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Postdoc in Plant-microbe Interactions

Job ID 2744 Date posted 07/21/2021

Brookhaven National Laboratory ( delivers discovery science and transformative technology to power and secure the nation’s future. Brookhaven Lab is a multidisciplinary laboratory with seven Nobel Prize-winning discoveries, 37 R&D 100 Awards, and more than 70 years of pioneering research. The Lab is primarily supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science. Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA) operates and manages the Laboratory for DOE. BSA is a partnership between Battelle and The Research Foundation for the State University of New York on behalf of Stony Brook University.

Organizational Overview

Researchers in the Biology Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory seek to unravel and fully describe the complexities of biological systems—from how plants make oils and other products to the role of proteins in disease. Our work helps to develop and makes use of the tools and techniques of biochemistry, molecular genetics, and structural biology. We also leverage the unique capabilities of Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source-II and Center for Functional Nanomaterials, major research facilities open to scientists from around the world. Our research makes important contributions to fulfilling the missions of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences and Office of Biological and Environmental Research. In addition, together with the Collider-Accelerator Department, the Biology Department manages the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at Brookhaven, which is used by radiobiologists and physicists to study the effects of space radiation on both living and non-living systems with the aim of protecting future astronauts.

Position Description
A postdoctoral position is available in the laboratory of Dr. Tim Paape in the Biology Department at Brookhaven National
Laboratory on Long Island, NY. This is
a 1-year term position with annual renewal contingent upon satisfactory performance
and continued funding.
The position involves studying plant-microbe interactions of nitrogen fixing, symbiotic bacteria and legume plant systems using genetic and genomic techniques. We are interested in genetic, cellular and evolutionary mechanisms involved in detoxification of plant tissues when exposed to heavy metals. The post doc would be involved in several possible lines of investigation including but not limited to: transcriptomics (RNA-seq), qPCR, functional genetics using gene knock-outs (RNAi, CRISPR), XRF imaging in both host plants and microbes using beamlines at NSLS-II, genome annotation of newly assembled rhizobia genomes, genetic diversity analysis, and quantitative genetics. The post doc will be encouraged to pursue independent aspects of plant-microbe interactions and role of ion homeostasis and detoxification by both plants and microbes, as well as combining several interdisciplinary aspects using the techniques listed above. Incorporation of evolutionary and/or ecological aspects and analyses into this research is highly encouraged.
Equally, we hope to expand our group’s skillset by incorporating incoming skills.
This position has a high level of interaction
with an international and multicultural scientific community.

Position Requirements

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Conduct experiments using host plants and symbiotic microbes for ionomics, transcriptomics, laser dissection microscopy, and X-ray imaging to identify genotype x genotype effects of adaptive host microbe interactions.
  • Cultivate plants and microbes using sterile techniques for genetic and imaging experiments.
  • Sample preparation for RNA-seq, metabolomics and functional characterization of genes and pathways regulating plant metal homeostasis.
  • Molecular analysis of candidate ion transporter genes.
  • RT-PCR preparation and qPCR analysis, Sanger sequencing and basic sequence alignment/analysis.
  • Using publicly available databases to identify sequence homology (i.e. BLAST, NCBI).

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Ph.D. in plant biology, molecular biology, genetics, evolutionary biology, biochemistry, or related field.
  • Demonstrated knowledge in molecular, genetic and biochemical characterizations of genes and pathways.
  • Experience in manuscript writing and demonstrated track record of publication of research in high quality peer-reviewed journals.
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team-based research environment.
  • Quantitative genetics and phenotype analysis.
  • Analysis of genomics data, RNA-seq, Illumina, SNP calling.

Preferred Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Experience with mass spectrometry imaging and X-ray fluorescence imaging.
  • Light microscopy and image analysis.
  • Single cell RNA-seq.
  • ICP-MS or similar mass spectrometry for ion analysis.
  • Knowledge of plant physiology, metal homeostasis, biochemistry.
  • Evolutionary or ecological genetics/genomics.

Other information:

  •  BNL policy requires that research associate appointments be made to individuals who have received their doctorate within the past five years.
  • The initial appointment will be one year with annual renewal contingent upon satisfactory performance and continued funding.

At Brookhaven National Laboratory we believe that a comprehensive employee benefits program is an important and meaningful part of the compensation employees receive. Our benefits program includes, but is not limited to:

  • Medical, Dental, and Vision Care Plans
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Paid Time-off and Leave Programs (vacation, holidays, sick leave, paid parental leave)
  • 401(k) Plan
  • Flexible Work Arrangements
  • Tuition Assistance, Training and Professional Development Programs
  • Employee Fitness/Wellness & Recreation:  Gym/Basketball Courts, Weight Room, Fitness Classes, Indoor Pool, Tennis Courts, Sports Clubs/Activities (Basketball, Ping Pong, Softball, Tennis)

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is an equal opportunity employer that values inclusion and diversity at our Lab.We are committed to ensuring that all qualified applicants receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, status as a veteran, disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

BNL takes affirmative action in support of its policy and to advance in employment individuals who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities.We ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment.Please contact us to request accommodation.

*VEVRAA Federal Contractor

Brookhaven employees are subject to restrictions related to participation in Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs, as defined and detailed in United States Department of Energy Order 486.1A. You will be asked to disclose any such participation at the time of hire for review by Brookhaven. The full text of the Order may be found at:

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