NRC Research Associate Programs
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs

Participating Agencies

  sign inOpen Printer View

Opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Microbial “Dark Matter”


Material Measurement Laboratory, Biosystems and Biomaterials Division

RO# Location
50.64.41.B8206 Gaithersburg, MD

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Samuel P. Forry 301.975.5246
Timothy P. Quinn 303.497.3480


Microbes are prolific (≈60% of Earth’s biomass) and exhibit substantial genetic diversity; however, laboratory methods for culturing these diverse microbes in vitro are severely limited. It is estimated that the majority (85%-99%) of genotypes detected in environmental samples represent microbial “dark matter” that cannot currently be cultured in modern microbiology laboratories. Without the ability to study these organisms in the laboratory, our understanding of microbial communities remains incomplete and many biological molecules (e.g., novel antibiotics) and biochemical pathways remain undiscovered. We are interested in developing new approaches (e.g., engineered microenvironments, mixed species cultures) for expanding microbial culture capabilities, as well as evaluating culture independent strategies (metagenomics, bioinformatics, synthetic biology) to determine microbial function from sequence data. Since this project is highly interdisciplinary, we are seeking applicants from various fields including chemistry, microbiology, and engineering.


Microbial communities; Microfluidics; Microbiome; Unculturable; Metagenomics; Bioinformatics; Synthetic biology;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$74,950.00 $3,000.00
Copyright © 2022. National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Terms of Use and Privacy Policy