Visiting Research Specialist-Agricultural & Biological Engineering



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Job description

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences & Grainger College of Engineering

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

WE TRANSFORM LIVES. Everything we do is designed to improve the quality of life of the people of the state of Illinois, across the nation, and around the world. We discover, develop, translate, and disseminate knowledge to address societal concerns and train the next generation of experts and leaders in a way that empowers them to expand the boundaries of science to higher levels of understanding and influence.

Be a part of our story. The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) is part the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), as well as the Grainger College of Engineering (GCOE).

This Department of Energy sponsored project aims to discover targets for improving photosynthetic efficiency in sorghum to sustainably increase productivity. Our approach involves the development of new high-throughput tools for characterizing transcription factors in vivo and integration of physiological and genomic datasets to understand the regulation of photosynthesis.

The primary responsibility of the Visiting Research Specialist is to conduct molecular, logistical, laboratory, and field research with a team of scientists developing new high-throughput technologies to identify transcription factor targets in crops.


1. Lab-based research activities (60%)

  • Maintain a steady supply of plant materials for transcription factor assays (growth chamber)
  • Supply and stock commonly consumed lab materials (bacterial plate, competent cells, general use reagents)
  • Provide technical support for cloning, Western blots, and HPLC sample preparation

2. Plant cultivation (30%)

  • Conduct field work (planting and monitoring at the Energy Farm)
  • Conduct physiological measurements in Greenhouse and Field settings and analyze data for presentation

3. General/Administrative

  • Maintain an accurate and current list of lab and data inventory
  • Organize and participate in bi-weekly group meetings
  • Contribute to internal and external project websites
  • Work collaboratively with all members of the team as a respectful and engaged colleague



Required:  Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology, Bioengineering, Plant Biotechnology, Plant Sciences, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Agronomy, Crop Sciences, or closely related field.

Required: 2+ years of molecular biology lab experience, 1+ years of data management.

Preferred: Research experience with plants (both
field and chamber); Experience cultivating sorghum and/or other plants; Experience with aseptic plant tissue;
Understanding of LICOR instrumentation and plant physiology.

Training, Licenses or Certifications:

Required: Hold or be able to hold a US Driver’s License; Biosafety and general lab safety trainings (can be completed upon hiring).

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
Highly Organized, detail-oriented, and ability to multi-task
Ability to work in a team as well as independently
Effective verbal and written communication skills
Proficient in standard computer software (Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook)

Environmental Demands:
Some work could be required at non-standard times (i.e., early morning, evening, weekend, and overnights). When working, the employee may be exposed to a variety of environmental factors to include, but not limited to, hot or cold weather, exposure to noise and allergens, various heights, and uneven ground.

Appointment Information: The starting date is negotiable and compensation is commensurate with experience and qualifications. This is a 100%, 12-month, Visiting Academic Professional position. This position may become non-visiting at a later time dependent upon funding and programmatic needs.

The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations portal, or by contacting the Accessibility & Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity at 217-333-0885, or by emailing [email protected].

Requisition ID: 1015028

Job Category: Research

How to apply

Apply at:

Applications must be received by 6:00 pm (CST) on February 26, 2023. Apply for this position using the Apply Now button at the top or bottom of this posting. Applications not submitted through will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, please contact Samantha Hurt, [email protected]. For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. The administration, faculty and staff embrace diversity and are committed to attracting qualified candidates who also embrace and value diversity and inclusivity.

We serve the state, the nation, and the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and addressing critical societal needs through the transfer and application of knowledge.