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Postdoctoral Fellowship in Algal Biofuels

Graduate & Postdoc
Expiration Date: 

The Cardinale lab at the University of Michigan has an opening for a Postdoctoral Fellow to work on a new U.S. Department of Energy grant that brings together ecologists, chemical engineers, and automotive engineers to work on the development of designer biofuels that improve the performance of algal biofuel systems ( The goal of this project is to use principles from ecological engineering to design algal feedstocks that have higher yields, improved stability, and optimal chemical properties for catalytic upgrading and combustion in diesel engines. The ecological portion of the project will involve large-scale growth experiments in outdoor raceway ponds, producing measurements that can be used to parameterize life-cycle and techno-economic analysis that quantify improvements in feedstock properties. Feedstocks will subsequently be used by project collaborators that include chemical engineer Dr. Phil Savage – an expert in the conversion of feedstocks to biocrude, chemical engineer Levi Thompson – an expert in catalytic upgrading of biocrude, and mechanical engineer Andre Boehman – an expert in fuel formulation for diesel engines.

This is a great opportunity for postdoctoral researcher to work at the intersection of ecology and engineering, using principles of biology to design and improve applications of an engineered system. The successful candidate will be expected to lead the field-based experiments and one or both of the subsequent analyses. S/he will also be given the liberty to pursue additional topics of interest that relate to the broader goals of the project.

The Cardinale lab is in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan ( UM was recently ranked 15th on the Times Higher Education’s list of the world’s top 200 universities, and has a top-ranked graduate program in the environmental sciences. Ann Arbor is also routinely ranked as one of the best places to live in the U.S. (see Money’s list of America’s Best Small Cities) due to its affordability, natural beauty, preservation of wooded areas, vibrant arts program, and lively downtown landscape.

Qualifications. The position requires Ph.D. in a relevant field of the biological sciences or engineering, strong quantitative and empirical skills, and good record of scholarly publication. The ideal candidate should be comfortable working in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment, which requires excellent written and oral communication skills.

Compensation. The salary is $50K per year and comes with benefits at the University of Michigan. The initial appointment is for one-year, with continuation for a second year contingent on first-year success.

To apply. Applicants should collate the following items into a single PDF: (1) a cover letter, (2) a curriculum vitae, (3) contact information for three references, and (4) two representative publications. The PDF application should be emailed by December 15, 2018 to:

Bradley Cardinale, Professor and Director

Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research

School for Environment and Sustainability

University of Michigan


The University of Michigan is a Non-Discriminatory/ Affirmative Action Employer.
Individuals from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.