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Emeryville Postdoctoral Appointee - Microfluidics for Synthetic Biology

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 must 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.
Are you looking for an innovative and creative research opportunity? We seek highly motivated individuals to work as part of a cross-disciplinary team that specializes in developing innovative microfluidic and microanalytical platforms for high-throughput screening and optimization of metabolic pathways for biofuels and bioproducts. We are looking for a postdoctoral fellow to join our multidisciplinary group to focus on developing next-generation of microfluidic devices using high-performance polymeric substrates.

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

  • Perform research involving surface modification of polymers and deposition of metals and other inorganic compounds on polymeric substrates;
  • Develop organic/inorganic composites with desirable surface properties such as biocompatibility and superhydrophobicity;
  • Carry out microfluidic device fabrication and integration into complete systems;
  • Characterize the devices by analytical techniques and use them for synthetic biology operations such as DNA assembly, DNA amplification, cell transformations, and cell culture;
  • Analyze and integrate results as part of a cross-disciplinary team of experts;
  • Publish scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and present findings at seminars and conferences.

Department Description:

Biotechnology and Bioengineering Department, located in Livermore, and Emeryville, CA, performs both basic and applied biological and bioengineering research with broad applications in national security. We address problems such as biodefense and health security, developing advanced technology including micro- and nanofluidics and engineered automated systems, and new research approaches which include gene-editing and novel nanomaterials. We also address national energy security by developing the science and engineering required to be able to produce clean, efficient, and cost-effective biofuels, specialty chemicals and polymers on a commercial scale. This work is carried out in partnership with the Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) as well as other external academic and commercial partners. The department is highly multidisciplinary and is comprised of researchers with expertise in many disciplines of biology, chemistry and engineering.

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 with amazing impact 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, strong medical 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.

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.


  • PhD in Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, Polymer Science and Engineering, Materials Science, or a related discipline;
  • Experience with surface modification and chemical treatment of polymers;
  • Experience with thin film deposition (e.g. CVD) and analytical characterization techniques (e.g. DSC, DMA, AFM, and XPS);
  • In-depth knowledge of structure-property relations and materials properties; ability to design materials to desired properties;
  • Broad experience of conducting and modifying different types of sample pretreatments, mixing/compounding, coating, pressing, lamination, and material transfer processes;
  • An excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals.


  • Experience with polymer synthesis;
  • Knowledge of organic synthesis;
  • Experience with conjugation and functionalization of surfaces with biomolecules;
  • Experience with complex 3D printing fabrication, such as metal filled PLA, laser sintering etc.;
  • Knowledge of conductive nano-colloidal inks and/or electroplating chemistries is a plus;
  • Knowledge of microfluidic devices and techniques;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience.

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.