Synthetic Biology Postdoc Position Openings at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Contact: Yongqin Jiao (jiao1@llnl.gov


We have two openings on two projects. One of which involves metabolic and protein engineering for rare earth recovery and separation; the other focuses on engineering genetic circuits with sensors and kill switches for biocontainment. Please see below for more description of these projects.


Rare earth biomining: Recent advances in synthetic biology tools coupled with recent discoveries of rare earth element (REE)-specific microbial metabolisms offers a compelling opportunity for developing novel REE biomining processes. We are developing novel biomining methods for the separation, purification, and conversion of REEs into manufacturing-ready forms through the integration of traditional biomining microbes with emerging molecular components of REE-specific metabolisms. We will implement design-build-test-learn (DBTL) synthetic biology cycles that capitalize on selective metal binding and mineralization mechanisms employed by microbial and biomolecular systems. Resultant bioengineering approaches are coupled with process engineering workflows, techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment for selective and high-capacity biomining of individual REEs.


This is a link to the description of the 2nd project on biocontainment of genetically engineered microorganisms:


Posting description:


Essential Duties:

  • Conduct fundamental research in microbial synthetic biology for environmental applications
  • Employ state of the art synbio approaches to produce genetic variant libraries
  • Develop high throughput approaches to assay the functionality of protein variants.
  • Employ synthetic biology to implement biological circuits in environmental microorganisms and characterize circuit stability in test beds.
  • Develop research plans, generate results, and publish peer-reviewed papers.
  • Work with other scientists to write proposals and expand our program into new areas aligned with your expertise and interests.
  • Write reports to funding agencies and participate in scientific conferences.
  • Pursue independent (but complementary) research interests and interact with a broad spectrum of scientists internally and externally to the Laboratory.
  • Publish research results in peer-reviewed scientific or technical journals and present results at external conferences, seminars, and/or technical meeting.



  • PhD in Biological Sciences, Bioengineering, or a relevant field with a strong emphasis in synthetic biology and microbiology.
  • Experience in synthetic biology and systems biology
  • Experience in engineering bacterial strains for environmental function. This might include design, assembly, and modeling of genetic circuits or metabolic engineering for biofuel, bioproducts or biomaterials.
  • Experience and knowledge in bacterial physiology.
  • Experience as an innovative experimentalist in genetic manipulations including experimental design, techniques, and execution.
  • Ability to develop independent research projects as demonstrated through publication of peer-reviewed literature.
  • Proficient verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills to collaborate effectively in a multidisciplinary team environment and present and explain technical information.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience with high throughput screening methods such as FACS
  • Experience with gene editing in non-model strains (non- coli systems).
  • Knowledge of metal homeostasis/resistance pathways and experience in bioinorganic chemistry.
  • Experience collective and analyzing omics data, including genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics.
Read the full article at: