The Microbiomes of Domesticated Dinosaurs2016-12-05T15:45:00+00:00


The Microbiomes of Domesticated Dinosaurs


Graduate Research Assistant (Ph.D. Student)chicken


Prestage Department of Poultry Science North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC

Position Description

The ecology of bird guts influences things as diverse as the dispersal of seeds, the growth of domesticated birds, and the health of humans. Yet, much remains to be understood in among the nooks and crannies of gizzards and crops. A research assistantship is available to support a highly-motivated student who has an inquiring mind and is in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Functional Genomics, or any other relevant graduate research degree program. The successful candidate will work in a molecular biology research laboratory and conduct experiments involving live birds (Chickens. Yes, chickens really are still birds, which are really dinosaurs, so one could argue that this is really a project about the microbiomes of dinosaurs, and, well, we have).

The project bridges animal physiology, microbiology, immunology and basic ecology. The research will include work to understand the microbial communities that live in the intestines of dinosaurs and the ways in which those communities communicate with the host and influence its growth, development, behavior, and immune responses. The student can also consider how such communities have shifted during the domestication of the focal dinosaur species (AKA, chickens). The successful candidate will spearhead laboratory research experiments including metabolomics, metagenomics, microbial culture, host transcriptomics and immunology. They will work among a large group of scientists interested in topics as diverse as beer ecology, deep learning algorithms, ant nest microbiomes, the microbiomes of underwear, the biodiversity of belly buttons, and genome editing.

The position could start as soon as January or August 2017.


B.S. or M.S. in a science discipline with a focus on biology, microbiology, zoology, physiology, molecular biology, ecology, animal science, poultry science, or bioinformatics. The successful candidate will have strong communication skills, competitive GPA/GRE scores, and a desire to learn a variety of things.

Additional information regarding the graduate degree program can be found at the NC State Graduate School.


Please provide 1) a cover letter stating your background and research experiences/interests, 2) a resume or curriculum vitae, 3) contact information of three references, 4) unofficial copies of course transcripts, and 5) unofficial copies of GRE scores to:

Dr. Matt Koci, Associate Professor
Office Phone: (919) 515-5388
Lab website:
Twitter: @kocilab

Dr. Rob Dunn, Professor
Lab website:
Twitter: @RobRDunn

Download job flyer (PDF)

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