Department of Chemistry



Postdoctoral position in algae-derived renewable polymers at UC San Diego

Dear POLY community,

I would like to advertise that a postdoctoral position is available in renewable/biodegradable polymers at UC San Diego. The available position is to develop enabling technologies that will allow development of high value renewable polymers made from algae biomass, for near-term commercial deployment. Developing algae based materials that can be used to replace petroleum-based feedstocks in high value products will enable the development of environmentally favorable polymers and plastics, while allowing commercial products to enter the market in the very near future. These high value products, including rigid and flexible polyurethane materials, can provide immediate economic return, allowing the industry to develop and advance the technologies and efficiencies required to allow eventual large-scale deployment of renewable materials that can compete economically with petroleum. The current project focuses on the development of polyurethane precursors by chemical modification of feedstocks extracted from algal biomass to produce renewable polymers and apply them to specific product sectors. By assembling world-class scientists from a range of disciplines, we aim to develop new technologies and materials with the goal of rapid commercial deployment through industrial collaborations.

Position Overview

The Burkart Lab is seeking a Polymer Chemist to support discovery activities for new polymer materials. This is a paid, full time, postdoctoral position based at the main campus of University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, CA.


Ph.D. in Chemistry or a related discipline
Experience developing and applying materials, including polymers, formulations, polymeric systems, and related material development a plus
Publication track record

Relevant Skills and Experience

This position requires the successful candidate to be an adept, hands-on chemist with experience in materials and polymer, polymer materials modification and characterization, and formulation development.
Fundamental understanding of chemical synthesis, characterization, material structure-property relationships and utilization towards application development is also desirable.
The ability to work in a team-oriented, interdisciplinary environment that embraces change, risk, and flexibility is needed.
This individual must be capable of handling multiple projects/tasks at the same time.
A demonstrated ability to work independently and within a team with a sense of urgency for timelines is needed.
This individual will have the potential to lead technical aspects within project teams.
The successful candidate must have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
A passion and enthusiasm for innovation will be an asset.
Proven problem-solving skills and good interpersonal relationship and people skills will be needed.

Candidates interested can send a cover letter and CV (with names of 3 references) to Michael Burkart (