Postdoctoral Researcher (Negaunee Institute)

Requisition Number: 
Academic Affairs
Job Status: 
The Negaunee Institute is searching for a post doc to participate in a project led by Greg Mueller, Ph.D., focused on macrofungal diversity and distribution patterns of southern neotropical montane Quercus forests (Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia). Efforts will include barcoding specimens from past field work, undertaking fieldwork to obtain sporocarps and environmental samples, and working with Mueller, in-country collaborators, and other partners on analyzing and publishing the results of this work. Another goal of the funding is to enhance synergies between the Garden and Field Museum, so the post doc will split their time between the two institutions interacting with staff and students. The position is funded for two years but could be extended if funding is secured. The ideal start date for the position is September 2020, but the start date is flexible.

The Negaunee Institute’s science program focus on five core areas aimed at mitigating diversity loss, laying the foundation for healthy ecosystems, and fostering an improved relationship between humans and nature. A key objective to achieving these goals is developing a deeper understanding of the threats to plant life.

Email Greg Mueller with questions about the position or the data set: 

Duties and Responsibilities: 
  1. RESEARCH: Participate in all aspects of the research project, including barcoding specimens from past field work, undertaking fieldwork to obtain sporocarps and environmental samples, and publishing results of this work. Anticipated results include new species, taxonomic revisions of selected taxa, and analyses of diversity and geographic patterns. 
  2. TRAINING: Help mentor graduate students in the Mueller lab and those of in-country collaborators.
  3. INSTITUTIONAL SERVICE: Contribute to Garden and departmental initiatives.
  4. OUTREACH: As appropriate, contribute to outreach, citizen science, and other engagement activities.


  • 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.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Ph.D. in mycology with a focus and experience in biodiversity studies or equivalent with appropriate experience. Strong molecular systematics and / or environmental sampling skills. 

Physical Demands: 
Position entails a mix of computer, laboratory, and fieldwork. Fieldwork will take place in montane tropical forests during the rainy season.
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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