Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

QCB Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Application have closed for this cycle. Watch this space for future opportunities.


The Center for Quantitative Cell Biology offers several postdoctoral fellowship opportunities to support outstanding scientists. These fellowships provide a unique opportunity for selected scholars to engage in a two-year interdisciplinary research fellowship while advancing the research of QCB.


Group of people at a poster session

Both QCB and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are diverse, inclusive communities.

Anyone with a PhD earned in the past 10 years, or have an expected PhD by September 1, 2024, who meets the eligibility criteria is welcome to apply. We especially encourage women, those from underrepresented groups and communities, and persons who are differently-abled to apply.

Fellowships are open to any U.S. applicant and to non-U.S. applicants affiliated with our partner institutions. QCB Fellows will receive a starting annual salary of $56,000 (with an inflation increase to an annual salary of $57,680 the second year), along with a $20,000 allowance for research supplies, research travel, and conferences.

Keep reading to review the full application instructions. Email questions to

Eligibility Information

Only applicants meeting these criteria will be considered:

- Have earned a PhD within the 10 years prior to the application deadline, or expect to earn a PhD on or before September 1, 2024; an offer may be withdrawn if the degree date is later than September 1, 2024, or proof of degree cannot be provided by the start date.

- Complete and submit application by the deadline. The application consists of the application form, curriculum vita, letter of recommendation, two-page proposal, representative paper or extended dissertation abstract, and faculty support letter. Applications received after the March 31 deadline may not be considered. Application procedures can be found below.

- Propose research in one of the core QCB areas. Applicants with closely aligned research areas will be considered, however, preference will be given to the core QCB areas. Core QCB research areas are:

1. Whole Cell Modeling: - improve WCMs for bacteria, yeast and eukaryotic cells and connections to established MD (e.g., Martini, Gromacs, NAMD) and analysis programs (e.g., VMD)
2. Subcellular Dynamics using MINFLUX: data acquisition and new data/analysis tools
3. Spatial Chemical Composition using label-free-IR imaging
4. Converting cryo-electron tomograms into images for WCMs and Minecraft
5. Studies on organelles in selected organisms (e.g., yeast) connected to points 1-4 above
6. Integration with other QCB programs to increase impact (e.g., summer school, workshops, Minecraft development, collaboration with our MSI partners)

- Be willing to complete volunteer education service hours as required of NSF Science and Technology Centers.

- U.S. citizens, permanent residents (Green Card holders), and non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply. QCB will sponsor visa applications.

Application Process

Please note: The online application form must be completed all in one sitting, be sure to have all your information gathered and all your documents ready to upload before you complete and submit your application.

Fill out application form (required)
Applicants must fill out the online application form. The form also allows for the electronic submission of your supporting documents in PDF format, including curriculum vitae, proposal, representative paper or abstract, and faculty statements of support.

Curriculum vitae (required)
The curriculum vitae must be submitted as a PDF file and uploaded with the application form as described above. There is no limit as to the length of your CV.

Letter of recommendation Please list the first name, last name, institution / organization and email address of the person we can contact for a letter of recommendation. We are not asking for an actual letter at this time, just the contact information. It must be a different person than the faculty sponsors for your proposed research, who are required to write and sign a brief statement of support. (See faculty support statement, below)

Proposal (required, 2 pages maximum)
Applicants should prepare and upload a PDF file that describes your proposed research. Proposals are limited to two pages in length. Your proposal must include these elements within the two-page length:

- The names of at least two (2) collaborating STC QCB faculty. You are required to discuss your proposal with prospective advisors and gain their approval before submission. Be sure to inform each advisor the name of your other advisor(s). You may work with faculty only at the University of Illinois or one faculty at the University of Illinois and one faculty at our partner institutions. A complete list of industry and academic partners can be found at the bottom of the STC QCB members webpage. If you choose to work with a collaborator outside the University of Illinois, research travel will be funded by the Center under your $20,000 allowance for supplies, research travel, and conferences.

- One (1) paragraph discussing your plans for broader impact, diversity and outreach. View available options here. Email Dr. Sharlene Denos after you have your two or more research mentors. You are required to contact Dr. Denos to discuss your plans prior to submission.

Faculty support statements (< 1 page in length, at least 2 statements required)
All STC QCB faculty who will advise you as a postdoc must write and sign a brief (2-3 sentences) statement of support. You may combine these signed statements into a one (1)-page PDF document to upload with your application as a single document or submit them as separate documents. If you have an optional third faculty sponsor, you must also have a statement from them.

Representative paper or extended dissertation abstract (required)
If you have published, select one (1) paper and upload a PDF file. If you have not published, submit an extended abstract of your dissertation (not to exceed five pages).

Tips for a successful application

We anticipate strong competition for these fellowships. Here are some tips to help your application stand out.

1. Start preparing your application well in advance of the application deadline. Review the application procedures above as well as the online application form to make sure you understand the information you will need to provide.

2. Find your STB QCB faculty supporters by reading the brief descriptions of faculty research interests on the Members page to narrow your search to those who study topics in your area of interest. You are welcome to work only with U.S. faculty / collaborators or have both a U.S. and international advisor. At least one of your advisors must be a STB QCB faculty member at the University of Illinois.

Send the faculty member an email stating your interest in their research and asking if they are willing to sponsor you as a QCB Postdoctoral Fellow. If they agree, have them write, sign and email to you a 2-3 sentence statement of support. Be sure to inform each advisor the name of your other advisor(s). You must have at least two (2) STB QCB faculty statements of support to be considered for a fellowship. Without these statements, your proposal will fail and your application will not be considered. Be sure to inform each advisor the name of your other advisor(s).

3. Once you have two faculty who have agreed to sponsor you, email Dr. Sharlene Denos to discuss your plans for broader impact, diversity and outreach prior to submission. Without Dr. Denos' review, your proposal will fail and your application will not be considered. View options for these activities here.

4. PROOFREAD EVERYTHING. Remember, you are trying to convince the evaluators that you would be a valuable contributor to the QCB mission. Have someone else (a trusted colleague or advisor) read your proposal and give you feedback prior to submission.

5. If you have any questions about the QCB Postdoctoral Fellowships or the application process, please email us: