Microbiome Research Scientist

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Berkeley, California (US)
Apply for more information
September 30 2020
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Microbiome Research Scientist - 91030

Organization: JG-Joint Genome Institute


Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s (LBNL, https://www.lbl.gov/) Joint Genome Institute (JGI, https://jgi.doe.gov/) Division has an exciting opportunity opening for a Microbiome Research Scientist.


We are looking for a talented, highly motivated candidate with a deep knowledge of bioinformatics and microbial ecology to join the Metagenome Program and the Environmental Genomics Group. The successful candidate will contribute to programmatic initiatives in the areas of genome-resolved metagenomics and function-driven metagenomics, and develop new computational approaches to uncover metabolic and functional novelty. The candidate will be expected to develop new scientific directions and lead cutting-edge research efforts in support of JGI User Science and DOE mission areas in biogeochemistry, carbon cycling, and bioenergy. The candidate will also be expected to support a broad portfolio of metagenome projects and management of production activities under the supervision of the Metagenome Program Head. This is an excellent opportunity for a seasoned microbiome scientist to expand their research interests in a collaborative, team-science environment; support high-quality production services for the JGI User community; and make significant contributions to support the strategic directions of the microbiome research programs at the JGI. 


What You Will Do:

• Develop new scientific directions and lead cutting-edge research efforts in the areas of genome-resolved metagenomics, function-driven metagenomics, new computational approaches to analyze metagenomes and metatranscriptomes. A focus on uncultivated eukaryotes is a plus.

• Take a lead role and serve as a key contributor to apply knowledge and technical expertise in developing and managing complex microbiome projects, collaborating with internal and external scientific staff.

• Independently troubleshoot and problem-solve varied and complex microbiome science projects to produce high quality analysis results and insightful biological interpretation.

• Design, benchmark, and apply bioinformatics software to enable analysis and interpretation of genomic, metagenomic, and metatranscriptomic data for JGI’s user community in line with the Program’s strategic objectives and goals.

• Support ongoing JGI User Science, CSP, and FICUS projects through requests for advanced analyses in line with the Program’s strategic objectives and goals, as well as initiate new projects in collaboration with the User community.

• Work in a high-performance computing environment and interact with a team of computer scientists, software developers and postdoctoral researchers to develop new methods and tools for large-scale microbiome data analysis.

• Support research & development activities in collaboration with JGI’s project management office, production teams, and GOLD and IMG teams to ensure data handling and bioinformatics workflows for metagenome and metatranscriptome data meet high quality standards and remain state-of-the-art.

• Present updates at group meetings and lead/contribute to the preparation of scientific publications describing new computational approaches and methods.


Additional Responsibilities as needed:

• Train and mentor other team members in performing microbiome analyses.

• Keep accurate and detailed laboratory notebook and actively participate in team meetings.


What is Required: 

• Ph.D. in bioinformatics, computational biology, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry or a related discipline with a minimum of 3 years postdoctoral work experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

• Demonstrated expertise in microbial ecology, metagenome and metatranscriptome data analysis, and comparative metagenomics.

• Understanding of standard sequencing analysis methods (assembly, gene calling, functional annotation) and phylogenetic analysis methods (multiple sequence alignment, tree building).

• Proven capacity to do innovative and applied work in highly complex and broad-reaching scientific areas.

• Extensive knowledge and experience with complex bioinformatics methods and tools, with significant research accomplishments, including a proven publication record.

• Strong decision-making skills to independently make sound judgments and recommend creative solutions to complex problems, while addressing research needs in an effective and timely manner.

• Strong analytical, organizational, and record-keeping skills with attention to detail; ability to collect, record, and analyze complex and varied experimental data accurately.

• Effective communication and interpersonal skills with internal and external staff, users and collaborators. Excellent public-speaking and presentation skills.

• Proven ability to work on multiple projects with varying priorities while meeting tight deadlines.

• Flexible with the ability to work independently as well as part of a diverse and dynamic team.

• Experience establishing effective collaborations and interacting with members of diverse scientific and informatics communities.

• Experience and skill in preparing research publications.

• Ability to troubleshoot complex systems and research problems.

• Strong problem-solving, decision-making, and analytical skills to make sound judgments and recommend creative solutions to complex problems.

• Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to work independently and as a team member in a diverse team  environment.

• Ability to organize and present reports to collaborators, JGI staff, management, and sponsors.

• Strong writing skills and ability to creatively integrate and synthesize complex concepts/data.


Additional Desired Qualifications:

• Able to program in Python, Perl, Java, and read/decipher C/C++.

• Experience in customer-service oriented work environments.


The posting shall remain open until the position is filled.



• This is a full time, 1-year, career-track term appointment that may be renewed to a maximum of five years and that may be converted to career based upon satisfactory job performance, continuing availability of funds, and ongoing operational needs.

• M-F, exempt (monthly paid) from overtime pay.

• This position will be filled at the Research Scientist Career-Track or career level contingent upon level of experience, skills, knowledge, and abilities of the successful candidate.

• This position may be subject to a background check. Any convictions will be evaluated to determine if they directly relate to the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Having a conviction history will not automatically disqualify an applicant from being considered for employment.

• Work will be primarily performed at: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA.


How To Apply

Apply directly online at and follow the on-line instructions to complete the application process.


Learn About Us:

JGI & Berkeley Lab: A View to Fuel Innovative Science in the Public Interest

They say it’s all about location and Berkeley Lab has it all: a view above the San Francisco Bay, cool breezes, and world-class multidisciplinary science within a diverse and respectful research ecosystem of 5,000 people. Nearly 90 years ago, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, the inventor of the cyclotron, brought physicists, biologists, engineers and mathematicians together in Berkeley above the University of California campus to tackle the most urgent scientific challenges. Today, after garnering 13 Nobel Prizes, Berkeley Lab has sustained and grown that tradition of open, interdisciplinary team science, exemplified by how the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI) addresses the most pressing energy and environmental challenges using integrative genome science approaches. JGI takes up residence in the new, state-of-the-art Integrative Genomics Building (IGB) along with the U.S. Department of Energy Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase) to expand the frontiers of energy and environmental science in partnership with the worldwide community of researchers. Will you join us and be a critical part of our next ground-breaking discoveries?


Berkeley Lab (LBNL, http://www.lbl.gov/) addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.


Working at Berkeley Lab has many rewards including a competitive compensation program, excellent health and welfare programs, a retirement program that is second to none, and outstanding development opportunities.  To view information about the many rewards that are offered at Berkeley Lab- Click Here (https://hr.lbl.gov/).


Equal Employment Opportunity: Berkeley Lab is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. Click here (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ofccp/posters) to view the poster and supplement: "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law."


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory encourages applications from women, minorities, veterans, and other underrepresented groups presently considering scientific research careers.