2021.09.16 : Join us! Fully Funded Ph.D Position

We invite you to join us for a fully-funded Ph.D position in Plant Biology!

Our agricultural system is under strain from extreme weather conditions, new pests, and herbicide resistance weeds. This creates challenges for getting food onto your plate, with the potential to increase grocery prices and worsen socioeconomic disparities. The Burgess Lab is committed to social justice by creating a sustainable ecosystem for future generations, while building a more equitable and inclusive research environment through mentoring, outreach and training the next generation of scientists.  

We are looking for you to help us further our mission by pioneering the development of cutting edge tools for continuous directed evolution of proteins. Inspired by the Nobel Prize winning work of Prof. Frances Arnold, you will take technological developments in synthetic biology and apply these to photosynthetic organisms. This work has the potential to revolutionize development of climate resilient crops or facilitate the development of green chemistry by creating enzymes with improved performance.

By joining the Burgess Lab, you will be welcomed into a vibrant international team; we believe science should be fun, and while working hard we practice self-care and strive to maintain a good work-life balance. For more information about life in the lab and work policies, please check out our Lab manual. In addition, you will be become a valued member of the wider UIUC Plant Biology community, which includes frequent social events run by the Plant Biology Association of Graduate Students (PBAGS). Located about two hours’ drive from Chicago and Indianapolis, you will find that Champaign-Urbana is a bustling college town with a large international community that supports a thriving cultural life.

Please contact Dr. Steven Burgess sjb287 [at] Illinois [dot] edu, to discuss potential projects and find out more about life in Champaign-Urbana. Prior contact is a key requisite for admission to graduate school. You can read further information about the department and admissions process here.

Preferred qualifications

  • A Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, synthetic biology or related disciplines
  • An interest in working with cyanobacteria, algae and/or yeast


  • December 1st

Published by Steven Burgess

I am a molecular biologist with an interest in Plant Science and Synthetic Biology based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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