Postdoctoral Associate – Evolutionary Genomics of Bacterial Endosymbionts, Nicholas School of the Environment

Nicholas School of the Environment
Job Description: 

The Wernegreen lab ( seeks a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to work on a funded project related to evolutionary genomics of bacterial endosymbionts of insects.  This postdoc position will contribute to a collaborative NSF-funded project that, more broadly, is exploring the phylogenetic history and biogeography of a highly successful ant tribe (Camponotini) and their bacterial endosymbionts.  This postdoc position will focus on whole-genome sequencing for associated endosymbiotic bacteria, particularly the primary nutritional endosymbiont (Blochmannia) that has coevolved with Camponotine ants.   The position requires strong interest and research experience in computational biology, bacterial genome evolution, comparative genomics, and high-throughput sequencing approaches.  Also helpful will be strong interests and experience in microbial symbiosis, the evolution of endosymbionts, and insect diversity. 

Specifically, this postdoc project will focus on the high-throughput sequencing and comparative analysis of numerous bacterial endosymbiont genomes from diverse Camponotine (ant) hosts.  The position largely focuses on two key areas:  (i) computational biology, including the development of efficient pipelines for bacterial genome assembly, annotation, and metabolic comparisons, and (ii) evolutionary analysis of whole bacterial genomes, including inferences of natural selection and other evolutionary forces.   In addition to those two key areas, the position will involve contributing to molecular wet-lab work associated with generating this data, possibly via mentoring of junior researchers involved in lab work.  

More generally, postdoctoral researchers are also expected to contribute to the mentoring of junior laboratory members and lab meetings.   When eligible, postdocs are also expected to develop proposals for independent funding opportunities, e.g., via federal agencies.

The successful applicant will join a thriving community of researchers in environmental and genomic sciences at the Nicholas School of the Environment (, the Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology, or GCB (, and the Duke Microbiome Center (  


WORK LOCATION:  Work takes place in Durham, NC.   We expect/hope the successful applicant to join us in person at Durham, we appreciate this is an evolving situation.  

START DATE: Summer 2021.

TERM:  Initial term of 12 mos, with the possibility of an additional 12 mos extension (24 mos total) contingent upon funding and performance.


Applicants should hold a PhD in bacterial genomics, computational biology, or a related field, obtained prior to start date.  Applicants must have strong computational skills and experience with evolutionary analysis of bacterial genomes.

How to Apply: 

 Interested individuals should send the following materials to 

•             CV

•             Names and email addresses of 3 references, including your Ph.D. advisor

•             A short cover letter describing your background and career goals

•             A brief statement of research interests and methodological skills

•             A sample research paper that exemplifies your qualifications for this specific position.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Contact Name: 
Jennifer Wernegreen
Contact Email:
Deadline to Apply: 
Saturday, April 30, 2022