First listed on: 27 August 2021

CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Insect Gut Microbiome Research


The Opportunity

  • Do you have a PhD in a relevant discipline area, such as Functional Genomics, Metagenomics, Systems Biology or similar?
  • Develop a framework for predictive functionality and designed interventions that can be applied more broadly across other species to produce beneficial outcomes for Australia
  • Join CSIRO – Australia’s leading scientific research organisation! 

CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years of relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of future leaders of the innovation system. 
The position will be part of the Microbiomes for One Systems Health - Future Science Platform (FSP). CSIRO FSPs address new scientific challenges for Australia.

The Microbiome FSP is developing new understanding of microbiome connectivity across the environment to human continuum and how system perturbations impact on microbiome functionality, diversity and systems health.  A key objective is to capture greater benefit from microbiome interactions through more informative and predictive frameworks for functionality and by targeted interventions. Capacity to directly manipulate microbiomes across hosts and environments will provide new opportunities for bio-based solutions to be developed and applied to improve host and environmental health and for increased benefit to plants, animals and humans.

The portfolio of research within the Microbiome FSP is focussed around new science that address; systems connectivity, predictive frameworks and deliberate Interventions through the application of multi-omic tools to analyse point and system level change and associated measures of functionality both within and across interconnected biomes. This includes integration and analysis of multi-layered data and use of empirical and/or statistical modelling.  The science portfolio of the FSP spans multiple CSIRO Business Units that address key focal areas that include; i) Environment, Soil & Plant Health, ii) Food Chain & Production ii) Diet, Gut and Health and iv) Optimized Industry & Urban Processes.
Insects play vital roles in ecological systems as environmental engineers and are increasingly important in industrial applications such as waste biotransformation. Gut microbiomes significantly impact the metabolic outputs, health and phenotypes of their insect hosts. Understanding microbiome acquisition and functionality is a crucial step towards designing deliberate interventions that will improve ecological and industrial outcomes.

This is an exciting opportunity for a CERC Fellow to exploit the experimental manipulability of insects and use integrated multi-omics to provide a clear view of the molecular mechanisms and functions that confer selective benefits to insect hosts as targets for maintenance or manipulation. The successful candidate will have access to managed colonies of a range of insect species of industrial, commercial, and ecological importance, including black soldier fly and dung beetles. This position will develop a generalisable framework for predictive functionality and designed interventions in one or more species that can be applied more broadly across other species to produce beneficial outcomes for Australia.

Your duties will include:

  • Designing and leading the experimental program, generate relevant multi-omics data and perform bioinformatics analyses to uncover insect microbiome assembly and functionality. 
  • Defining cross-system connectivity through exploring exchange of microbiome components between host and their environment.
  • Applying multi-omics techniques and bioinformatics to identify molecular mechanisms and functions that confer selective benefits to insect hosts as targets for maintenance or manipulation.
  • Establishing key insects as model systems for functional prediction and deliberate intervention.
  • Carry out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO that will, where possible, lead to novel and important scientific outcomes. 
  • Recognising and exploit opportunities for innovation and the generation of new theoretical perspectives, and progress opportunities for the further development or creation of new lines of research
  • Utilising design thinking methodology to plan and prepare research proposals, and apply impact methodology to research projects.

Location: Black Mountain, Canberra, ACT or Dutton Park, Brisbane, QLD
Salary: AU$88k - AU$96k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure: Specified term of 3 years
Reference: 76727

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as Functional Genomics, Metagenomics, Systems Biology, or a related field. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or full-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Demonstrated experience in host or microbial multi-omics data generation, particularly (meta)transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics, and bioinformatics analysis. 
  • Demonstrated ability to develop experimental plans, originality in solving problems and pursue innovative research approaches, including the ability & willingness to incorporate novel ideas and approaches into scientific investigations.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in bioinformatics, including in one or more scripting or programming languages.
  • Demonstrated ability to meet performance deadlines under minimal supervision, and to work effectively as part of a multi-disciplinary, regionally dispersed research team to achieve shared goals through cooperation.

For full details about this role please view the Position Description


To be eligible you must be an Australian/New Zealand Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or Australian temporary resident currently residing in Australia (visa sponsorship may be provided to eligible onshore candidates) and be able to commence employment by December 2021/January 2022.
The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent. Additional integrity checks may be required for specific roles which require security clearance for working with children, Australian Government cybersecurity requirements or other identified security roles.

Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. 

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit people representing the diversity across our society, and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. 


At CSIRO Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 

Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

How to Apply

Please apply on-line and provide a cover letter and CV that best demonstrate your motivation and ability to meet the requirements of this role.

Applications Close

23 September 2021, 11:00pm AEST

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