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Biological Sciences Postdoctoral Scholar (EcoPod)

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Job Location
1 Cyclotron Road
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
Salary will be predetermined based on postdoctoral step rates.
Job Description

Biological Sciences Postdoctoral Scholar (EcoPod) - 91335

Organization: JG-Joint Genome Institute


Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s (LBNL, Joint Genome Institute (JGI, Division has an opening for a Postdoctoral Biological Sciences to join the team.


In this exciting role, you will perform research on plant-microbe interactions with an emphasis on the role of plant genes on microbial community composition. Your responsibilities include identifying mutants in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon that affect production and/or exudation of compounds thought to influence microbiome community composition and characterizing the effect of these mutations on microbiome composition and function. The project will test interactions at two scales. First, at a small scale using small growth chambers that enable non-destructive imaging and sampling EcoFABs ( of roots and microbes as a tool to rapidly test hypotheses. Second, at a larger, more field relevant scale, using chambers called EcoPODs that will allow for more realistic growth conditions and spatial studies. Additional available resources include a collection of B. distachyon mutants containing over 2M sequenced mutations, a robotic system to manipulate and maintain EcoFABs during experiments, fluorescently labeled bacterial strains that are part of a synthetic community used by several projects at Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Methods to study plant-microbe interactions will include 16S community profiling, metabolomics, and fluorescence microscopy. You will store and organize results for presentation and viewing by project team members and the wider scientific community and prepare results for publication in scientific journals.


What You Will Do:

• Identify genes that may affect root exudation.

• Identify mutants in these genes in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon from existing collections of sequenced mutants. 

• Characterize the effect of these mutations on the root microbiome composition and function.

• Determine the fate of transgenic microbes in the soil and rhizosphere over time.

• Quantify the movement of transgenic microbes in the soil and rhizosphere.

• Use 16S community profiling to characterize microbial community composition.

• Use metabolomics to characterize root-microbe interactions.

• Store and organize results for presentation and viewing by JGI staff, collaborators, and the wider scientific community.

• Interact with multi-institution project team members to ensure efficient communication and completion of analysis projects.

• Write results up for publication.


Additional Responsibilities as needed:

• Work with group members and/or outside collaborators on additional plant-microbe projects.

• Create transgenic plants to test specific hypotheses.



What is Required:

Ph.D. in life sciences with relevant research experience. 

• Strong background in molecular biology, plant biology, and/or microbiology.

• Strong organizational and record-keeping skills to record experiment results and analyze data. 

• Laboratory experience in molecular biology, plant biology, and/or microbiology.

• Effective oral and written communication skills to present findings at group meetings and conferences and publish results.

• Ability to interact with a variety of technical and scientific personnel including Research Associates, Scientists, and Software Engineers.


Desired Qualifications:

Experience using bioinformatics tools such as ARB, BLAST, IMG, QIIME.

• Experience with fluorescence microscopy.

• Experience analyzing metabolomic data. 


The posting shall remain open until the position is filled.



• This is a full-time, 1 year, postdoctoral appointment with the possibility of renewal based upon satisfactory job performance, continuing availability of funds and ongoing operational needs. You must have less than 4 years of paid postdoctoral experience. Salary for Postdoctoral positions depends on years of experience post-degree.

• This position is represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes.

• Salary will be predetermined based on postdoctoral step rates.

• 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.

• Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values at Berkeley Lab. Our excellence can only be fully realized by faculty, students, and staff who share our commitment to these values. Successful candidates for our faculty positions will demonstrate evidence of a commitment to advancing equity and inclusion.

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


How to Apply

How To Apply

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

About Our Organization

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, 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 (


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. Berkeley Lab is in compliance with the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision under 41 CFR 60-1.4.  Click here ( 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.