Conservation Genomics, Chicago Botanic Garden

Published by Cori VanGalder on

Conservation Genomics, Chicago Botanic Garden

About us: The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Negaunee Institute for Plant Conservation Science and Action is a global leader in plant-based research, education, and engagement to sustain and enrich life. Based in the Chicago metropolitan area, one of the largest, and most racially diverse cities in North America, the Garden opened 50 years ago as a beautiful place to visit, and it has matured into one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers.  The Garden’s mission is grounded in the belief that caring for gardens and natural areas is fundamentally important to the well-being of everyone. The Garden strives to make its campuses and all its programs available and accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. We value diversity in all its forms and at every level of our organization – board, staff, volunteers, and vendors. Through the diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, the Garden is more effectively able to create extraordinary and welcoming experiences for our increasingly diverse audiences. We are committed to ensuring a sense of belonging to every individual we encounter, regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, intellectual ability, or economic status.

Position Overview: We seek to hire an assistant scientist to join the Garden’s Negaunee Institute for Plant Conservation Science and Action ( We are seeking a full-time, career-track scientist who uses genomics and bioinformatics tools to answer questions relevant to conservation and/or restoration. Research interests in any area of genomics, including but not limited to biogeography, community genomics, environmental genomics, evolution, fungal/microbial genomics, phylogenomics or systematics. The successful candidate will join a highly collaborative group of scientists focused on addressing key conservation challenges. In addition to conducting research, the successful candidate will serve as faculty in our joint Plant Biology and Conservation graduate program with Northwestern University and will be expected to mentor, assist and train students in using genomic and bioinformatic tools. All scientists at the Garden are expected to assist with education programs including internship programs, community engagement and service activities where appropriate.

The preferred start date is early 2023 but can be flexible.


  1. RESEARCH: (Estimated time commitment: ~40%)
  • Conduct genomic and bioinformatic research that has conservation or restoration implications.
  • Obtain external funding to support their research programs.
  • Disseminate results through scientific publications and presentations as well as broader communication venues that target groups such as policy makers, land managers, and the public.

  1. EDUCATION: (Estimated time commitment: ~30%)
  • Mentor students from diverse backgrounds at a variety of academic levels.
  • This will include serving as an advisor or committee member for 
  • Participation in team-teaching a Northwestern University introductory graduate course in field and lab methods (2-3 class sessions in fall); teaching an upper-level undergraduate or graduate level course in the candidate’s area of expertise is encouraged (each class is 9 weeks).

  1. INSTITUTIONAL SERVICE: (Estimated time commitment: ~20%)
  • Assist in the management of the departmental bioinformatics server
  • Contribute to Garden and departmental initiatives. These include 
    • Provide genomic and bioinformatic support to staff and students for research and applied projects at the Garden.
    • As a public-facing institution, scientists are expected to participate in science interpretation efforts or other Garden initiatives depending on the candidate’s interest and skills. This can include various activities, including assistance with the interpretation of displays, science festivals, and/or program development. 
    • Work collaboratively with department faculty, and other Garden departments (Learning and Engagement, Horticulture, Collections, Communications, and Visitor Services).

  1. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: (Estimated time commitment: ~10%)
  • Contribute to the department’s education, engagement, and/or community science activities.
  • Help synthesize research, communicate science, and/or develop policy and conservation practice.
  • Develop collaborations with conservation institutions and agencies.

Qualifications and Desirable traits: PhD or equivalent, in biology, ecology, evolution, botany, environmental science, mycology, or related area. We seek a candidate with strong genomics and bioinformatics skills with experience in generating, managing and analyzing genomics data, synthesizing large datasets, and versed in a wide range of statistical approaches. As one strength of this institution is the collaborative environment which allows us to take an interdisciplinary approach to applied conservation issues, we seek a candidate who has a record of engaging in a collaborative approach to their research program. As a scientist based at a public-facing institution, in addition to competency in publishing their research in scientific journals, we value experience in engaging scientific discourse that is accessible to the general public. Excellent communication skills. Interest and commitment to seeing research results applied to conservation or restoration. Commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. Teaching, mentoring, and project/grant management experience desired. We highly value people who are enthusiastic about science communication, cultural competency, and building/maintaining community partnerships.

To Apply: Please go to to apply. In addition to the Garden application materials, please submit 1) a cover letter; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) a statement on current and proposed future research interests, which should include a statement on conservation or restoration implications of your research (1-2 pgs); 4) a representative publication;  5) mentoring and teaching experience and philosophy (max 1 pg); 6) statement on how you can contribute to the Garden’s diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility goals (max 1 pg); and 7) contact information for three references.  The review of applications begins October 1, 2022, and will continue until a suitable candidate is hired.  Contact Jeremie Fant at with any questions.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX Coordinator should you have questions or concerns.

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