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, development and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. NREL emphasizes a well-integrated, interdisciplinary team approach to addressing the unique, fundamental research challenges for developing market relevant, renewable energy technologies. The NREL’s Biosciences Center has an immediate opening for a full-time (40 hours/week) Postdoctoral Researcher position in the Redox Biochemistry Group to conduct fundamental research on the electron transfer and N2 activation mechanisms of nitrogenases. The research will employ an integrated approach based on implementing photochemical and biophysical methodologies and experimental approaches. The candidate’s research responsibilities will include the application of electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) and vibrational spectroscopy and photochemical poising of nitrogenases towards the broader goal of understanding the mechanisms of electron injection, transfer and coupling to the activation of N2. The paramagnetic and photochemical spectroscopy will be conducted at the new Advanced Spin Resonance Facility at NREL, which includes multiple continuous-wave and pulsed EPR spectrometers, as well as optical probes, a fiber optic laser, and photochemical freeze-quench apparatus.
The research project is highly collaborative, and involves both internal and external groups. Therefore, the candidate will be required on a regular basis to prepare reports on research progress, as well as write manuscripts of the work and present results at national meetings. To meet these requirements the candidate must possess strong organizational skills, and excellent oral and written communication skills.
The primary responsibility will be to conduct basic research on redox enzymes and metalloenzymes using a variety of methods including biochemical, photochemical, and spectroscopic approaches. Primary responsibilities include the preparation of results for publication, and regular reports on research progress. The candidate will be expected to assist in project planning and proposal development. Some responsibility for the training and supervision of students and new postdoctoral scientists will also be required.
Required Education, Experience, and Skills
Must be a recent PhD graduate within the last three years.
A Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Biophysics or Chemistry with emphasis on biochemical studies of the biophysical properties of redox metalloenzymes (e.g., nitrogenases, hydrogenases). Graduate research experience in the isolation of metalloenzymes, redox poising of enzyme samples, and the application of biochemical, EPR, and other spectroscopic techniques to study enzyme mechanisms and the structural and physical properties of metallo-cofactors. Must have strong oral and written communication skills in English, a strong history of prior publication on relevant research, and several years experience working as a part of an interdisciplinary research team. Candidates with additional experience or knowledge of the use of photo-driven methods in the study of enzymes will be strongly considered.
Previous working experience in conducting basic research on the electronic properties, electron transport mechanisms of redox enzymes. Experience with the safe-handling of inorganic materials and nanoparticles, knowledge of anaerobic laboratory techniques for expression, purification, and handling of oxygen-sensitive redox active biocatalysts, experience with biological freeze-quench and stopped-flow techniques as applied to enzyme kinetics and mechanisms, experience with light-induced, transient EPR and pulsed EPR techniques.