About the Opportunity
We have an exciting opportunity for a Postdoctoral Fellow, supporting genomic research characterizing insect biodiversity in California, as part of the Thriving California Initiative and a grant from the State of California to digitize insect collections. This five-year strategic initiative is a coordinated effort of scientific research, cross-sector collaboration, and widespread education and engagement focused on California biodiversity.

The Insect Barcoding Postdoctoral Researcher will support our efforts to digitize and barcode every named-species of insect in California. The Postdoctoral Fellow will work as part of a large collaborative team, and will coordinate across insect collections in the state of California and the Academy’ Center for Comparative Genomics with the goal of DNA barcoding 80,000 archival insect specimens in the next two years.

In addition, the Postdoctoral Fellow leads the development of innovative pipelines to ensure the accurate production of quality DNA barcodes from specimens to public-facing databases, ensuring the capture of biodiversity data from natural history collections aimed at informing critical science, conservation, and decision making. The successful applicant will be meticulous in their approach to handling and processing samples and data and have good all round experience handling samples for genetic analyses.

Organizational Culture:
Join a team dedicated to the Academy’s mission, vision and values!Currently, the Academy has a new strategic plan including three initiatives – Hope for Reefs, Thriving California, and Islands 2030 – that leverage biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement to regenerate fragile ecosystems around the world.

We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The mission of the California Academy of Sciences is to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and we know they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every one of the qualifications for the position.

This position is based in San Francisco, California. Staff are currently expected to work from the Academy offices at least 2-3 times per week, which may fluctuate based on business needs. Please do not apply if you are not able to work onsite. Candidates are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination, including receiving a booster shot, as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Individuals receiving a conditional offer of employment from the California Academy of Sciences will be provided the full text of the vaccination policy.

About the Thriving California/ Entomology Team
Thriving California is a major new Academy initiative that will harness scientific data and mobilize diverse communities to fight climate change, stop biodiversity loss, and advocate for nature in the Golden State. Our Entomology department oversees one of the largest insect collections in the world, containing over 17 million specimens, many of which are from the State of California.

Key Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with a team of technicians & interns based at the Academy to obtain COI barcodes from insect specimens in our collections via MinION amplicon sequencing.
  • Develop and optimize a pipeline for high-throughput insect barcoding (DNA extraction, PCR, amplicon MinION sequencing)
  • Develop bioinformatic pipeline to process, quality check, and upload DNA sequence data to The Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD)
  • Coordinate sequencing across collaborating institutions.
  • Compile and manage a list of insect species in the State of California, and their DNA barcode status.
  • Train Lab Technician & interns in the above techniques
  • Follow all Academy safety regulations
  • Other duties as assigned


  • A qualified candidate will possess a combination of the following experience and/or equivalent education:
  • Ph.D. degree in evolutionary biology, bioinformatics, data science, or entomology.
  • Research expertise in Next Generation sequencing techniques and protocols, and experience working with museum or archival samples.
  • Experience in MinION/ NGS amplicon sequencing preferred
  • Experience in high throughput sample processing preferred
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills (English) and a strong background in science communication with diverse audiences.


  • Strong interest in biodiversity and ability to communicate that passion.
  • Expertise in specimen databasing, DNA analysis programs, and the submission of DNA data to public databases
  • Expertise with second and third generation sequencing techniques
  • Expertise in R programming and statistical environment for the integration, manipulation, and analysis of big data.
  • Experience in reproducible workflows, code version control, and management (Git, GitHub)
  • Works as a part of multi-disciplinary teams and diverse stakeholder groups
  • Committed to working on a team that is striving to be anti-racist in work, interactions, systems, and tools
  • Confident and flexible communicator, both written and verbal, to diverse audiences
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently, and as a member of interdisciplinary teams on cross-cutting issues
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully collaborate with non-scientists
  • Flexible and creative
  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals
  • Ability to write routine reports and correspondence
  • Ability to lift 10 lbs.
  • Ability to perform repetitive motions 20% of the time

Physical Environment:  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential job duty satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions.

Compensation and Benefits
Hiring range: $64,500-$67,000
Schedule: Full-Time, 40 hours per week

Starting salary will vary based on experience and relevant skills/knowledge set.

The Academy offers a total compensation package that emphasizes both base salary and comprehensive benefits.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Review of applications will begin on January 10, 2023 and will continue until the position is filled.


The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, place of birth, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, height or weight, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.

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