Plant Microbiome Ecology Research Associate

Position Type

Michigan State University (MSU) is one of the top institutions for plant science and microbial ecology research. A position for a Research Associate (Postdoc) is available with the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). The successful applicant will join a collaborative team to execute research to understand the role of switchgrass microbiome for plant productivity on marginal lands. Gregory Bonito (Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences), Sarah Evans (Integrative Biology), and Ashley Shade (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) will jointly advise the successful applicant, who will have a pivotal role in project coordination between these three labs, and work out of the Bonito lab.

Switchgrass is a cellulosic bioenergy crop that is being tested for performance on non-arable (marginal) lands. We seek an excellent Postdoc to conduct microbiome research to understand the drivers and consequences of switchgrass rhizosphere communities, and to coordinate plant, fungal, and bacteria-based team research activities across labs. The position will be located on the Michigan State University (MSU) main campus (East Lansing), but will frequently travel to execute collaborative projects at MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station (Hickory Corners) and present GLBRC microbiome results at meetings.


The successful applicant will be independent, motivated, and hold a PhD in plant, soil, microbial sciences, ecology, bioinformatics/genomics, or similar field. Experience in conducting field work and/or greenhouse work with plant or soil associated microbiomes is required. Strong wet-lab skills for generating high quality RNA and DNA from plant and microbial tissues, and quantitative skills in bioinformatics and statistics is expected. The successful candidate will have skills in microbiology and molecular laboratory techniques, as well as strong writing abilities. Excellent organizational and communication skills are expected. Experience in managing, analyzing, and coordinating collaboration using large, multi-project datasets will be viewed favorably, as well as skills in data science and experience in high-performance computing resources.

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Center consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers that aim to produce the knowledge and technological advances needed to establish a sustainable lignocellulosic bioindustry.  The center addresses a set of interrelated knowledge gaps that currently limit the industrial scale production of bioenergy crops, specialty biofuels and bioproducts, and knowledge to develop a new generation of sustainable lignocellulosic biorefineries.

Application Instructions:

Please submit a cover letter, a brief description of research interests, experiences, and accomplishments, current CV, at least one representative publication, and the names and contact information of three references, Application Instructions: All applications must be submitted through the MSU Careers Website. To access this posting, please use this link:

Review of Applications will begin immediately.

Deadline to Apply