Berkeley Lab’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI) is looking for a talented Postdoctoral Fellow to perform research on plant microbe interactions with an emphasis on the computational identification and comparison of phages directly influencing root colonization potential.

As part of the Plant-Microbial Interactions Group and in close collaboration with the Viral Genomics Group, you will leverage substantial pre-existing expertise, tools, and resources for the computational identification and characterization of environmental viruses. This includes the application of computational viral detection tools and machine learning approaches across rhizosphere proteobacterial genomes that will inform our understanding of the interaction between plants and their microbiomes. The resulting datasets of plant-associated bacteriophages will assist in the accurate identification and experimental validation of potential candidates that may enhance root colonization capabilities and confer growth-promoting benefits to the host plant. 

You will have the opportunity to closely collaborate with wet-lab staff to support and facilitate the experimental characterization of candidate bacterial strains and their associated phages in plant root colonization assays. You will 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:

  • Conduct comprehensive surveys using computational detection and curation strategies to identify prophages in a wide range of plant-associated proteobacterial genera.
  • Use technologies such as VirSorter2, CheckV and DRAMv necessary to conduct viral detection, screening and manual curation.
  • Collaborate with the Viral Genomics Group to develop machine learning approaches to build technologies for the fast and accurate identification of select categories of mobile genetic elements.
  • Partner with wet-lab biologists in the Plant-Microbial Interactions Group to support study design and data analysis of experimental exploration of phages in plant root colonization.
  • Organize results for presentation and viewing by JGI staff, collaborators, and the wider scientific community.
  • Interact with a multi-group project team to ensure efficient communication and completion of analysis projects.
  • Prepare results for publication.

What is Required:

  • A recent Ph.D. in Life Sciences or a related field.
  • A strong background in bioinformatic tools and computational analysis.
  • Proficiency with Python, R, or others in the Unix environment.
  • Experience with the execution of command-line scripts.
  • Experience using viral detection, screening, and curation tools.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills including the ability to efficiently organize technical information for publication and presentation.
  • Effective interpersonal skills including the ability to interact with diverse technical and scientific staff within a collaborative interdisciplinary team environment.

What We Prefer:

  • Experience with beneficial plant-microbe interactions and/or environmental phage characterization in a laboratory environment.
  • Experience with Plant Biology and/or Microbiology in a laboratory environment.
  • Familiarity with high performance computing environments.

For full consideration, please apply by September 19, 2022 with the following application materials:

  • Cover Letter – Describe your interest in this position and the relevance of your background.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume.


  • This is a full time, exempt from overtime pay (monthly paid), 2 year appointment with the possibility of renewal based upon satisfactory job performance, continuing availability of funds, and ongoing operational needs.  You must have less than 3 years of paid postdoctoral experience. 
  • This position is represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes with predetermined postdoctoral step rates dependent on years of experience post-degree.
  • Salary is commensurate with experience.
  • 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.
  • This position will be performed on site at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA.

Learn About Us:

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 14 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The JGI’s mission is to provide the global research community with access to the most advanced integrative genome science capabilities in support of the DOE”s research mission to solve the world’s evolving energy and environmental challenges. The JGI supports projects in genome sequencing, synthesis, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and natural products in plants, fungi, algae, and microorganisms.

Berkeley Lab’s Postdoc Program is committed to providing Postdoctoral Researchers and Visiting scholars with a positive and impactful experience to jump-start their career through premium research and career development, networking opportunities, mentoring programs, and a strong community. 

Based on University of California Policy – SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program and U.S Federal Government requirements, Berkeley Lab requires that all members of our community obtain the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible. As a condition of employment at Berkeley Lab, all Covered Individuals must Participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program by providing proof of Full Vaccination or submitting a request for Exception or Deferral.

Berkeley Lab is committed to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) and strives to continue building community with these shared values and commitments.

Berkeley Lab is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. We heartily welcome applications from women, minorities, veterans, and all who would contribute to the Lab’s mission of leading scientific discovery, inclusion, and professionalism. In support of our diverse global community, all qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status.

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