Postdoctoral Position: Microbial Metabolite Signaling at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Postdoc examining host-microbe metabolic interactions in microalgae and perennial grasses using metabolomics, advanced genomics and stable isotope probing

Postdoctoral Position: Microbial Metabolite Signaling at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Staff Member to work host-microbe metabolic interactions and exchange in microalgae and perennial grasses. This DOE funded project centered at LLNL supports a multi-institution research program (, which is focused on sustainable and predictable bioenergy crop production. We use a community systems biology approach to gain a comprehensive understanding of microbial consortia that are closely associated with bioenergy-relevant crops. The Postdoc will work with Michael Thelen at LLNL and Trent Northen at the Joint Genome Institute, and will be a member of the Systems & Synthetic Biology Group in the Biosciences & Biotechnology Division of LLNL. The research will take advantage of our team’s many analytical tools, including high resolution imaging secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS), NMR facility, accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS), and a specialized liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) metabolomics system. Our team benefits from active collaborations with scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UCLA, and MIT.

What will you do?

  • Design and conduct experiments to extract, identify, and quantify small metabolite compounds from microbial communities in symbiotic relationships with roots or algae.
  • Characterize the exchange of metabolites between bacteria and symbiotic hosts using stable isotope probes (SIP) integrated with LC-MS and NanoSIMS.
  • Work within a large team of scientists from multiple institutions towards common goals.
  • Pursue independent (but complementary) research interests.
  • Publish research results in peer-reviewed scientific or technical journals.
  • Organize, analyze, and present data from research at seminars, technical meetings, national and international conferences.

What are the minimum qualifications you need?

  • PhD in biology, microbial ecology, biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry, or a related field.
  • PhD must be within 5 years of hiring*.
  • Ability to develop research projects as demonstrated by record of accomplishment.
  • Proficient verbal and written communication, ability to present and explain technical information,  and interpersonal skills to collaborate effectively in a multidisciplinary team environment.

What are other advantageous qualifications?

  • Experience in separation and analysis of small biological molecules.
  • Expertise in GC-MS, LC-MS/MS, NMR, AMS, or other analytical instrumentation.
  • Experience with ‘omics technologies and microbe-microbe or microbe-host interactions.
  • Experience with stable isotopes.
  • Willingness to learn new techniques in metabolomics.
  • Ability to travel within a 40-mile radius between work locations (Livermore, Walnut Creek, and Berkeley), and occasional travel to meetings outside California.

Interested candidates should contact Michael Thelen:, 925-422-6547, or apply for position 103155 at

NOTE: This is a two-year term appointment with the possibility of extension to a maximum of three years.
*Eligible candidates are recent PhDs within five years of the month of the degree award at time of employment offer. After receiving an offer, the selected candidate must pass a pre-employment drug test.


Application deadline: Flexible
Start date: Flexible
Location: Livermore, CA, "SF Bay Area"