Job no: 514164
Work type: Research Faculty
Senior management: College of Science
Department: Physics
Location: Blacksburg Area
Categories: Research / Scientific

Job Description

The Physics Department at Virginia Tech invites applications for a postdoctoral or research associate position (commensurate with experience) in experimental biophysics, with focus on single and collective dynamics in biomimetic lipid membranes, with potential applications in drug delivery, membrane-based biosensors, and artificial cells. The research involves design, preparation, and hierarchical characterization of biomembranes. Candidates should have one or more of the following skills: expertise in lipid membrane characterization (e.g., DSC, AFM, spectroscopy, fluorescence), membrane deposition techniques (e.g. Langmuir-Blodgett transfer, flow coating), and/or protein purification and characterization. Additional expertise in x-ray or neutron scattering is desirable, but not a prerequisite. Other requirements include the ability to work independently, as well as part of a team, strong verbal and written communication skills, and a high degree of motivation and creativity. Candidates should have a Ph.D. in physics, physical chemistry, biophysics or a closely related field.

This research will be conducted with Prof. Rana Ashkar and her students at Virginia Tech, and will utilize scattering facilities at Oak Ridge National Lab and the NIST Center for Neutron research. The work will require close collaboration and interaction with students, postdocs, as well as instrument scientists at national scattering facilities (e.g. SNS, NCNR). Postdoctoral and Research Associates will conduct research in the above areas and disseminate results in journal publications and conference presentations. Postdoctoral and Research Associates will be expected to collaborate with other members of the group. Research Associates will also be expected to assist with the supervision of graduate students and Postdoctoral Associates.

Required Qualifications

  • Rank of Research Associate requires an advanced degree physics, physical chemistry, biophysics or a closely related field.
  • Rank of Postdoctoral Associate requires an doctoral degree earned within the past four years in physics, physical chemistry, biophysics or a closely related field.
  • All degree requirements must be completed before the appointment can begin.
  • Experience in preparation and characterization of biomimetic membranes, membrane-protein complexes, or similar systems.
  • Proven skills in data modeling and analysis.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate research results in peer-reviewed publications.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in x-ray or neutron scattering experimentation and analysis.
  • Experience in protein purification and characterization.
  • Experience in lipid membrane design, preparation, and characterization.
  • Experience in fluorescence microscopy/spectroscopy.
  • For research associate position, some experience supervising junior researchers is preferred.

Appointment Type


Salary Information

Commensurate with experience.

Review Date


Additional Information

Applications should include a cover letter, curriculum vitae (including a list of publications), and a statement of research experience and interests (not to exceed 3 pages). In addition, please arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent electronically to Prof. Rana Ashkar (

The successful Candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jackie Woodyard at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.


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