Open Job: How did the Gulf Oil Spill Affect the Ocean’s Microbiome?

Well, we’re not sure. But if you would like to find out, and you are on the market for an exciting postdoc position, this is the best way to go about it:

Postdoctoral Position in Laboratory of Jack A. Gilbert.

The Macondo wellhead oil leak, also known as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (April 20th – July 15th 2010), released a complex mixture of hydrocarbons into the water column that stimulated the growth, metabolic activity, and succession of a diverse, yet distinct, hydrocarbon-degrading microbial community. This event represented a unique opportunity to employ state-of-the-art molecular microbiological and geochemical approaches to quantify and model the microbial community composition and activity through successive metabolic petroleum hydrocarbon degradation. We have already sampled the environment and generated the 16S/18S rRNA and shotgun metagenomic sequence data necessary for interrogating the community; this position aims to leverage this sequencing resource to create a predictive model of the impact of oil pollution of microbial metabolism in this ecosystem.

The postdoctoral researcher will employ cutting edge metagenomic interpretation tools (PRMT and MAP) to create a predictive model of the community composition and functional potential of the microbial community under different environmental conditions. We are looking for someone with a keen interest in microbiology, biogeochemistry and ecology, who is also competent in, or interested in learning, mathematical modeling techniques (MAP, PRMT) and computational data analysis (QIIME, metagenomic annotation, metabolic pathway analysis, R statistics package, Unix command line, etc.)


The Gilbert Lab at University of Chicago is the center of the Earth Microbiome Project (, Hospital Microbiome Project (, and the Home Microbiome Project ( Fundamentally we are interested in exploring microbial ecological dynamics in myriad ecosystems, and determining common patterns of response within phylogenetic groups associated with different environmental parameter gradients. We have routinely published >25 manuscripts a year for the last 3 years, and represent a dynamic and experienced research forum capable of provide support, teaching and creativity for an imaginative, collaborative, and highly motivated candidate. You will be given access to a broad range of disciplines, and will leave with a comprehensive and competitive set of expertise.

Start date is January 1st 2013, and will be for two years. The salary is highly competitive. The candidate will be affiliated with the University of Chicago Department of Ecology and Evolution, but the position is primarily based at Argonne National Laboratory (30 mins from the University). The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer.

For more information contact Jack Gilbert (, and be prepared to provide a full CV and 2-3 references.

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