Cornell University, Institute of Biotechnology

Program ID:Cornell-Institute of Biotechnology-BUCKLERGENINFORA [#15954]
Program Title: Genomic Informatics Research Associate, ILCI and Buckler Lab Program
Program Type:Other
Location:Ithaca, New York 14853, United States [map]
Subject Areas: Cellular and Molecular Biology
Genetics / Plant Molecular Genetics
Plant Breeding
Animal Genomics (more...)
Appl Deadline:2020/04/02 11:59PMhelp popup (posted 2020/02/04, listed until 2020/04/02)

*** the list date or deadline for this program has passed, and no new applications is accepted. ***

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement (ILCI) and Buckler Lab at Cornell University are hiring an applied genomic informatician and coordinator.

ILCI is a USAID supported integrated research and delivery program with multidisciplinary expertise at the cutting edge of agricultural development, from plant breeding and machine learning to quantitative genetics and gender inclusion. Based at Cornell University, the project supports national breeding programs in East and West Africa, South Asia and Latin America and will serve as a model for introducing advanced agricultural technologies at scale to countries around the world.

The Buckler Lab with the Institute for Genomic Diversity uses functional genomic approaches to dissect complex traits in grasses, cassava, and a wide range of other crops. We use the natural diversity of plant genomes to identify the individual DNA changes responsible for complex trait (quantitative) variation. While we start with natural variation and learn from evolution, we leverage every high-tech, cutting-edge approach available to measure and understand diversity. We are conducting research on comparative genomics, chromatin structure, gene expression, protein levels, metabolites, and robotically collected field-based phenotypes. Our group integrates these data with a combination of computational biology, machine learning, and statistical approaches.

This position will lead the deployment of genomics and genotyping platforms (i.e. working with existing service providers) for a wide range of crops including cassava, maize, sorghum, tubers, and legumes. The application of genomic selection has, until recently, mostly focused on major crops and livestock, but the technologies are allowing all species and breeding programs to take advantage of it. The thoughtful integration of genomic selection can accelerate breeding efforts to increase the rate of genetic gain and create novel healthy, nutritious, and sustainable crops for many markets globally.

The Genomic Informatician will need advanced genomic skills to design, develop, analyze, and support different genomic datasets and facilitate the deployment of the data to breeders across the world. This person will be responsible for defining the reference assembly strategy, whole-genome sequencing, and genotyping approaches and contracts with vendors. The incumbent will also participate in weekly meetings and annual visits.

The Ithaca-based Genomic Informatics RA will be a highly visible person central to the success of ILCI and the Buckler lab breeding efforts. The ILCI and Buckler lab integrate a team of breeders (global) with a software development team (based in Ithaca).

This position is a two-year term appointment with the possibility of extension contingent on continued funding and successful performance. The USAID ILCI is funded for five years with avenues for an extension.


Characteristic Duties and Responsibilities/Anticipated Division of Time


Implements genomic data processing pipelines to optimize marker design, create new assemblies, and analyze natural variation. 40%


Coordinates with breeders in Africa, Asia, and the Americas to understand their breeding objectives, genotyping needs, and manage project deliverables. 20%


Work with PIs and breeders to develop genomic breeding strategies, specify use-cases that clearly spell out the computational and interface requirements of the breeders, and form project plans to develop key capabilities and integrate genomic data into the breeding programs. 10%


Overall, combines these communications into a regular process coordinated with the development cycle implemented by the software team to ensure a well-defined roadmap of new methods and features. 15%


In collaboration with team members and breeders, designs and helps execute evaluation experiments and follow-up analyses and publications. 15%



This person will be recruited based on core competency in several different areas, including high-throughput genotyping, long-read assembly, sample tracking, bioinformatics, and project management. Above all, the coordinator must have demonstrated exceptional communication skills.

A PhD in the field of genomics, molecular breeding, plant or animal genetics, biological informatics, quantitative genetics or related field and three years’ postdoctoral or equivalent post PhD experience is required. Experience with multiple crops or animals, and experience working with diverse teams are preferred. Knowledge of the use of information technology in genotypic data collection methods are beneficial.

Supervision Exercised

No supervisory responsibilities.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

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