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Postdoctoral Research Staff Member - Carbon Cycle Science

Entry Level | Full-time
Physical Life Sciences | livermore, CA | 04/20/2022

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Company Description

Join us and make YOUR mark on the World!

Are you interested in joining some of the brightest talent in the world to strengthen the United States’ security? Come join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where our employees apply their expertise to create solutions for BIG ideas that make our world a better place.

We are committed to a diverse and equitable workforce with an inclusive culture that values and celebrates the diversity of our people, talents, ideas, experiences, and perspectives. This is essential to innovation and creativity for continued success of the Laboratory’s mission.

Job Description

We have an opening for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) to work within the natural-radiocarbon group in support of new and ongoing projects in terrestrial carbon cycle and fire science, including the development of compound-specific radiocarbon measurements and biomarker analysis. Your research will include studies of: the chemical and isotopic characterization of soil organic matter (SOM); separation of compound biomarkers relevant to carbon transformation by microbial processing and fire; development of protocols for separations of targeted chemical markers from soils and sediments for potential isotopic analysis; and data synthesis and modeling. This position is in the Atmospheric, Earth & Energy Division.

In this role you will

  • Conduct creative and independent research as a member of a multi-disciplinary team, collaborate in technique development and sample analysis in experimental programs in terrestrial carbon cycling.
  • Develop and implement workflows for isolation targeted compounds and compound classes from sediments, soils, and soil fractions/extracts via a variety of techniques including HPLC.
  • Characterize soil organic matter and assess the purity of targeted compounds via HPLC-MS and 13C-NMR spectroscopy.
  • Document and publish research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals and present results at international conferences, present seminars and/or presentations at technical meetings.
  • Assist in the flow of natural 14C samples through the CAMS laboratory, and participate in technique development, AMS operation, and data analysis as part of the overall activity of the natural-radiocarbon research group.
  • Conduct fieldwork and travel to field sites.
  • Pursue independent, but complementary, research interests and interact with a broad spectrum of scientists internally and externally to the Laboratory.
  • Collaborate with others in a multidisciplinary team environment to accomplish research goals.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Ability to secure and maintain a U.S. DOE Q-level security clearance, which requires U.S. Citizenship.
  • Ph.D. in Soil Biogeochemistry, Geochemistry, Environmental Chemistry, or a related discipline.
  • Experience in carbon cycle research including organic matter characterization using physical and chemical separation techniques and 13C-NMR spectroscopy.
  • Quantitative understanding and interpretation of stable isotope or radiocarbon analyses in carbon cycle studies with a focus on belowground processes and soil organic matter characterization.
  • Ability to perform terrestrial carbon fieldwork (e.g., soil, plant, gaseous flux sampling). 
  • Ability to work effectively in a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary research environment, both independently and as a team member.
  • Proficient verbal and written communication skills to collaborate effectively in a team environment and to present and explain technical information.


Qualifications we desire

  • Practical experience with organic matter characterization via 13C-NMR spectroscopy, compound separation and purification techniques including HPLC, preparation of samples for natural abundance 14C and/or 13C analysis of sediment and soil fractions, and interpretation of these data streams in the context of terrestrial biogeochemistry.
  • Practical experience utilizing, maintaining, and troubleshooting laboratory equipment including HPLC, ASE, vacuum dryers.
  • A strong interest in advancing understanding processes driving soil carbon persistence and cycling and in developing applications of compound-specific and biomarker analyses to these science areas.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

Position Information

This is a Postdoctoral appointment with the possibility of extension to a maximum of three years.  Eligible candidates are those who have been awarded a PhD at time of hire date.

Why Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

  • Included in 2022 Best Places to Work by Glassdoor!
  • Work for a premier innovative national Laboratory
  • Comprehensive Benefits Package
  • Flexible schedules (*depending on project needs)
  • Collaborative, creative, inclusive, and fun team environment

Learn more about our company, selection process, position types and security clearances by visiting our Career site

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

LLNL demonstrates its commitment to public safety by requiring that all new Laboratory employees be immunized against COVID-19 unless granted an accommodation under applicable state or federal law. This requirement will apply to all new hires including those who will be working on site, as well as those who will be teleworking.

Security Clearance

This position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) Q-level clearance.  If you are selected, we will initiate a Federal background investigation to determine if you meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information or matter. In addition, all L or Q cleared employees are subject to random drug testing.  Q-level clearance requires U.S. citizenship.  For additional information, please see DOE Order 472.2

Pre-Employment Drug Test

External applicant(s) selected for this position will be required to pass a post-offer, pre-employment drug test. This includes testing for use of marijuana as Federal Law applies to us as a Federal Contractor.

Equal Employment Opportunity

LLNL is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer that values and hires a diverse workforce. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, protected veteran status, age, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation during the application or the recruiting process, please submit a request via our online form

California Privacy Notice

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants privacy rights to all California residents. The law also entitles job applicants, employees, and non-employee workers to be notified of what personal information LLNL collects and for what purpose. The Employee Privacy Notice can be accessed here.

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