions and ability to write above average reviews and articles for submission.

Additional Desired Qualifications:

  • Previous research experience with lignin depolymerizing and modifying enzymes.
  • Previous research experience in the field of lignin depolymerization and development of assays methods for detecting lignolysis products.
  • Experience with high-throughput enzyme assay development and enzyme mixture optimization.

The posting shall remain open until the position is filled.


  • This is a full time, 1 year, postdoctoral appointment with the possibility of renewal based upon satisfactory job performance, continuing availability of funds and ongoing operational needs. You must have less than 4 years paid postdoctoral experience. Salary for Postdoctoral positions depends on years of experience post-degree.    
  • Full-time, M-F, exempt (monthly paid) from overtime pay.
  • This position is represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes.
  • Salary will be predetermined based on postdoctoral step rates.
  • This position may be subject to a background check. Any convictions will be evaluated to determine if they directly relate to the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Having a conviction history will not automatically disqualify an applicant from being considered for employment.
  • Work will be primarily performed at Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) — Bldg. 978, 5885 Hollis St., 4th floor, Emeryville, CA. 

How To Apply

Apply directly online at and follow the on-line instructions to complete the application process.

Berkeley Lab (LBNL, addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Equal Employment Opportunity: Berkeley Lab is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. Berkeley Lab is in compliance with the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision under 41 CFR 60-1.4 (  Click here ( to view the poster: "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law".

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