Postdoctoral Position: Soil Metagenomics

Postdoc examining the metagenomics of arid soils

An exciting interdisciplinary postdoctoral position focused on metagenome analysis of the arid soil microbiome is available in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona, Tucson (USA). Specifically, the individual will use metagenome analysis to gain knowledge concerning the unique functional biogeochemical-cycling capacity of the arid soil microbiome and to assess the impact of aridity stress on this functional capacity. We are looking for a postdoc with strong bioinformatics and computer programming skills and an interest in functional gene annotation of soil microbial communities. The individual will couple known variations in the phylogenetic diversity of the soil microbiome associated with different geographic regions to its genetic and functional capacity.  Emphasis in this project is placed on below- and above-ground links between the genetic functional capacity of the soil microbiome and plant and ecosystem status.  

The individual will have the unique opportunity to join a diverse interdisciplinary team of scientists focused on understanding interactions between the genetic capacity of the soil microbiome and environmental forces critical to engineering degraded-land recovery in arid ecosystems. The research team includes microbial ecologists, Drs. Julie Neilson, Raina Maier and Albert Barberán, hydrologist, Dr. Peter Troch, soil chemist, Dr. Jon Chorover, and environmental engineer, Dr. Kim Ogden. The postdoc position is for one year with a second year contingent on satisfactory progress. Links to the lab web pages of the research team are listed below:

Research skills and responsibilities

  • Develop hypotheses and conduct independent research within a multidisciplinary team
  • Perform metagenomics analysis to understand functional biogeochemical-cycling capacity of arid soil microbiome
  • Computational Skills: UNIX and programming skills, functional annotation from metagenomes, genome assembly, data analysis and visualization in R.
  • Basic molecular techniques: DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis
  • Prepare manuscripts for publication
  • Present research at regional and national meetings
  • Assist with grant writing
  • Attend and help coordinate laboratory and multidisciplinary research team meetings
  • Advise and supervise undergraduate students associated with the research projects
  • Contribute to the training of graduate students

 Minimum Qualifications

  • PhD in Microbiology/Microbial Ecology/Environmental Microbiology or related field
  • UNIX and programming skills
  • Broad understanding of microbial physiology and the interactions of microbes with the environment
  • Experience with microbiome related studies, DNA extraction, next generation sequencing,  functional metagenomics, and bioinformatics
  • Strong analytical and statistical skills required
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Research productivity as demonstrated by first-author publications
  • Driver’s license

Interested candidates please send an email (subject: Postdoc Soil Metagenomics) to Albert Barberán ( with a cover letter describing research experience and interests, a CV including education and publication list, and contact information for two references.

Application deadline: Open until filled
Start date: ASAP
Location: University of Arizona, Tucson, USA