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 Ank Michielsen, michiels@illinois.edu.

Current Openings

Postdoc (Illinois): Environmental Sustainability and Water Quality and Quantity

We seek a highly motivated, dedicated Postdoctoral Research Associate to take a leadership role and conduct innovative research for CABBI at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The postdoc will work with Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Ximing Cai, 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.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES: A successful candidate is to study environmental sustainability issues, particularly water quantity and water quality impacts from biofuel development; he/she is also to collaborate with an economic modeling team to conduct decision analysis under uncertainty and spatially distributed natural and human factors.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Ph.D. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, or a relevant field of water resources or energy system analysis
  • Demonstrated skills in large-scale systems modeling
  • Applicants with experiences in watershed modeling, agent-based modeling, hydro-economic modeling, and/or data mining and machine learning are particularly encouraged to apply

Applicants who meet all the criteria should send the following materials in a single pdf file by email to Anya Knecht at knecht2@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 Dr. Cai at xmcai@illinois.edu.

For full consideration, please apply by June 1, 2018.

Funding is available to start immediately for appointment on an annual basis with the potential for annual renewal for two or more years based on funding, progress, and satisfactory performance.

Illinois is an Affirmative Action /Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. Read more at www.inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu.

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

Postdoc (Illinois): Economic Modeling for Technology Adoption, Land Use, Environment

We seek a highly motivated, dedicated Postdoctoral Research Associate to take a leadership role and conduct innovative research for CABBI at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The postdoc will work with Agricultural and Consumer Economics Professor Madhu Khanna, 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 IGB with the other Illinois-based CABBI researchers to facilitate these collaborative interactions and help build a strong community of postdocs and graduate students.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES: The focus of this position is on conducting problem-oriented and policy-relevant research developing economic models to understand the incentives for technology adoption and its implications for land use change and the environment, with application to bioenergy. The effects of risk and uncertainty, contractual arrangements and policy incentives to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality for the production of bioenergy is also an area of interest.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics, Environmental and Resource Economics, Energy Economics, Operations Research, or related field
  • Outstanding ability to perform thoughtful, critical quantitative analysis
  • Experience in computational methods linking economic models with biophysical and hydrological models, spatial analysis, anddynamic optimization
  • Strong English writing and oral communication skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Ability to work in a collaborative environment with interdisciplinary researchers

Applicants who meet all the criteria should send the following materials in a single pdf file by email to Anya Knecht at knecht2@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 Dr. Khanna at khanna1@illinois.edu.

For full consideration, please apply by May 15, 2018. Application review will begin in May will continue until the position is filled. The start date is flexible, but ideally in Summer 2018.

Funding is available to start immediately for appointment on an annual basis with the potential for annual renewal for two to three years based on funding, progress, and satisfactory performance.

Illinois is an Affirmative Action /Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. Read more at www.inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu.

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

Postdoc (Illinois): Plant-Soil-Microbe Interactions in Nitrogen Cycling

A Microbial Ecology postdoctoral position is available in the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as part of the CABBI Sustainability Theme, which will 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.

The successful candidate will 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.

The postdoc will work with Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Professor 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 IGB with the other Illinois-based CABBI researchers to facilitate these collaborative interactions and help build a strong community of postdocs and graduate students.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES: 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.

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

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • 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

Application review will begin March 31, 2018, and will continue until the position is filled. The start date is flexible, but ideally on May 1, 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 Ank Michielson, CABBI Program Manager, michiels@illinois.edu.

For further information about the position, please contact Dr. Kent at akent@illinois.edu.

The position is available for four years; however, annual renewal is dependent on funding and progress made by the individual.

Illinois is an Affirmative Action /Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. Read more at www.inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu.

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

Postdocs (Illinois): Techno-economic Analysis (TEA) and Biorefinery Design

Postdoctoral research associate positions are available in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the research group of Assistant Professor Jeremy Guest. We are seeking qualified and motivated researchers to advance the sustainable design of biorefineries for the production of biofuels and bioproducts from novel feedstocks as part of CABBI.

Successful applicants will integrate process modeling with techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life-cycle assessment (LCA) under uncertainty to evaluate and prioritize research and development pathways for candidate products and processes in development by CABBI researchers and other Bioenergy Research Centers. The postdocs will be in Dr. Guest’s research group, will be housed at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, and will collaborate with a strong cohort of faculty, postdocs, and graduate students in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Crop Sciences, Plant Biology, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and other disciplines across CABBI’s Feedstock Production, Conversion, and Sustainability themes.

The duties of the postdocs will focus on modeling biorefinery unit operations including biological and thermochemical conversions, separations, wastewater management, and related processes. In addition to detailed sustainability evaluations of technologies under development by CABBI and the U.S. Department of Energy, a target outcome of the work is to develop an open access, accessible computational tool for rapid and robust TEA and LCA of candidate products and processes. Expertise in some of the following areas is desired: separations, thermochemical conversions, wastewater treatment, TEA, LCA, modeling in Aspen Plus® / SuperPro Designer®, or programming in Python.

Required qualifications:

  • a Ph.D. in chemical and biomolecular engineering, environmental engineering, biotechnology, or other relevant fields
  • ability to work in a collaborative environment

Strong candidates will also possess the following attributes:

  • experience with unit process design and simulation
  • experience with programming;
  • evidence of scientific impact of their Ph.D. (e.g., published papers)

Postdoc application review began Dec. 14, 2017, but will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Prospective postdocs should email the following materials to Prof. Guest, jsguest@illinois.edu, with the subject line “CABBI Postdoc”: brief cover letter, curriculum vitae, names and contact information for three references, and up to two examples of scholarly output (e.g., published or submitted manuscripts).

Start dates are flexible, and could range from April 1, 2018, to late Fall 2018. Positions are available for multiple years; however, annual renewal is dependent on funding, progress made by the individual, and career goals of the individual (mentoring plans will be tailored to meet the individual’s goals). All positions include competitive salary and benefits. Any offer for postdoc positions are contingent upon successful completion of a criminal background check (http://humanresources.illinois.edu/).

More information may be found on relevant websites for the Guest Research Group, and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, or by contacting Prof. Guest, jsguest@illinois.edu. Illinois is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. Read more at www.inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu/.

Postdoc (Illinois): Plant Genome Informatics for Feedstock Crop Engineering

A postdoctoral position is available in the department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Professor Matthew Hudson’s laboratory. We are seeking a qualified and motivated postdoctoral scientist to work on designing feedstocks for biofuels and bioproducts using the “plants as factories” concept. The successful applicant will use integrative data analysis methods to incorporate information from genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, phenomics and other sources of information to develop design strategies for improving biofuels using genome engineering methods such as CRISPR/CAS9. Postdocs will work closely with Dr. Hudson and other members of the CABBI team to receive cross-disciplinary training. The duties of the project postdoc will focus on computational data analysis, software development (as part of a team including programmers) and predictive modeling, plus data interpretation and manuscript writing.

Expertise in some or all of the following areas is desired: bioinformatics; plant genetics; population genomics; genome sequencing and annotation; programming / scripting in Python and or R.

Strong candidates will also possess the following attributes:

  • Evidence of scientific impact of their Ph.D. (such as papers published, in press, or submitted).
  • Experience in using analytic, computational processes to solve biological problems

All candidates must have received a Ph.D. in a relevant field within the past five years. 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 began Dec. 1, 2017, but will continue until a suitable candidate is identified.  Start date is flexible, but ideally in early 2018.

All materials should be submitted to the CABBI Program Manager Ank Michielsen, michiels@illinois.edu, with the subject line Postdoc: Hudson. Applications should include a brief cover letter, curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information for three references.

Any offer for this position is contingent upon your successful completion of a criminal background check. Contact Ank Michielsen, michiels@illinois.edu, regarding the position or application process.

For further information about the Hudson Lab, or the Plant Biology department at the University of Illinois, visit the Hudson faculty page; for recent publications, visit his Google Scholar page.

Postdoc (Illinois): Genomics and Breeding of Miscanthus and Miscanes for Bioenergy

A postdoctoral position is available in the Department of Crop Sciences and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the lab of Erik Sacks. We are seeking a highly motivated postdoc to work on a DOE-funded project aimed at developing regionally adapted feedstocks for biofuels and bioproducts. This project addresses key limitations in current cultivars of Miscanthus and energycane for winter-hardiness and/or timing of flowering. Our target environments are the Midwest United States and the southern coastal plain (in collaboration with Mississippi State University). The duties of the project postdoc will be to conduct and publish genetics/genomics studies that will facilitate the development of high-yielding, regionally adapted Miscanthus and miscanes. The work will include phenotyping in the field and in controlled environments, molecular biology work in the lab, and statistical analysis of genomic and phenotypic data.

Expertise in some or all of the following areas is desired: GBS/RAD-Seq, genetic mapping in biparental populations, GWAS, genomic prediction, statistical analysis in R and/or SAS.

Strong candidates will also possess the following attributes:

  • A strong publication record from their Ph.D. work (papers published, in press, or submitted).
  • Creativity and the desire to learn new things.
  • The ability to work independently, and also as part of a team.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral.

All candidates must have received a Ph.D. in a relevant field within the past five years. 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 began Dec. 1, 2017, but will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Start date is flexible, but ideally January 2018.

All materials should be submitted for consideration to Crop Sciences Assistant Professor Erik Sacks, esacks@illinois.edu. Applications should include a cover letter (briefly describing your research interests, experience, and career goals), curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information for three references. Please put “postdoc application” in the subject line of your email.

Any offer for this position is contingent upon your successful completion of a criminal background check. Contact the PI regarding the position or application process.

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: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11103-016-0499-http://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 began Dec. 1, 2017, but will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Start date is flexible, but ideally January 2018.

Selected publications related to this position:

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: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11103-016-0499-http://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 began Dec. 1, 2017, but will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Start date is flexible, but ideally Fall 2018.

Selected publications related to this position:

Postdoc (Illinois): High-throughput Phenotyping of Field-grown C4 Crops

The Leakey group at the University of Illinois (http://lab.igb.illinois.edu/leakey/) seeks creative and energetic applicants for a long-term collaborative project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, which involves a multidisciplinary team 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 project 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 position will offer excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary training and a creative work environment at the Institute for Genomic Biology, which houses the CABBI DOE Bioenergy Center.

Candidates for this job should have a strong background in remote sensing or high-throughput phenotyping. Experience in use of UAVs/ground-based vehicles for image acquisition or image analysis is preferable.  The successful applicant will be expected to actively engage with a collaborative team taking transgenic and quantitative genetic approaches to improving the water use efficiency of sorghum. Start date is June 2018, but flexible.

Project details can be found at: http://lab.igb.illinois.edu/leakey/research. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an equal opportunity employer and offers highly competitive salary and excellent health care benefits. Questions or applications including a letter of application, CV and the names of three references can be addressed by email to Melinda Laborg, laborg@illinois.edu.

Application reviews started Oct. 25, 2017, but will last until the post is filled.

The Leakey Lab also is seeking:

  • A postdoc to study molecular biology of stomatal patterning. Candidates should have a strong background in plant molecular genetics, preferably with a focus on stomatal patterning. Interest in the design of synthetic transcriptional circuits is preferable.  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 sorghum. Start date as early as November 2017, but flexible.
  • A postdoc to study physiology of leaf gas exchange and water use efficiency. Candidates should have a strong background in plant physiology, with experience of using leaf gas exchange to study stomatal or photosynthetic function. Experience of studying photosynthesis or drought responses in the field is preferable. The successful applicant will be expected to collaborate with a team that is generating transgenic events and identifying natural diversity in water use efficiency of setaria and sorghum. Start date as early as November 2017, but flexible.

Questions or applications for these positions, including a letter of application, CV and the names of three references, can be addressed by email to Melinda Laborg, laborg@illinois.edu. Applications will be reviewed starting Oct. 25, 2017.