Job: Postdoctoral Fellow Cleves & Moi Lab

Department: EMB – Embryology

Salary: TBD

Location: Baltimore, MD


The Cleves Lab and The Moi Lab at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Embryology and Plant Biology seek an ambitious postdoctoral fellow interested in using genome-wide association approaches and CRISPR/Cas9 methods to identify and functionally test natural alleles associated with ecologically important traits in coral species. They will drive a collaborative project working closely with the Cleves lab and the Moi Lab. Specifically, the laboratory work of this postdoctoral position will be based in the Cleves lab at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Embryology in Baltimore, MD, with remote computational work to be conducted in close collaboration with the Moi lab at the Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology at Stanford, CA.

The Cleves Lab uses genetic, biochemical, and cell biology methods to understand the molecular and cellular bases of coral-algal symbiosis and why it breaks down due to stress. We use a variety of organisms from corals in the field to tractable model organisms in the lab (e.g., the small anemone, Aiptasia). Recently, we have developed CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out technology in reef-building corals offering an exciting opportunity to understand coral gene function for the first time. In addition to these genetic tools, we use a combination of single-cell RNAseq, genomics, proteomics, and state-of-the-art microscopy to understand the cell biology of these charismatic and ecologically important organisms.

The Moi Lab is focused on understanding the genetic basis of ecologically adaptive traits. Using statistical and evolutionary genetic approaches, we infer how natural selection by climate have shaped species genetic makeup and geographic distributions. Both of which are key to understanding species responses to climate change.

Position Details:

We seek a postdoc interested in applying modern genome-wide methods and advancing current CRISPR/Cas9 methods to identify and functionally test genomic regions of natural selection in coral populations. Because of the nature of the research, the ideal candidate would have experience in both genome-wide association studies and  in using genetic editing approaches in model or non-model organisms with an interest in cell and developmental biology. This position is currently fully funded for two years as a collaborative effort between the two Carnegie Labs.

Relevant papers:

  1. Cleves PA, Krediet CJ, Lehnert EM, Tinoco AI, Onishi M, Pringle JR. Insights into the mechanisms of coral bleaching from analysis of gene expression during heat stress in a sea-anemone model system. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 117(46): 28906-28917
  1. Cleves PA, Tinoco AI, Bradford J, Perrin D, Bay LK, Pringle JR. Reduced thermal tolerance in a coral carrying CRISPR-induced mutations in the gene for a heat-shock transcription factor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 117(46): 28899-28905
  1. Cleves PA, Shumaker A, Lee J, Putnam HM, Bhattacharya D.Unknown to known: advancing knowledge of coral gene function. Trends Genet. 36(2):93-104
  1. Cleves PA, Strader ME, Bay LK, Pringle JR, Matz MV. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing in a reef-building coral. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 115(20): 5235-5240
  1. Capblancq, T., M. C. Fitzpatrick, R. A. Bay, M. Exposito-Alonso, and S. R. Keller. Genomic Prediction of (Mal)Adaptation Across Current and Future Climatic Landscapes. Annual review of ecology, evolution, and systematics 51:245–269.
  1. Exposito-Alonso, M., 500 Genomes Field Experiment Team, H. A. Burbano, O. Bossdorf, R. Nielsen, and D. Weigel. Natural selection in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome in present and future climates. Nature 573:126–129.
  1. Exposito-Alonso, M., F. Vasseur, W. Ding, G. Wang, H. A. Burbano, and D. Weigel. Genomic basis and evolutionary potential for extreme drought adaptation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Nature ecology & evolution 2:352–358.

Please click below to apply. Applications must include:

  1. A cover letter highlighting past research and includes a proposed direction of post-doc research in our lab.
  2.  CV
  3.  A list of three references.

Informal inquiries and questions should be directed to Dr. Phillip Cleves at

About the research environment:

The Department of Embryology is one of six departments comprising the Carnegie Institution for Science. The department functions as a private, non-profit research institute affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University and is located adjacent to the JHU Homewood campus in Baltimore, MD. The Department consists of 10 laboratories studying a variety of questions in cell and developmental biology. For more information about the Department, visit

Additional Information:

Carnegie is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will receive consideration of employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristics protected by law.

At Carnegie, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community. We believe academic environments should be places where diverse groups of people with various viewpoints and ideas can thrive and work together. As such, we encourage applicants from under-represented groups and backgrounds to apply.