A bioinformatics postdoc position to study the origin and diversification of metabolic gene clusters in plants

Carnegie Institution for Science
Plant Biology
United States CA Stanford


A postdoctoral researcher position is available immediately in the laboratory of Dr. Sue Rhee ( in the Department of Plant Biology at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, CA.

The main goal of the project is to develop computational methods to predict and analyze metabolic gene clusters involved in producing novel secondary metabolites in plants. The project has opportunities to use genomics and functional genomics data in plants to develop algorithms that can accelerate the discovery of secondary metabolic pathways in plants.

The Rhee Lab has pioneered the development of new computational algorithms to predict metabolic gene clusters:

Schlapfer et al. Genome-Wide Prediction of Metabolic Enzymes, Pathways, and Gene Clusters in Plants. Plant Physiology. 2017.
Chavali and Rhee. Bioinformatics tools for the identification of gene clusters that biosynthesize specialized metabolites. Briefings in Bioinformatics. 2017.

The successful candidate may build upon existing methods in the Rhee Lab to develop algorithms with improved performance. In addition to predicting metabolic gene clusters, the candidate will be motivated to study the origin and diversification of metabolic gene clusters by using evolutionary and comparative genomics approaches. The postdoc will be part of a consortium that includes several pioneering labs in synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to experimentally test the functions of these gene clusters in yeast and in planta.

The Carnegie Institution, a private, nonprofit organization engaged in basic research and advanced education in biology, astronomy, and the earth sciences, was founded and endowed by Andrew Carnegie in 1902 and incorporated by an act of Congress in 1904. Andrew Carnegie conceived the Institution’s purpose “to encourage, in the broadest and most liberal manner, investigation, research, and discovery, and the application of knowledge to the improvement of mankind.” The Department of Plant Biology engages in basic research on the mechanisms involved in the growth and development of plants and algae. The Department of Plant Biology is co-located with the Carnegie Department of Global Ecology on a seven-acre site on the campus of Stanford University.


Qualified candidates must have: 1) a Ph.D. or equivalent in Computer Science, Bioinformatics, Mathematics, Evolutionary or Population Biology, Biochemistry, Plant Biology, Engineering or related field; 2) expertise or fluency in large-scale data analysis, statistics, genomics, machine learning, and/or related field; and 3) proficiency in programming (R, Perl, Python, MATLAB, etc.). The successful candidate should also be able to demonstrate independent and critical thinking, ability and initiative to learn new things, excellent communication and teamwork skills, and a passion for biological research.

Start date

As soon as possible

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