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Postdoctoral Fellows Program


Program Overview

The Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease (CIHMID; offers financial support and professional development opportunities for postdoctoral scholars to study host-microbe interactions. CIHMID postdocs are supported to develop research programs in collaboration with two or more labs at Cornell and will be provided with professional development opportunities during the academic year and summer. CIHMID postdocs are expected to have intellectual ownership of their projects and may use their support to build bridges across different disciplines of study. Studied host-microbe interactions may be pathogenic or beneficial; microbial partners may be bacterial, viral or fungal; eukaryotic hosts may be animal or plant. Supporting a diverse portfolio of research systems and questions is an explicit goal of the training program.

We are currently accepting applications for a 12-month appointments to begin in Fall 2024. Applications are due June 10 and support letters and letters of reference are due June 17. Applications must be submitted through the Application Portal.

The program is supported by a training grant from the US National Institutes of Health (T32 AI145821). For that reason, eligibility is restricted to US citizens and permanent residents. Appointments must be submitted through the portal linked above. Questions about the program may be directed to Program Director Brian Lazzaro at

**Applicants are required to confer with prospective host labs prior to application.**


Trainee Support

  • Trainees will be provided with 12 months of support. Trainee salary is paid on the NIH scale (see Table describing “Postdoctoral Trainees and Fellows” at The appointment includes health coverage offered through Cornell.
  • Trainees will be provided with up to $10,000 per year in discretionary spending.

Mentoring Structure

  • Prior to applying to the program, applicants must identify two or more labs with which to collaborate, selected at the discretion of the trainee. The applicant may already be working in one or both labs. Rationale for choosing labs may include opportunity for complementary training experience, cross-disciplinary skills development, access to distinct technologies, or other attributes. The Principal Investigator of the primary lab must be a CIHMID faculty member, listed at Minor labs can be drawn from the entire Cornell community. The Plan of Proposed Research component of the application should address the logic for choosing the collaborating labs, making clear that the applicant will have intellectual independence and ownership of their project.
  • Within two months of initiating the appointment, trainees will identify a 3-member faculty mentoring committee, including the major and minor advisors. The mentoring committee will develop an Individual Professional Development Plan with the trainee and will meet with the trainee at least twice per year to discuss professional progress and goals.

Program Features and Expectations

  • All program participants are required to complete approved training in ethics and responsible conduct of research.
  • Trainees are encouraged to join the CIHMID Postdoctoral Association. The Postdoctoral Association is a social and professional community organized by postdocs in CIHMID labs.
  • CIHMID postdocs are encouraged to participate in, and take leadership roles in, journal clubs and supergroups such as Virology Journal Club, Microbiology Journal Club, Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease (EEID) Journal Club, Microbiome Supergroup, and Symbiosis & Cooperation Supergroup.
  • Trainees are offered the opportunity to mentor undergraduate students in research, in collaboration with the CIHMID Undergraduate Research Experience
  • All trainees are expected to give at least one oral presentation per year, either on the Cornell campus or at a national or international conference. Program leadership will help trainees identify and access appropriate venues and will provide opportunity if necessary.
  • Logistical and financial support is provided for trainees to invite external speakers to visit Cornell. Trainees serve as the hosts for these visits and members of the postdoctoral and graduate communities have priority access for meeting with speakers.
  • Trainees may be offered voluntary opportunity to teach small undergraduate courses and/or lead topical workshops according to their interest and career goals.
  • The training program offers additional career and professional development opportunities, including:
    • Guidance in applying and interviewing for academic and nonacademic jobs to follow the postdoctoral appointment, including multiple rounds of feedback on application materials, opportunity to give practice job talks and chalk talks, and practice interviews with faculty,
    • Workshops on writing grants and fellowship applications, as well as on the grant review process at federal funding agencies,
    • Workshops on practical elements of running a research lab, with topics including mentoring strategies and styles, financial aspects of running a lab, and strategies for establishing priorities and objectives and maintaining focus on them,
    • Training in leadership and mentoring,
    • Training and experiential workshops on diversity, equity and inclusion in the STEM fields and beyond.

Application and Eligibility

  • Because this program is funded by the US National Institutes of Health, it is only open to US citizens and permanent residents.
  • Applications must be submitted by 11:59 pm on their due date. Applications will consist of a Cover Letter, CV, Plan of Proposed Research (3 pages maximum, excluding references), and a brief statement describing how the applicant will contribute to Cornell’s campus culture of Diversity and Inclusion (
    • The Plan of Proposed research should be targeted at a general but knowledgeable audience of biologists. Applicants should describe the research objectives of the proposed project over the duration of the appointment, as well as how the proposed project will contribute to the applicant’s ultimate career goals.
    • Cornell as an institution has an expectation that all members of our campus community support diversity and inclusion. Applicants may use their Diversity and Inclusion statements should describe their experience, philosophies, and activities or proposed activities in that regard.
    • A Statement of Support is required from the advising team. This letter should describe the applicant’s abilities and potential as a research scientist. The advisor statement should additionally include a brief description of the strategy for mentoring the candidate to independence and achievement of career goals. The major advisor must provide an assurance that at least one additional year of funding is available from the host lab after the year of fellowship support. Advising letters will be automatically solicited by the application portal. It is permissible for the mentoring team to submit a single co-signed letter.
    • One letter of reference that does not come from prospective mentors will be required. This will also be automatically solicited by the application portal.
  • Applicants must hold a Ph.D at the time the appointment begins.
  • Candidates will be selected based on track record and career promise, merit of the proposed project, and alignment with CIHMID priorities
  • Cornell and CIHMID embrace diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply. We encourage applications from scholars who affiliate with underrepresented groups, come from backgrounds of disadvantage, or are differently abled. Cornell is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.




Questions about the program should be directed to