Postdoctoral Researcher

Requisition Number: 
Plant Science and Conservation
Job Status: 
Reports to: 
Senior Scientist
The postdoctoral researcher hired for this short-term position will contribute to ongoing efforts to reconstruct phylogenies of Onagraceae at multiple taxonomic levels. Data collection has already been completed, and DNA sequence data (target enrichment for over 300 nuclear genes) is available for over 600 taxa. Phylogenomic analyses are underway; the postdoc hired will assist in implementing cutting-edge methods for inferring phylogenies, testing hypotheses of relationships, and reconstructing ancestral character states and transitions. It is expected that the postdoc will initiate new manuscripts and contribute to ongoing papers. Opportunities to contribute to the sequencing, assembly, annotation, and analysis of new genomes sequences are also available. Relocation to Chicago is not required, and the researcher may work remotely. The position is funded for up to nine months, dependent on start date. Review of applications begins March 8, 2021, and will continue until the position is filled. In addition to the Chicago Botanic Garden application materials, please submit the following: • A cover letter that includes a statement of why you are interested in this position and how it will further your career goals • A CV • Contact information for three references (can be included at end of CV). Contact Norm Wickett at with any questions.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

The postdoc will be responsible for the following: 

  • Assist with phylogenomic analyses of Onagraceae (evening primrose family)
  • Implement methods of hypothesis testing and ancestral character state reconstruction using phylogenies generated by this project
  • Lead the writing of new manuscripts and contribute to ongoing manuscripts
  • Assist with the assembly, annotation, and analysis of genome sequences

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired:

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.



The ideal applicant will have:

  • A Ph.D. in botany, ecology, evolutionary biology, or a related field.
  • Experience analyzing target enrichment (HybSeq) datasets (phylogenomics)
  • Familiarity with installing and running programs from the command line
  • Experience with high-throughput DNA-sequencing data
  • Experience writing scientific manuscripts and reports
Physical Demands: 
Office setting. Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Some requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items less than 30 pounds.
March 8, 2021
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

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