Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Apply now Job no: 497650
Work type: Non-Classified/Professional
Location: Boise, ID
Categories: Research, College of Arts & Sciences

About Us:

Boise State University, powered by creativity and innovation, stands uniquely positioned in the Northwest as a metropolitan research university of distinction. Learn more about Boise State and the City of Boise at

Boise State University is building an inclusive community of faculty and staff whose unique skills, cultural contributions, work history, and perspectives create a rich and rewarding academic experience for our students. Research demonstrates that people thrive when they feel welcome, respected, and inspired. We seek applicants who are committed to helping us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. Applications from members of historically marginalized groups, including women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), those with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, those who have served in the military, and members of other underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged.

Job Summary/Function:

A postdoctoral research position is available in Dr. Leonora Bittleston’s lab ( funded by a recent Simons Foundation Early Career Award in Aquatic Microbial Ecology and Evolution. The successful applicant will work with a collaborative team using ecological principles to investigate coexistence in aquatic microbial communities. The position is based in the Department of Biological Sciences at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho.

Funding is available for 2 years; the candidate will initially be hired for one year with the possibility for renewal for a second year based on performance. This position is eligible for relocation reimbursement. The start date is flexible, but preference will be given to candidates who can start in the summer of 2023.

The postdoc will be responsible for designing and conducting experiments testing how different ecological mechanisms influence coexistence in aquatic microbial communities. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to shape their own projects, using a large library of bacterial strains isolated from pitcher plant habitats and existing genomic data. We aim to uncover principles of microbiome assembly and coexistence that enable the persistence of complex, species-rich microbial communities, and to decipher how the functions of these communities impact their ecosystems. Potential experiments may manipulate resource complexity, predation, phylogenetic diversity and/or environmental structure, variability, and fluctuations. The project will also include a simulation-based modeling component to compare predicted diversity patterns from theory with empirical results.

The postdoc will be located in Dr. Leonora Bittleston’s lab at Boise State University but will receive co-mentorship from Dr. Lauren Shoemaker ( at the University of Wyoming, with opportunities to spend time in Dr. Shoemaker’s lab for additional training in modeling and ecological statistics.

The Bittleston and Shoemaker labs are dedicated to creating inclusive and equitable environments where all members feel safe and supported in all aspects of their identity. We recognize that science, academia, and our society are improved by integration of diverse perspectives, and we encourage applicants from underrepresented groups to apply. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to open and inclusive working environments.

Applicants who apply before 6/19 will be given preference for the first round of interviews.


Serves in a temporary position that enables an individual with their Ph.D. to continue their training as a researcher and gain skills and experience that will prepare them for their research career in academia or elsewhere. As a postdoc, the position can perform mostly independent research, collaborate on a multi-scholar research initiative, or even may have lead responsibility for discrete components of a larger research project or program, all while under the general direction of a senior or principal researcher

Level Scope:

After earning a Ph.D., the next step in the academic or research career path is often a postdoc. A postdoc is a continuation of a researcher’s training that enables them to further their professional development and start to transition from student to independent researcher. Postdocs also often take additional leadership or teaching responsibilities in their laboratory or department. These positions are usually two to three years and it is not unusual for a researcher to do more than one postdoc.

Essential Functions:

60% of Time the Postdoctoral Research Fellow

  • Conduct experiments in aquatic microbial ecology and evolution using strains previously isolated from pitcher plants.
  • Explore mechanisms promoting coexistence within microbial communities.
  • Build species-rich synthetic microbiomes.
  • Analyze, interpret, document, and prepare research findings from this work for review and publication in top-tier scientific journals.
  • Develop outreach materials and present results.
  • Mentor and train graduate and undergraduate students.

35% of Time the Postdoctoral Research Fellow may:

  • Problem-solve research challenges and model development, as applicable.
  • Contribute discrete components of additional projects, under the general direction of the principal researcher or collaborators.
  • Prepare complete documentation of research activities for reference purposes, including following applicable data management protocols.
  • Compare actual and expected results and suggest solutions to correct the deviations.
  • Evaluate existing research or modeling techniques and recommend improvements to ensure quality and productivity.
  • Assist in the preparation of additional proposals and reports.
  • Potentially assist in teaching classes.

5% of Time the Postdoctoral Research Fellow

  • Travel for additional training or to present scientific results.
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:


  • A Ph.D. in ecology, evolution, microbiology, or a closely related field.
  • A strong experimental background, including experience with controlled laboratory experiments, microbial culturing, quantitative methods, R, and DNA or RNA-based bioinformatics
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, a strong work ethic, a record of publication and leadership, and a proven ability to work independently.
  • Scientific writing skills demonstrated through peer-reviewed publications
  • Critical eye toward consistency, reproducibility, and attention to detail
  • Excellent project and time management skills
  •  Strong interpersonal, mentoring, and communication skills
  • Advocate for safety and ethics in the workplace
  • Boise State University embraces and welcomes diversity in its faculty, student body, and staff. Accordingly, applicants who would add to the diversity of our academic community are encouraged to apply.
  • The selected candidate must be able to meet eligibility requirements for work in the United States at the time the appointment is scheduled to begin and to continue working legally for the proposed term of the appointment.


  • Experience with community ecology theory and analyses
Minimum Qualifications:

Requires a minimum of a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree in a relevant discipline.

Preferred Qualifications:

Experience with community ecology theory and analyses
Salary and Benefits:

Annual Salary of $62,000. This position is eligible for relocation reimbursement. Boise State University is committed to offering a benefits package that provides health and financial protection plans as well as resources to promote health and well-being. Our program provides flexibility so you can choose the benefits that are right for you and your family. Learn more about our benefit options at

Required Application Materials:
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Cover Letter
  • Contact Information of Three (3) Professional References



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