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Postdoctoral Researcher

Requisition Number: 
Plant Science and Conservation
Job Status: 
We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher to assist in the population genetic component of an NSF-funded Dimensions of Biodiversity grant titled “Landscapes of linalool: scent-mediated diversification of flowers and moths across western North America.”

The project integrates chemical ecology, plant reproduction, pollination, population genetics, and comparative genomics to explore the impact of past selective pressures on current patterns of diversity in evening primroses (Onagraceae), hawkmoths (Sphingidae), bees (Halictidae), and micromoths (Mompha). Data collection for the project is largely complete, therefore the postdoc will assist with data analysis, interpretation of results, and manuscript preparation. However, depending on the individual’s interest, there are also opportunities to develop an autonomous project within the grant’s objectives, with funds to do field and lab work. We are particularly interested in applicants with analytical skills in population genetics, landscape genetics, molecular ecology, or genomics, with interests in pollination ecology and habitat fragmentation. The position is for 12 months initially, but there is potential to extend pending funding. The successful candidate will be based at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and will join a group of enthusiastic scientists focused on addressing key conservation challenges. 

Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Conduct population genetic analyses using RADSEQ, Hyb-Seq, and microsatellite datasets, including calculating metrics of inbreeding, kinship, isolation by distance, gene-flow, and paternity.
  • Explore population genetic metrics within the framework of questions related to pollination ecology and landscape parameters.
  • Lead publications arising from the grant.
  • Participate in fieldwork as needed.
  • Mentor undergraduate and potentially M.S. students (offered through the Chicago Botanic Garden's REU program and graduate program in plant biology and conservation, associated with Northwestern University).

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.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Ph.D. in population genetics, landscape genetics, or a related field.
  • Ideally, the candidate will have experience with population genetics and/or paternity analysis, preferably using both microsatellite and genomic datasets.
  • Familiarity with GIS, genomic data, and bioinformatics analysis would be a bonus.
  • Ideally the applicant will share the PI interest in pollination ecology, habitat fragmentation, and conservation genetics.
Physical Demands: 
This position will be based at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The majority of time for this position will be spent analyzing data. However, there are opportunities (encouraged) for fieldwork associated with this project.
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.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability, or any other federal, state, or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.