The Microbiology of Managed Ecosystems Lab is recruiting a PhD student to conduct research into the biology of microorganisms that consume plant-derived aromatics and their role in the soil priming effect. The student will learn and practice (i) methods for cultivating and characterizing aromatic degrading microbes, (ii) profiling biological systems using ‘omics’ data, and (iii) using bioinformatics tools to expand on findings using public datasets. This is an opportunity to explore the biology, ecology, and evolution of an important group of free-living and endophytic bacteria in the terrestrial environment. Experience in microbiology, plant sciences, bioinformatics, data visualization, and writing are assets.

Personal development is valued and will be supported with teaching, conferences, and outreach opportunities as well as customized development planning. We value a diversity of lived experiences and opinions, a collaborative work environment, and a test-fail-learn-repeat mindset. Liquid handling robots and student support are available to complement physical needs.

There are several different directions this research can move forward, playing to the strengths of a candidate. The following are study systems and collaborations involved in this project:

Study systems

  • greenhouse (Arabidopsis, poplar, maple; phenotyping facility)
  • field (forest)
  • bacterial genetics
  • in silico

Collaborations / Applications

The lab is led by Dr. Roland Wilhelm. To apply, please send a resume and a short cover letter to before April 10th, 2022. In your letter, please describe your interest in topics related to the proposed research. The ideal start date is September 1st, 2022 (flexible).

Application deadline:
Start date: Open until filled
Location: Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN