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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

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The Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a number of fellowships for truly exceptional young scholars who have completed their Ph.D. within the last several years, and are looking for a stimulating and supportive interdisciplinary environment to carry out independent and collaborative research in the field of genomic biology.  IGB Fellows will spend up to three years conducting research in one of several research themes in the Institute, and ideally this research will also overlap with two or more of the thematic areas below.


We seek a postdoc with a strong quantitative background to join a multidisciplinary group exploring collective effects in biology from the genome to the ecosystem scale. Ongoing research addresses the emergence of life and the nature of evolution prior to the Last Universal Common Ancestor, the evolution of core cellular machinery in Archaea and other domains of life, the role of horizontal gene transfer in shaping communities of microbes and phages, geomicrobiology, and the systems biology of microbes, biofilms and ecosystems.  We are also developing an interest in evolutionary medicine, with special interest in combating the emergence of antibiotic resistance.  (Nigel Goldenfeld, Theme Leader)

Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering

The Fellow will be involved in one or more of our multidisciplinary projects related to regenerative biology and harnessing the potential of adult/embryonic stem cells for tissue engineering applications. Of particular interest is leveraging theme expertise in biomaterials fabrication, drug delivery systems, microfluidics-based in vitro experimental platforms, and in vivo evolutionary biology and regeneration medicine studies. The ideal candidate will have experience in one or more areas of (stem) cell biology, induced pluripotent cell technology, biomaterials, microfluidics, and/or tissue engineering. (Brendon Harley, Theme Leader)

Genomic Ecology of Global Change

The Fellow will be involved in a cross-disciplinary project investigating how changes in networks of genes affect plant and ecosystem function when challenged by elements of global change, including greater carbon dioxide, ozone, drought, temperature, disease and herbivory. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in plant biology and a record of expertise in molecular biology, genomic ecology, physiology or modeling of gene networks or ecosystem function. The ability to work creatively and productively in a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative environment is essential. (Don Ort, Theme Leader)

Energy Biosciences Institute

The Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) is an externally funded theme within the IGB. It is the largest industry/academia collaboration to date, currently receiving $500 million over ten years and focusing on the development of second-generation biofuels intended to significantly slow the rate of global climate change. Its research ranges from systems biology of fermentative organisms to quantification of ecosystem services provided by new sustainable biofuel crops. Other areas include development of enzymes of efficient plant biomass depolymerization, biofuel law and social and economic impacts.  The EBI also has an interest in geomicrobial approaches to increasing the efficiency of oil extraction.  The full range of research can be seen at We seek an outstanding candidate across these areas interested in applying genomic biology to understanding and developing opportunities for improving sustainable biofuel production. Research can be at any point in the supply chain from improving feedstocks and their environmental sustainability to producing fuel. The appointee will work in an interdisciplinary laboratory of over 100 exceptional colleagues focused on this challenge. The appointment would also involve collaboration with our partners: UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and BP. (Isaac Cann, Theme Leader)

Gene Networks in Neural & Developmental Plasticity

We seek a biologist with strong bioinformatics skills and training in one or more of the following areas: gene regulation (especially relating to transcription factor dynamics or epigenomics), evolutionary biology, neuroscience, or systems biology. Applicants with expertise in both experimental biology and bioinformatics will be strongly preferred. The successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary team using systems biology approaches to analyze regulatory mechanisms underlying complex developmental and behavioral phenotypes, and components that may define determinants of inter- and intraspecies diversity. Fellows are expected to conduct research that contributes to the development of theme goals by integrating components from multiple theme members’ areas of expertise. (Lisa Stubbs, Theme Leader)

Mining Microbial Genomes

The Fellow will be involved in one of several multidisciplinary projects focused on (1) the discovery, design, and development of novel antibiotics, or (2) the assignment of function to novel enzymes discovered in genome projects. The ideal candidate will have a proven record of expertise in microbially produced natural products and/or enzyme evolution.  We are interested in candidates with previous experience in bacterial metabolism, bacterial genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, enzyme evolution, metabolic engineering, organic synthesis, mass spectroscopy, bioinformatics and/or metagenomics. (Bill Metcalf, Theme Leader)

Biosystems Design

The Fellow will be involved in one of several multidisciplinary projects focused on the development and application of synthetic biology tools to address challenging problems related to human health and sustainability. The ideal candidate will have a proven record of expertise in synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, protein engineering, mass spectroscopy, laboratory automation, computer aided design, bioinformatics, and plant genetic engineering.
(Huimin Zhao, Theme Leader)