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Currently, we have the following job openings for enthusiastic and motivated individuals who are interested in biofuels, bioproducts, materials, food and bioprocessing research. For details please check the descriptions below. 

Graduate Research Assistant in Food and Bioprocess Engineering (New 2022-23!)

*We will pay your U.S. domestic travel to visit the department, join us to the 2023 graduate student recruitment event (apply by December 15, 2022).

Job Description and Responsibilities:

Graduate Assistantships (M.S. or Ph.D.) are available for outstanding candidates who are interested in the following research areas:

  • Biomass feedstock logistics and modeling;
  • Lignin valorization for fuels, chemicals and advanced materials;
  • Green solvent based catalysis and biocatalysis;
  • Nanotechnology and bioprocessing for food and agriculture application;
  • Municipal, food and agricultural waste treatment and conversion.

You will work together with a cluster of university wide researchers to develop new bioprocesses and models for food, agriculture, energy and water systems by exploring the interfaces between chemistry, engineering and biology. Example projects include biomass derived chemicals and advanced materials for applications in advanced-membrane technologies, water purification, and electrochemical energy storage (through recent NSF, DOE and USDA-NIFA awards).

Qualifications:   The candidates should have:

  • An earned B.S. or M.S. in Chemical Engineering, Biological/Agricultural Engineering, Environmental Engineering, or Material Science and Engineering.
  • Good knowledge of one or more of the aforementioned research areas. 
  • With credentials sufficient for admission into the UK graduate school (GPA>3.0; GRE optional; TOEFL>93 or IELTS>6.5 or Duolingo English Test>115 for international students – Applications must be received by March 15th for Fall Admission OR by September 15th for Spring Admission).
  • Ability to formulate and conduct experiments including data collection and analysis.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Please send in your CV, BS and/or MS transcripts, and 2-page research summary to Dr. Shi ( if you are interested.

Postdoctoral Scholar in Biomass Logistics and Lignin Based Chemicals and Materials (New 2022!).

We are seeking one self-motivated Postdoctoral Scholar to conduct research on one or more of the following aspects: biomass feedstock characterization and logistics; catalytic or biological valorization of lignin for chemicals and advanced materials; technoeconomic and life cycle analyses of bioprocesses. Experimental work will be conducted in our well-equipped laboratories at the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky. You will be expected to apply HPLC, GPC, TGA, GC-MS, NMR and other analytical equipment to characterize biomass raw materials, the intermediate streams and end products. You will also be expected to write manuscripts for publication and prepare grant proposals. Qualifications:  PhD in a relevant field, such as Chemical Engineering, Biological Engineering, Materials Sciences, Chemistry or equivalent. Candidates should have good understanding and experience with biomass conversion using thermo-chemical or/and biological processes. Successful candidates will have excellent communication skills and demonstrated ability to work productively and independently as part of a multidisciplinary research team.

Check here for job description. Apply through this link

Undergraduate Student Interns

We also have openings for paid undergraduate student interns who are willing to engage in lab research during summer (8-10 weeks) or the school year.

Please contact Dr. Jian Shi ( if you are interested in applying to the positions.

Visiting Scholar/Visiting Student Program in Food and Bioprocess Engineering

Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
University of Kentucky

We offer opportunities for visiting students/visiting scholars who are interested in one of the following food and bioprocess engineering area: 1) biomass conversion and fermentation 2) system biology/metabolic engineering 3) bioprocess modeling and life cycle analysis, and 4) synthetic chemistry or biomaterials.  Specific research topics may include biomass pretreatment and fractionation using solvent-based catalysis; catalytic or biological valorization of lignin for biofuels and chemicals; products separation and recovery using advanced-membrane technologies; cellulose and lignin based bioproducts and biomaterials.

The visit will be hosted in our well-equipped microbiology, chemistry, food and bioprocessing laboratories and office building at the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. University of Kentucky is the flagship university in the state and the 64th ranked public research schools in US. The City of Lexington is renowned for horse racing and its college basketball. The city ranks 57th-largest city in US and is in driving distance to the 30th and 45th largest US metropolitan areas of Cincinnati and Louisville, offering safe, convenient and enjoyable life style. Lexington is one of the six University Cities that consist "highly educated populations, innovative economies with high rates of entrepreneurship, outsized arts and culture sectors, and large nonprofit sectors that indicate a vibrant civil society."

Application: Applicants may contact:

Dr. Jian Shi
Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department
115 Charles E. Barnhart Building
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0276
Phone: 859-218-4321

The University of Kentucky is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


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