Postdoctoral reseacher

Postdoctoral position in the Koskella lab to explore the impact of microbiome transmission on the evolution and ecology of plant-microbial interactions. 

From infectious disease ecology, we know that the magnitude of vertical (from parent to offspring) vs. horizontal (among unrelated individuals) transmission can predict pathogen virulence (the harm caused to the host) and the strength of selection for host resistance or tolerance against pathogens. Despite this, there has been little focus on how transmission of microbiota occurs, is maintained, and impacts upon (co)evolution. This is especially true in the plant literature, despite decades of evidence for a role of plant- associated microbiota in shaping plant health. An idea that has been gaining traction in recent years is that interrupted vertical transmission (for example through C-section delivery and antibiotic use in infancy) can lead to irreversible change and/or loss of human microbiome diversity over time. We are seeking to extend this concept to the plant microbiome, where common agricultural practices such as seed treatment, tillage, crop rotation, and chemical antimicrobials almost certainly result in disrupted microbiome transmission and could therefore have similar short and long-term impacts on the host-microbiome association.

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to lead an NSF-funded project exploring the importance of microbiome transmission mode in shaping adaptation and community assembly. The work will take place in the laboratory of Dr. Britt Koskella, at UC Berkeley, and will be in collaboration with Profs Steven Lindow (UC Berkeley, Plant and Microbial Biology) and Jessica Metcalf (Princeton). The project will include a combination of experimental evolution and bacterial/fungal community profiling/’omics’ approaches, using tomato plants as a model system.

Responsibilities include microbiological culturing, plant inoculations, extraction and analysis of both amplicon and metagenomic data sets, statistical analyses, and preparation of manuscripts for publication. There also exists ample opportunity to design and implement additional projects of mutual interest.

Minimum/Basic Qualifications Required (At the time of application):
Candidates must have completed all degree requirements except the dissertation or be enrolled in an accredited Ph.D. or equivalent international degree program

Additional Required Qualifications (By start date):
Ph.D. or equivalent international degree with a track record of publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Preferred Qualifications (By start date):
Preference will be given to applicants with experience in bioinformatics, microbial ecology, molecular biology, statistics, and/or disease ecology, as well as excellent writing and communication skills.

This position reports to Dr. Britt Koskella. The initial appointment will be at 100% time for one year with the possibility of extension for up to 3 years based on satisfactory performance. The approximate start date of this position will be September 2018, although a later start date could be negotiated for the right candidate.

Salary: $49,188– $59,736 depending on qualifications. This position provides full postdoctoral scholar benefits.

To Apply:

Interested individuals should submit application documents as PDFs, which includes, an updated curriculum vitae (required), and names with contact information for 3-5 individuals who have agreed to provide a reference for this specific position (required) and a cover letter (required). (Letters of reference may be requested of the finalists).

Specific questions regarding the recruitment can be directed to Terri Leong, HR Partner,

Application deadline:
Start date: Flexible
Location: University of California, BERKELEY