Postdoctoral Researcher

San Francisco, CA

Come join a team dedicated to the Academy’s mission, vision and values! Currently, the Academy has a new strategic plan including three initiatives – Hope for Reefs, Thriving California, and Resilient Islands – that leverage biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement to regenerate fragile ecosystems around the world. Learn more at

We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and we know they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every one of the qualifications for the position.

The position is currently hybrid in-person/remote and can change as business needs warrant. The candidate must easily be able to work onsite at the museum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco when needed. Candidates are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination, including receiving a booster shot, as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Individuals receiving a conditional offer of employment f

A postdoctoral research position is available to conduct research on the symbiont community ecology and dynamics of host colonization for a bioluminescent symbiosis at the California Academy of Sciences. The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Alison Gould and will work closely in collaboration with Dr. Tadashi Fukami at Stanford University as well as the other research scientists within the Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability (IBSS) and the Steinhart Aquarium. This is a temporary, one-year position with the possibility of renewal for up to two years, contingent upon research progress. The postdoc will conduct original research for an NIH-funded project investigating a bioluminescent symbiosis between a coral reef fish and luminous bacterium with the goal of characterizing the ecological dynamics of host colonization, the resulting symbiont community composition, and its effects on the symbiosis. As part of this project, the candidate will contribute to the development of biological and genomic collections at the California Academy of Sciences. Additionally, public outreach and youth mentorship through established programs at the Academy will be a component of the position. Applicants with expertise in microbial ecology will be given full consideration; however, preference will likely be given to candidates with experience with host-microbe interactions, bacterial transformations, and/or fluorescent microscopy.

We are committed to ensuring diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion are intrinsic to Academy culture and operations, from recruitment and retention to science and advocacy. Explore Our Commitment to Racial Equity to learn about our intentional engagement of traditionally excluded groups in an effort to spark interest in or foster pathways to scientific careers.


  • Conduct original, scientific research with Drs. Alison Gould and Tadashi Fukami (Stanford University) on the ecological dynamics that shape the symbiont community composition of a bioluminescent vertebrate-bacteria 
  • Publish and present results in scientific journals and at national and international meetings, and contribute to grant proposals
  • Contribute to and participate in educational, public, and development programs of the Academy
  • Follow all Academy regulations with respect to collections, safety and other institutional guidelines.
  • Other duties as assigned


A qualified candidate will possess a combination of the following experience and/or equivalent education:

  • Proficiency with computer software used for scientific data analysis and statistics, as well as Google apps, Microsoft Office, etc
  • Research expertise in microbial ecology and bacterial genetics
  • Experience working in a laboratory environment with proper safety precautions preferred
  • Experience mentoring students and youth from underrepresented groups in STEM
  • Doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in a relevant discipline, with all requirements completed by the starting date of the postdoctoral position 


  • Ability to conduct original and creative scientific research
  • Strong academic record with peer-reviewed publications
  • Experience and training in microbiology
  • Knowledge of and experience with bacterial transformations and strain engineering 
  • Experience extracting DNA and building NGS libraries
  • Demonstrated interest in science communication/outreach
  • Ability to read and write documents such as scientific papers, safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals
  • Ability to speak effectively before groups or individuals 

WORK ENVIRONMENT: Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to meet the job’s essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, walk, and communicate on the phone, in person, and online. Must be able to perform repetitive motions 50% of the time and transport 50 lbs. The employee will be required to work in a laboratory, handle chemicals, and comply with safety regulations. Must be able to work in hot and humid conditions and travel by plane.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Please upload your resume and complete the brief online application.

The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.


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