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Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Senior Microbiome Engineer in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 312266

Directorate: Energy and Environment Directorate

Division: Earth System Sciences Division

Group:Operational Systems Engineering

Job Description

The Earth Systems Science Division (ESSD) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is seeking a Senior Chemical Engineer with research expertise in micro-ecology, systems biology, omics, and the microbiome to join our Operational Systems Engineering (OSE) Group. This represents a fantastic opportunity to be a key contributor to an internationally recognized research group that is pushing the envelope in operational systems ranging from hydropower and ecological systems to nuclear and border protection systems.

As a Senior Microbiome Engineer, you will provide technical leadership and expertise to existing research efforts and collaborate with stakeholders to define and shape future research programs. Working with colleagues across the Laboratory, and in collaboration with our research partners in industry, academia, and at other National Laboratories, you will lead efforts to build new, high-visibility research projects that leverage OSE Group capabilities to meet the technology goals of the Department of Energy and other key stakeholders. As a Senior Microbiome Engineer, you will also have significant responsibility for supporting the development and growth of OSE competencies at PNNL including developing, proposing and leading new projects; working with other senior management to develop strategies; and mentoring junior level staff in the Group. You will be an expert in micro-ecology, systems biology, omics, the microbiome, applied chemistry, chemical or biological processing, and/or biotechnology; and possess an enthusiasm for the potential to address major societal challenges. You must be adept at translating stakeholder needs to funded research programs at the Laboratory that effectively leverage current and emerging capabilities to meet program goals. You will be an accomplished communicator, with experience delivering effective and compelling written and oral communications to a broad range of audiences.

Responsibilities include:

  • Building reputation through application of science and engineering principles and theories and developing technical approaches to solve complex problems and challenges.

  • Serving as Principal investigator or co-PI on multiple or significantly complex, and/or high-risk projects or tasks and/or involving multiple tasks, capabilities, and organizations. Takes lead in scoping, scheduling, and budgeting at a project or major task level.

  • Recognizing new significant project opportunities and leading the development large proposals (whole or in part).

  • Acquiring funding for self and teams.

  • Building networks across the laboratory and externally. Effectively teaming to optimize research. Mentoring staff and peers.

  • Holding leadership role(s) in the professional community.

  • Organizing and chairing sessions at national/international meetings of professional societies.

  • Serving as lead author or developer on a significant number of technical products.

  • Holding reputation with sponsors and collaborators for delivery on important programmatic elements.

  • Serving as a role model for and complies with PNNL’s policies regarding quality, safety, security, environmental health, intellectual property, and business ethics.

The selected candidate will have preferred skills in one or more of these areas:

  • The microbiome in both laboratory and data analysis aspects.

  • Genomics, omics, and phenomics science as it relates.

  • IACUC approvals and managing projects safely and successfully.

  • Care and handling of fish and other invertebrates preferred.

  • Interest in the future of hydropower and related waterpower systems.

  • “Soft” skills in communicating with clients, mentees, sponsors, project managers, etc.

  • Reviewing the work of others.

  • Publishing with a strong publication record of at least 30 publications or more (or equivalently a smaller number of very high impact publications) with an h-index of at least 20. Published key findings in high-impact peer-reviewed journals as well as present work at professional conferences.

The hiring level will be determined based on the education, experience and skill set of the successful candidate based on the following:

Senior Microbiome Engineer level 4:

Expert in at least one S&E domain and the ability to connect multiple domains. Sought after within PNNL for technical leadership to set technical direction. Holds leadership role in professional community. Organizes and chairs sessions at national meetings of professional societies. Lead author or developer on a significant number of technical products. Recognized by sponsors and collaborators for delivery on important programmatic elements.

Chief Microbiome Engineer level 5:

Established nationally as an expert in at least one S&E domain. Establishing new approaches at a national level and advancing state of the art concepts. Sought out to participate in peer reviews, and book chapters establishing the foundational aspect of the discipline. Sought out as an invited speaker at national forums. Displays a significant record of technical products influencing their discipline. Recognized by Lab leadership, sponsors and collaborators as a resource for resolving challenges with impact at a significant programmatic or Lab mission level.

Minimum Qualifications

  • BS/BA with 7 years of experience; MS/MA with 5 years of experience; PhD with 3 years of experience.

  • Based on client and project requirements, US citizenship is required. The ability to obtain and maintain a future Department of Energy clearance is required. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is subject to the Department of Energy Unclassified Foreign Visits & Assignment Program site, information, technologies, and equipment access requirements.

Preferred Qualifications

  • BS/BA with 9 years of experience; MS/MA with 7 years of experience; PhD with 5 years of experience.

  • Preferred PhD degree in chemical engineering, bioengineering, biomedical engineering, biology, earth science, or related field and 10 plus years of relevant project experience.

  • Well-established research reputation with professional achievements, including excellent technical writing skills.

  • Demonstrated success at proposal development and project management.

  • Demonstrated participation in multidisciplinary efforts to provide solutions to complex problems where the problems are characterized by lack of precedents, source material, or lack of prior success.

  • Ability to effectively communicate within a team environment and with sponsors and partners.

  • Demonstrated experience securing project funding, working with and leading technical teams, and the ability to manage research projects.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All BMI staff must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. BMI is an E-Verify employer. Learn more at

If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a “country of risk” without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.

Closing Statement

The work involves significant laboratory and complex systems operations. High risk activities may include field work, animal care, systems operating at high temperatures and high pressures, and complex chemical hazards. Some travel (for fieldwork, scientific conferences, and client networking) may be necessary depending on evolving project/programmatic needs and candidate interest.

Directorate: Energy & Environment

Job Category: Engineering/Engineering Techs

Group: Operational Syst Engineering

Opening Date: 2021-06-16

Closing Date: 2021-09-03