Join our Team

Join Our Team


Research Technicians 

The Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) at the University of Illinois is hiring several research technicians to assist the RIPE project. Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit

Crop Transformation Facility (CTF) Positions 

Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) is a project that aims to improve photosynthesis to equip farmers worldwide with higher-yielding crops to ensure everyone has enough food to lead a healthy and productive life. RIPE is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, and the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office who are committed to ensuring Global Access and making the project’s technologies available to the farmers who need them the most.

As RIPE moves an increasing number of transgenic traits from model to crop systems, our capacity for crop transformation needs to increase. To meet this, a new state-of-the-art facility, Crop Transformation Facility (CTF), has been built on the University of Illinois Research Park. We are now searching to expand our qualified staff committed to the public-good objectives of RIPE.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit

Below are five job positions that we are looking for. If you have any questions, please contact the RIPE Senior Project Manager, Lisa Emerson, at

Crop Transformation Facility (CTF) Construct Assembly Technician 

Successful candidates will be working on the construction and validation of plasmids for plant transformation. Required skills expected of candidates include knowledge of molecular cloning, PCR, lab documentation, excellent organizational skills, excellent communication skills, and ability to prioritize multiple tasks effectively. It is preferred that candidates also have knowledge of electronic lab notebooks (Benchling), Sanger sequencing/sequence alignments, and automation techniques.

You can apply for this position here

Crop Transformation Facility (CTF) Soybean/Tobacco Transformation Technician 

The successful candidate for this position will be responsible for the conduction of plant transformations in soybean and/or tobacco. Required experiences include aseptic laboratory technique and sterile handling. Technicians are also required to have knowledge of DNA isolation and PCR. 

You can apply for this position here.

Crop Transformation Facility (CTF) Soybean Pipeline Sub-Manager/Lab Manager 

The appointee will serve as the sub-manager directly under the CTF transformation Pipeline Manager. This position will be responsible for managing the CTF lab, have direct oversight of the soybean transformation pipeline, oversee the transformation activities of the Soybean Transformation Technician(s), conduct the transformation and regeneration of soybean, and assist with tobacco transformation as needed.

You can apply for this position here

Crop Transformation Facility (CTF) Tobacco Pipeline Sub-Manager

The appointee will serve as the sub-manager directly under the CTF Transformation Pipeline Manager. This position will be responsible for the direct oversight of the tobacco transformation pipeline, oversee the transformation activities of the Tobacco Transformation Technician(s), conduct the transformation and regeneration of tobacco, and assist with soybean transformation as needed. 

You can apply for this position here.

Crop Transformation Facility (CTF) Transformation Pipeline Manager 

The CTF Transformation Pipeline Manager will serve as Manager and Research Developer for the CTF pipeline of transformations in tobacco and soybean. They will research the viability of CRISPR gene editing as a means to up-regulate the expression of key photosynthetic genes. They will also train and supervise a team of technicians and undergraduates in construct development, genetic transformation, regeneration of plants through greenhouse culture, and provide confirmation of transformation through sequencing and expression analysis.

You can apply for this position here.

Postdoctoral Researchers

A postdoctoral position is available in the laboratory of Dr. Laurie Leonelli to pioneer innovation in the field of photosynthesis engineering. 

This position offers a range of opportunities that include characterization of chloroplast proteomes, biochemical and structural studies of key enzymes involved in energy cycling, and exploration in crop genomics. 

The ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. in a relevant field, experience in molecular biology and/or biochemistry, and an eager willingness to learn and apply new techniques. Experience with photosynthesis is a plus. This position is highly cross-disciplinary in nature and a strong spirit of collaboration is expected. 

Expectations and Duties:

  • Performing thoughtfully designed experiments independently

  • Participation in lab meetings and journal club

  • Mentorship of junior lab members

  • Publishing in peer-reviewed journals

  • Contribution to general laboratory maintenance 

To apply for this position, submit your CV, a cover letter summarizing your interest and qualifications, and contact information for three professional references to Dr. Leonelli at Review of applications will begin February 19th. Questions about this opportunity may be addressed to Dr. Leonelli. 


RIPE Communications Manager

The Communications Manager is a key member of the RIPE project administrative team and is responsible for the project’s strategic communications which promote our research successes and increases project visibility with the RIPE team, sponsors, media, the plant science community, governmental agencies, and the general public. 

This position will develop and implement a comprehensive communications strategy for multiple research projects. This strategy will build both national and international recognition amongst the scientific community, the general public, and funding agencies.

You can apply for this position here.

Illinois Summer Fellows

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Illinois Summer Fellows (ISF) program brings first and second-year students studying biological sciences at the University of Oxford to the University of Illinois to contribute to plant science research throughout the summer months, generally from the beginning of July through the third week of September. Fellows work alongside a postdoctoral researcher mentor to support larger research projects, like RIPE, that are working toward increasing food and bioenergy production. Learn more about the program and how to apply. 

2021 ISF Program COVID-19 Updates

The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has commenced and welcomes optimism for what our future holds. However, we must continue to be as diligent as ever in adhering to safety precautions. 

With this said, we are sad to announce that the ISF program for 2021 is canceled. We will not be accepting any ISF applications for this year, however, we look forward to when it is safer for everyone to meet together again. We hope that we can resume our program in 2022. More information for the 2022 ISF program is to come. 

Thank you in advance for your understanding as we work through this next phase of the pandemic. 

If you are interested in joining a specific lab on the project, we encourage you to reach out to the lab's principal investigator directly to inquire about future openings. If you need help identifying a lab that aligns with your skills and interests, please contact us.