The Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing & Biotechnology (IGBB) ( )at Mississippi State University (MS State) was founded in 2011 to increase the ability of Mississippi scientists to lead high-throughput, multi-disciplinary projects focused on understanding the biomolecular interactions underlying the diversity, value, and sustainability of species of agricultural, medical, bioenergy, and/or ecological importance.  The IGBB provides researchers access to a team of highly-skilled professionals trained in cutting edge genomics, proteomics, and high performance computing principles and techniques.  The IGBB team not only generates molecular data using state-of-the-art equipment, but works with investigators to efficiently derive biological knowledge from that data. IGBB is a member of the High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HPC²), an evolution of the MSU NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Computational Field Simulation, at Mississippi State University. HPC², whose computing capability is ranked as the 4th fastest academic system in the U.S., is a coalition of member institutes and centers that share a common core objective of advancing the state-of-the-art in computational science and engineering using high performance computing; a common approach to research that embraces a multi-disciplinary, team-oriented concept; and a commitment to a full partnership between education, research, and service. The soil microbial ecology lab, housed in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, maintains a full complement of DNA extraction and preparation equipment as well as the capability for core soil and microbiological characterization. In addition, the lab draws on close collaboration with professional soil classifiers and crop consultants.

In the past few decades, integrating crop-livestock systems have been considered an important systems-based approach to improve soil health for increasing fertility and increase carbon sequestration. The aim of related efforts in southeastern USA have been made to the development of principles for sustainable agricultural systems that impart critical environmental benefits. The key connection between animal and crop systems is through the use of winter cover crops, which provide benefits to the soil relative to crop production and forage to grazing livestock. The linkage which is central to the development of these integrated systems is the soil microbiome. The graduate student in this position will have the opportunity to advance the application of soil microbial ecology in agricultural systems using metagenomics in the context of a recently established, large-scale field experiment. The student’s research will focus on the effects of cover crops, grazing and tillage on the composition and diversity of the soil microbiome; characterization of the active microbiome and evaluation of its functional diversity; analysis of the environmental factors influencing microbial niche differentiation and networks; and identification of promising plant-growth promoting inoculants.

Annual stipend:



Full tuition fee and insurance benefits paid

Description of Qualifications:

Bachelor’s degree in Soil or Crop Science, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Microbial Ecology, or other closely related field. The lab seeks a highly motivated student with experience preferred in one or more of the following: basic microbiology, environmental microbiology, microbial ecology, molecular biology, as well as DNA/RNA extraction and PCR techniques. Bioinformatics or work with sequence data is also an asset. The ideal candidate will be passionate about science and sustainable agriculture and have strong interests in microbiology, molecular biology and/or microbial ecology. This candidate must have good communication, organization and interpersonal skills.

Date position will be available:


For additional information contact:

Dr. Shankar Ganapathi Shanmugam, email:

For consideration for the position, email the following to Dr. Ganapathi Shanmugam:

• CV and academic transcripts (scanned copies acceptable)

• Cover letter describing background and research interests

• GRE and TOEFL (if English is not native language)

Application deadline: Open until filled
Start date: ASAP
Location: Mississippi State university,Starkville, USA