Keegstra Postdoctoral Researcher - Molecular modeling for chemical separations

Position Type

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a top institution for research that involves the intersection of computing with engineering. We seek to fill a Research Associate (Postdoc) position with the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). A Keegstra Postdoc position is available with a primary appointment in the research group of Reid Van Lehn and a secondary appointment in the research group of Christos Maravelias. Both the Van Lehn and Maravelias groups are affiliated with the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UW-Madison.

We seek a qualified postdoc to conduct research related to the design of solvent systems for liquid-liquid extraction. The valorization of lignocellulosic biomass requires separation technologies capable of recovering bioproducts with high efficacy and low cost. Liquid-liquid extraction is a promising separation technology, but it requires the identification of solvent systems capable of the effective separation of specific chemicals. Accordingly, we seek to develop a computational framework that would couple molecular modeling with process modeling to design optimal solvent systems for the separation of GLBRC-relevant bioproducts. The successful applicant will be independent, motivated, capable of working as part of a collaborative team, and will have substantial experience in computational modeling (including molecular and/or process modeling).

The position will be located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI. The postdoc will be jointly supervised by Reid Van Lehn, who has expertise in molecular modeling for the prediction of thermodynamic properties, and Christos Maravelias, who has expertise in process modeling for the development of separations processes. We expect the postdoc to integrate these disparate computational techniques to develop broadly applicable liquid-phase separation methods that will be applicable to experimental efforts ongoing with the GLBRC. This exciting project will further involve extensive collaboration with experimentalists throughout GLBRC to improve the recovery of chemicals derived from biomass feedstocks.

The position is for up to two years, appointed yearly based on funding and performance, with an initial salary of $60,000/year, standard UW-Madison benefits, and funds for research expenses and travel. Candidates must have received their PhD degree within three years of the start of this position and must not have been previously associated with the GLBRC.  The postdoc is expected to take an active role in the GLBRC community by facilitating integrative work and leading Center activities.

Required Degree:
Doctorate – Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, or related fields.

Minimum Requirements:
Applicants must hold a PhD in a field related to chemical engineering, chemistry, industrial engineering, or similar fields.

Desired Qualifications:
Strong computational skills, including experience in either molecular modeling (quantum chemical calculations and molecular dynamics simulations) and/or process modeling (process synthesis and simulation, optimization), are expected. The successful applicant will have strong writing and communication skills. Experience with separations technologies and thermodynamic property prediction will be viewed favorably.

Required Application Materials and Application Instructions:
Candidates should provide:

  1. A letter summarizing research experience and interests;
  2. A current CV; and
  3. Contact information for three references.

Please direct completed applications to Rosalind McKennon (

Deadline to Apply