The laboratory of Pat Schloss at the University of Michigan Medical School is seeking diverse candidates for postdoctoral research positions in the area of human microbiome research to start in early to mid 2020. We currently have NIH funding to support ongoing work related to identifying microbiome-based biomarkers of colorectal cancer in several human cohorts. Two recent examples of our work in this area can be found here and here.
The funded project and other projects related to the role of the gut microbiota in colonic tumorigenesis will provide a number of opportunities to expand the training of traditional bench or computational scientists. The projects offer the ability to integrate clinical and sequence data to solve important biomedical problems. Each project has a strong collaboration with clinicians who welcome trainees to shadow them as they meet with and treat patients. This has helped past trainees to obtain a better appreciation for the clinical challenges we are trying to address in our research. Although our projects heavily rely on bioinformatics, statistical, and machine learning tools, there is no expectation that the successful candidates would have significant prior experience in these areas. We extend significant effort into training bench scientists to incorporate computational skills. Our research group is co-located with other groups who are major players in the Michigan Microbiome Project and have considerable interest in the role of the human microbiome in human health and disease. This makes for many opportunities to collaborate with and learn from colleagues. We have also collaborated with microbiome researchers across campus.
Beyond the training specific to our research questions, there are numerous other training opportunities. Each year, Pat reviews an updated version of each trainee’s Individual Development Plan to reassess the overlap between the trainee’s career goals and their research and career development activities. To facilitate this, members of our research group are encouraged to participate in the University of Michigan’s Carpentries organization and similar organizations including Girls Who Code, DANG!, and the Ann Arbor R Users Group. The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), and Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) also offer opportunities for further training to develop skills related to transitioning to independent research careers. Through previous trainees and collaborations, we have an excellent network of contacts with careers in academia, industry, non-profit, and government research environments.
Our research group values the contributions of all of its members to facilitate collaboration, peer-to-peer training, and mentoring. This requires working with mutual respect by following a laboratory social contract and taking on a growth mindset. You are encouraged to check out Pat’s biography page to get a sense of his approach to science and mentoring.
If all of this sounds interesting to you, then Pat wants to hear from you! Please forward to Pat (firstname.lastname@example.org) a cover letter expressing your interest, an academic CV, a PDF copy of your preprint or published paper that you are most proud of, and the names and contact information for two references. It would also be helpful for you to indicate when you would be available to start a postdoctoral position.