The Emerson Lab at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is seeking a Postdoctoral Researcher to lead a project in soil viral ecology using omic approaches, particularly viromics, metagenomics, and/or metatranscriptomics. We are looking for a postdoc with a strong bioinformatics background to dive into this exciting new field. The primary project will be an NSF-funded investigation of soil viral spatiotemporal dynamics in a California grassland, including through periods of activity and dormancy, but there is some project flexibility.

There will be opportunities for contributing to ongoing projects in our group (e.g., viral ecology in post-fire or agricultural soils), and it may be possible for the new postdoc to be “50:50” on the NSF grassland project and one of our other projects (opportunities will be discussed with finalists). The research project(s) will be bioinformatics-focused but will include field and laboratory components, particularly in the first year. The postdoc will be expected to publish results in peer-reviewed journals and present at scientific meetings.

Candidates will be evaluated based on how well their background and interests prepare them for bioinformatics-oriented soil viral ecology research. Some experience with metagenomic or metatranscriptomic sequencing datasets (or similar) is preferred, but experience with viruses is not required. See below for preferred qualifications. A positive and supportive work environment is essential to the culture of our group, and evidence for working well both collaboratively and independently will be viewed favorably. Finalists can meet with current and recent members of our group to learn more.

The PI is committed to supporting the career interests of the Postdoctoral Researcher. Opportunities for writing grant proposals, mentoring Ph.D. students and undergraduates, giving occasional guest lectures in university classrooms, attending seminars and ‘meet-and-greets’ with industry representatives and National Lab collaborators, and other career development experiences will be available. As one specific example, if desired, the postdoc could lead a bioinformatics module (1-2 weeks per year) in their area of expertise in an undergraduate bioinformatics course taught by the PI.

Our department also has a Postdoctoral Researchers Group that organizes social and career development opportunities for our postdocs, and we support a range of career paths. The Postdoctoral Researcher will join a vibrant research community in microbiology, bioinformatics, ecology, soil and environmental science, plant pathology, and sustainable agriculture at UC Davis.


Basic qualifications(required at time of application)

Ph.D. in Microbiology, Bioinformatics, or similar (by the start date)

Preferred qualifications

-Bioinformatics experience (experience with large omic datasets is a plus)
-Molecular biological laboratory experience
-Demonstrated ability and desire to work both independently and collaboratively
-Strong publication record commensurate with experience
-Excellent written and oral communication skills, along with motivation to publish results and present at scientific meetings
-Bioinformatics experience with or a strong desire and demonstrated potential to
learn many of the following: viral and/or microbial genome reconstruction from metagenomes (e.g., computational metagenomic assembly, genome binning, annotation, and biochemical pathway reconstruction), programming experience in Python or similar, ecological statistical analyses (e.g., using R), metatranscriptome analysis, network analysis
-Field, laboratory, and/or bioinformatics background in soil and/or wetland ecosystems
-Experience working with viruses, viral genomes, and/or viromes (microbial metagenomic experience would be a good substitute)
-Experience working with RNA in the laboratory

Application Requirements

Document requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae – Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter – Please indicate why you are interested in the position and briefly highlight your bioinformatics, field, and/or laboratory experience.
  • 2-3 Representative Publications – Conference abstracts along with a representative figure are a fine substitute for ongoing work; submitted materials will be considered strictly confidential to our online submission system.

Reference requirements

  • 3 required (contact information only)

References will only be contacted for finalists.

Help contact:

Campus Information

We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals’ with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community.

Apply link:

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is committed to inclusive excellence by advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do. UC Davis celebrates the multi-cultural diversity of its community by creating a welcoming and inclusive environment demonstrated through a variety of resources and programs available to academics, staff, and students. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are core values of UC Davis that are embedded within our Principles of Community and are tied with how to best serve our student population.

Next review date: Monday, Mar 6, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

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