Postdoc: Plant-Soil-Microbe Interactions in Nitrogen Cycling

Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
This position includes a competitive salary and full benefits.
October 04 2018
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

Postdoc: Plant-Soil-Microbe Interactions in Nitrogen Cycling

A microbial ecology postdoctoral position is available in the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) as part of the Sustainability Theme in the new U.S. Department of Energy-funded Bioenergy Research Center (BRC), the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI). The goal of the CABBI Sustainability Theme is to develop the predictive capability to determine which feedstock combinations, regions and land types, market conditions, and biofuels and bioproducts have the potential to support the ecologically and economically sustainable displacement of fossil fuels.

A postdoctoral researcher is sought to support research on plant-soil-microbe interactions in bioenergy cropping systems (sorghum, energycane, and Miscanthus) with a focus on nitrogen biogeochemistry and microbial functional groups responsible for mineralization, nitrification, denitrification, nitrogen fixation, etc.

Job duties include: designing and conducting field and laboratory experiments to evaluate ecological drivers of nitrogen-cycling microbes, high-throughput DNA sequencing and qPCR, bioinformatics and data analysis. The postdoctoral researcher will coordinate research activities with a large team of collaborators, supervise technicians and undergraduates, engage in data management, and write manuscripts.

The postdoc will work with Dr. Angela Kent and will collaborate with plant breeders, ecosystem ecologists, ecosystem modelers, ecophysiologists, ecohydrologists, and others in the CABBI Sustainability Theme. Collaboration with researchers in the CABBI Feedstocks and Conversion themes and the other BRCs is encouraged. The postdoc will be housed in the Institute for Genomic Biology with the other UIUC-based CABBI researchers to facilitate these collaborative interactions and help build a strong community of postdocs and graduate students.

Required Qualifications:

·       A Ph.D. or the equivalent in microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, soil science, or related field

·       Experience with laboratory and field work

·       Strong English writing and oral communication skills

·       Strong organizational skills

·       Ability to work in a collaborative environment

·       Ability to travel to research sites in Florida, Iowa, and other locations in the eastern U.S. for short sampling campaigns

·       A valid driver’s license

Strong candidates will also possess the following attributes:

  • A strong publication record from their Ph.D. (papers published, in press, or submitted)
  • Experience with next-generation DNA sequencing and bioinformatics workflows
  • Strong multivariate data analysis skills
  • Creativity, independence, and the desire to learn new things

The position is available for four years; however, annual renewal is dependent on funding and progress made by the individual. This position includes a competitive salary and full benefits.

Application review will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. The start date is flexible, but ideally in Dec 2018. Applications should include a brief cover letter, curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information for three references. Please put “CABBI microbial ecology postdoc application” in the subject line of your email to Anya Knecht, CABBI Research Coordinator,

For further information about the position, please contact Dr. Angela Kent at

Illinois is an Affirmative Action /Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. (

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

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