Job: Postdoctoral Fellow Position in systems biology of photosynthesis

Department: DPB – Plant Biology

Salary: $65,568

Location: Stanford, CA

Carnegie Institution for Science & Stanford University, California 94305, USA
1 year with potential extensions up to 3 years

Earliest starting date: November 1, 2021, flexible closing date: accepting applications until filled.


The Burlacot lab is opening on October 1, 2021 at the Department of Plant Biology of the Carnegie Institution for Science. We will start a scientific journey in the study of the molecular mechanisms that allow photosynthesis to be the major CO2 cycling mechanism in the atmosphere. We are seeking for a highly motivated and creative person to start developing new methods for understanding the response of algal photosynthesis to fluctuating environments. We aim to recruit highly motivated and creative people with strong training in quantitative biophysics/ photosynthesis/ algal biology. 

Our lab aims to understand the acclimation of photosynthesis to environmental fluctuations and the dynamics of the molecular mechanisms involved. The questions that our lab aims to address are: How are microalgae dynamically reacting to environmental fluctuations? How do molecular mechanisms of photosynthesis dynamically interact to optimise cell survival and growth under fluctuating conditions? How do the different time scales of photosynthetic energy transfers combine at various time scales of light fluctuations? What genes are important for acclimation to such fluctuations? Can we modify key enzymes to make photosynthesis more robust to some environments? 

Potential projects include the development of a new pipeline for unravelling the frequency response of microalgal mutants to light fluctuations or the development of new fluorescence methods for understanding the bioenergetics of the algal carbon concentration mechanism.  This position involves conducting research independently, working with large quantities of biophysical data, being involved in collaborative projects, preparing publications, and presenting research in scientific meetings. We prefer candidates interested in developing tools for linking bioenergetic mechanisms to algal physiology, who will be active members of the research community at the Carnegie Plant Biology and Global Ecology departments, and the Stanford Biology departments.

Equal Opportunity Employer:

Carnegie is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, disability, or any other protected status in accordance with applicable laws. We aim to have a vibrantly diverse lab, which is essential to tackle scientific questions from different creative angles. The main requirement for this position is that you are passionate about the topics above and are excited to work in a small lab environment with work and social interactions so please apply! 


  • PhD in Plant science, Microbiology, Biophysics or a related field.
  • Track record of research productivity and creativity. 
  • Willingness to take responsibilities in a small team and to interact closely with colleagues.
  • Willingness to take part in building a dynamic, inclusive and interactive lab atmosphere.
  • Willingness to develop synergistic interactions with other labs from the Carnegie Institution for Science and from Stanford University.
  • Programming skills: ability to develop and implement simple codes in Python and/or Mathlab to treat and analyse large data set automatically. 
  • A willingness to promote science through popularization and track record of previously taken actions are a plus.

Additional Information:

This is a full-time position with a competitive annual salary and benefits. The lab is located at the Carnegie Institution on the Stanford University campus. The initial position will be for one year with potential renewal of up to five years depending upon performance. 

The Department of Plant Biology of the Carnegie Institution for Science (formerly known as the Carnegie Institution of Washington) is a private endowment U.S.-based non-profit, located on the campus of Stanford University since 1928. Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1902 as an organization for scientific discovery to serve as a home to exceptional individuals – men and women – with imagination and extraordinary dedication capable of working at the cutting edge of their fields. Today, Carnegie scientists work in six scientific departments on the west and east coasts and at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Carnegie investigators have made key discoveries in plant biology, including early experiments of local adaptation (Clausen, Keck, Hiesey), the discovery of transposable elements (McClintock), plant ecophysiology at global scales (Berry, Field), the discovery of key photosynthesis and phototropism genes (Grossman, Briggs), or The Arabidopsis Information Resource TAIR (Rhee, Somerville). The Department of Plant Biology ( and Global Ecology ( have state-of-the-art facilities for molecular genetic studies of algae, photosynthesis measurements, and growing facilities. 


Informal inquiries about this position can be made by emailing Adrien Burlacot at To be formally considered, please include: (1) a cover letter, (2) CV, and (3) three referees to whom I can ask for a letter of recommendation. Please submit your application by clicking the blue “Apply Now” box below.