Jobs — Employment Opportunities at CABBI

From postdoctoral and graduate student researchers, to lab technicians, to other support staff, the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation is looking for motivated team players.

Check out this page frequently for the latest position openings! Queries about job openings may be sent to CABBI Program Manager Elizabeth Murphy, eamurphy@illinois.edu.

Current Openings

Plant Breeding Academic Hourlies (Illinois)

Illinois is a world leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. We serve the state, the nation, and the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and addressing critical societal needs through the transfer and application of knowledge. Illinois is the place where we embrace difference. We embrace it because we value it. Illinois is especially interested in candidates who can contribute, through their research, teaching, and/or service, to the diversity and excellence of the Illinois community.

CABBI is seeking full-time academic hourly workers in a plant breeding environment. Successful candidates will work on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus and at the Illinois Energy Farm, south of campus. The work is in a plant breeding laboratory with bioenergy grasses including Miscanthus, sugarcane and their hybrids, to support a sustainable bioeconomy. 

Responsibilities for the position:

  • Conduct experiments on plant breeding and genetics of perennial grasses. Propagate and grow plants in the field, greenhouses and growth chambers.
  • Collect data from research experiments, including use of high-throughput systems such as tablet computers, barcode readers, Bluetooth-enabled measuring devices.
  • Tasks may also include dividing plants, repotting, tying up plants to stakes and cages in greenhouse, planting seed, transplanting seedlings in the field, mowing and weeding, operating irrigation equipment, operating and maintaining small equipment, labeling with accuracy, sampling plants, harvesting stems, harvesting plots in field, making crosses, harvesting and packing seed, digging up selections from the field, taking and entering data.

B.S. in Plant Science or related field required. Experience doing farm work, greenhouse work, and/or plant science experiments desired. Must be willing to work outside in heat or cold.

TO APPLY: Applicants should submit a cover letter, CV, and contact information to Brent Berns, bdberns@illinois.edu.  Applications will be evaluated as they are received.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. Other pre-employment assessments may be required, depending on the classification of Civil Service employment. 

As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit http://go.illinois.edu/EEO.

Economic Modeling Postdoc (Illinois)

Illinois is a world leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. We serve the state, the nation, and the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and addressing critical societal needs through the transfer and application of knowledge. Illinois is the place where we embrace difference. We embrace it because we value it. Illinois is especially interested in candidates who can contribute, through their research, teaching, and/or service, to the diversity and excellence of the Illinois community.

PRIMARY POSITION FUNCTION/SUMMARY:

We seek a highly motivated, dedicated postdoctoral research associate to conduct innovative economic modeling research with the economics group led by CABBI Sustainability Theme Leader Madhu Khanna at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The focus of this position is on conducting problem-oriented and policy-relevant research developing computational and econometric models to understand the economic and behavioral incentives for technology adoption and its environmental implications for land use change, water quality and carbon emissions, with application to bioenergy.

POSITION REQUIREMENTS:

Applicants must have a Ph.D. in agricultural economics, environmental and resource economics, energy economics, operations research or related field and an outstanding ability to perform quantitative modeling and analysis. Experience in computational methods linking economic models with biophysical and hydrological models, econometric methods, dynamic optimization, survey design, excellent communication skills and an interest in working with interdisciplinary researchers on topics related to bioenergy economics will be among the selection criteria.

MORE DETAILS:

Funding is available to start immediately for appointment on an annual basis with the potential for renewal based on satisfactory performance and continued funding. The position is available immediately and will be open until it is filled. The start date is negotiable.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an equal opportunity employer and offers highly competitive salary and excellent health care benefits. Applicants who meet all the criteria should send the following materials in a single pdf file by email to Anna Fedders at afedder2@illinois.edu with postdoc application in the Subject line: (1) curriculum vita, (2) a letter describing research interests and experience, (3) a recent research paper and (4) names and contact information for three references. Inquiries about the position should be sent to Madhu Khanna at khanna1@illinois.edu.

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

As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

Molecular Physiology of Stomata, Photosynthesis, and WUE Postdocs (Illinois)

Illinois is a world leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. We serve the state, the nation, and the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and addressing critical societal needs through the transfer and application of knowledge. Illinois is the place where we embrace difference. We embrace it because we value it. Illinois is especially interested in candidates who can contribute, through their research, teaching, and/or service, to the diversity and excellence of the Illinois community.

PRIMARY POSITION FUNCTION/SUMMARY:

The Leakey group at the University of Illinois (http://lab.igb.illinois.edu/leakey/) seeks creative and energetic applicants for two postdoctoral associate positions studying stomata, photosynthesis and water use efficiency in the model C4 species of sugarcane and setaria. The positions will be involved in long-term collaborative projects funded by the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation, which involve multidisciplinary teams of physiologists, geneticists, computer scientists and molecular biologists. Our goals are to understand the genetic and physiological controls of photosynthetic water use efficiency through a combination of molecular genetics, quantitative genetics, and physiology. The projects will benefit substantially from significant advances in high-throughput phenotyping and germplasm development made by our team and collaborators in recent years, as well as a new large-scale field facility for imposing drought treatments. The positions will offer excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary training and a creative work environment at the Institute for Genomic Biology, which houses the CABBI and Gates Foundation-funded RIPE project  (http://ripe.illinois.edu/) laboratories.

Position requirements:

Candidates should have a strong background in molecular genetics or physiology, preferably with a focus on stomata or photosynthesis. The successful applicant will be expected to actively engage with a collaborative team using synthetic biology, gene editing and enhanced efficiency transformation strategies to improve the water use efficiency of C4 crops.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an equal opportunity employer and offers highly competitive salary and excellent health care benefits. Questions about these positions or applications including a letter of application, CV and the names of three referees can be addressed by email to Melinda Laborg (laborg@uiuc.edu).

Position is immediately available, but the start date is flexible. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

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

As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

Postdoc (Iowa State): Ecosystem Measurements and Modeling

Do you love being outside and also love coding? Iowa State University’s Biomass Crop Production and Physiology team (@ISUBiomass) is seeking a highly motivated Postdoctoral Research Associate with experience in plant or environmental science, computer modeling, and project management to join our CABBI team. Our focus is on measuring and modeling ecosystem services provided by advanced energy crops and the position will be co-supervised by faculty members Emily Heaton and Andy VanLoocke.

The successful candidate will work with our team of academic and commercial partners to measure key attributes of commercial Miscanthus × giganteus fields then incorporate that information into the agroecosystem model AgroIBIS, elucidating not only ecosystem services that can be expected from M. × giganteus but also hypotheses to test for deeper mechanistic understanding of ecosystem function.

Demonstrated programming capacity is essential, as is comfort with working outdoors in field settings. Knowledge of plant and environmental science is preferred. The successful candidate will measure plant, soil, water, and atmospheric attributes throughout the year at both experimental CABBI research sites and commercial fields operated by industry partner AGgrowTech.  This work requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills in English as well as excellent writing skills as demonstrated by a strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals. Recent graduates are encouraged to apply.

Please email your resume, cover letter, and contact information of three references to the heaton@iastate.edu and andyvanl@iastate.edu.

Iowa State University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran. Salary will be competitive and includes benefits.

Application review will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Start date is flexible.

Selected publications related to this position (see more by searching Google scholar for Emily Heaton and Andy VanLoocke): 

 

Modeling the Productivity of Biomass Sorghum in the Rain-Fed United States

J Bendorf, A VanLoocke, E Heaton

AGU Fall Meeting 2019

Multi-year and Multi-site Establishment of the Perennial Biomass Crop Miscanthus × giganteus Using a Staggered Start Design to Elucidate N Response

M Tejera, N Boersma, A Vanloocke, S Archontoulis, P Dixon, F Miguez, …

BioEnergy Research 12 (3), 471-483

Economic and water quality impacts of bioenergy crop expansion

A VanLoocke, EA Heaton, M Khanna, KM Ferin, S Acquah

2019 ESA Annual Meeting (August 11–16)

Perennial Vs. Annual Crops: Does Miscanthus Ã— Giganteus Always Improve Soil Health and Water Quality Compared to Zea Mays?.

JE Studt, MD McDaniel, EA Heaton

SSSA International Soils Meeting

Utilizing a cropping system model framework for subfield cost-benefit analysis of variable seeding and nitrogen application rates

G McNunn, A VanLoocke, EA Heaton, M Licht, S Archontoulis

Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 3, 108

Targeted subfield switchgrass integration could improve the farm economy, water quality, and bioenergy feedstock production

E Brandes, GS McNunn, LA Schulte, DJ Muth, A VanLoocke, EA Heaton

GCB Bioenergy 10 (3), 199-212

Postdoc (Florida): Plant Genome Editing and Metabolic Engineering

The Plant Molecular Physiology lab at University of Florida, headed by Professor Fredy Altpeter, is seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral research associate with experience in plant genetic engineering, molecular biology and project management to join our team. The research program focuses on designing feedstocks for biofuels and bioproducts using the CABBI “plants as factories” concept.

The successful candidate will apply existing CRISPR‐Cas9 systems to validate targets for crop improvement, develop multiplex genome editing strategies and transgenic approaches for metabolic engineering, and characterize genetically modified events under controlled environment and field conditions similar in scope to our recent publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27306903http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pbi.12411/epdf; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pbi.12833/full.

Extensive background in molecular genetics is essential, including analysis of RNAseq data, design and construction of complex vectors, plant tissue culture, biolistic gene transfer, molecular and phenotypic characterization of transgenic plants. Knowledge in plant metabolism, physiology and genomic regulation is desirable. This work requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills in English as well as excellent writing skills as demonstrated by a strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals. Recent graduates are encouraged to apply.

Please email your resume, cover letter, and contact information of  three references to the PI, altpeter@ufl.edu. The University of Florida is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran. Salary will be competitive and includes benefits.

Application review will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Start date is flexible.

Selected publications related to this position:

  • Parajuli, S., Kannan, B., Karan, R., Liu, H., Garcia-Ruiz, E., Kumar, D., Singh, V., Zhao, H., Long, S.P., Shanklin, J., Altpeter, F. March 21, 2020. “Towards Oilcane: Engineering Hyperaccumulation of Triacylglycerol into Sugarcane Stems.” GCB Bioenergy. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12684. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gcbb.12684
  • Kannan, B., Jung, J.H., Moxley, G. W., Lee, S.M. Altpeter, F. 2017. TALEN mediated targeted mutagenesis of more than 100 COMT copies/alleles in highly polyploid sugarcane improves saccharification efficiency without compromising biomass yield. Plant Biotechn. J. (in press). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pbi.12833/full
  • Altpeter F. et al. 2016. Advancing Crop Transformation in the Era of Genome Editing. Plant Cell. 28: 1510‐1520. http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2016/06/22/tpc.16.00196.full.pdf+html
  • Jung, J. H. and F. Altpeter. 2016. TALEN mediated targeted mutagenesis of the caffeic acid O‐methyltransferase in highly polyploid sugarcane improves cell wall composition for production of bioethanol. Plant. Mol. Biol. 92: 131‐142. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27306903
  • Zale, J., J.H. Jung, J.Y. Kim, B, B. Patha, R. Karan, H. Liu, X. Chen, H. Wu, J. Candreva, Z. Zhai, J. Shanklin, F. Altpeter. 2016. Metabolic engineering of sugarcane to accumulate energy‐dense triacylglycerols in vegetative biomass. Plant Biotech. J. 14: 661‐669. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pbi.12411/epdf
Ph.D. Student (Florida): Plant Genome Editing

The Plant Molecular Physiology lab at University of Florida, headed by Professor Fredy Altpeter, is seeking a highly motivated Ph.D. student with experience in plant tissue culture and genetic engineering and molecular biology to join our team. The research program focuses on genome editing and metabolic engineering of sugarcane to improve crop performance and quality.

The successful candidate will apply existing CRISPR‐Cas9 systems to validate targets for crop improvement, develop genome editing strategies that do not leave a transgenic footprint in vegetatively propagated sugarcane, and characterize genetically modified events similar in scope to our recent publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27306903http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pbi.12411/epdf; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pbi.12833/full.

Hands-on experience with plant tissue culture and genetic transformation is essential. The ideal candidate will also be experience with vector construction, molecular and phenotypic characterization of transgenic plants. This work requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills in English as well as excellent writing skills as demonstrated by a strong publication record in peer reviewed journals.

Please email your resume, cover letter, GRE scores, GPA, and contact information of  three references to the PI, altpeter@ufl.edu. The University of Florida is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran. Stipend will be competitive and includes benefits.

Application review will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Start date is flexible.

Selected publications related to this position:

  • Parajuli, S., Kannan, B., Karan, R., Liu, H., Garcia-Ruiz, E., Kumar, D., Singh, V., Zhao, H., Long, S.P., Shanklin, J., Altpeter, F. March 21, 2020. “Towards Oilcane: Engineering Hyperaccumulation of Triacylglycerol into Sugarcane Stems.” GCB Bioenergy. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12684. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gcbb.12684
  • Kannan, B., Jung, J.H., Moxley, G. W., Lee, S.‐M. Altpeter, F. 2017. TALEN mediated targeted mutagenesis of more than 100 COMT copies/alleles in highly polyploid sugarcane improves saccharification efficiency without compromising biomass yield. Plant Biotechn. J. (in press). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pbi.12833/full
  • Altpeter F. et al. 2016. Advancing Crop Transformation in the Era of Genome Editing. Plant Cell. 28: 1510‐1520. http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2016/06/22/tpc.16.00196.full.pdf+html
  • Jung, J. H. and F. Altpeter. 2016. TALEN mediated targeted mutagenesis of the caffeic acid O‐methyltransferase in highly polyploid sugarcane improves cell wall composition for production of bioethanol. Plant. Mol. Biol. 92: 131‐142. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27306903
  • Zale, J., J.H. Jung, J.Y. Kim, B, B. Patha, R. Karan, H. Liu, X. Chen, H. Wu, J. Candreva, Z. Zhai, J. Shanklin, F. Altpeter. 2016. Metabolic engineering of sugarcane to accumulate energy‐dense triacylglycerols in vegetative biomass. Plant Biotech. J. 14: 661‐669. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pbi.12411/epdf