Postdoctoral positions – come join us!

We invite for highly motivated and productive recent graduates to join us as postdocs at the University of Pennsylvania Biology Department ( and at the Epigenetics Institute ( and in our of a six-lab highly interactive Plant Biology group.

Some of our current research outlined below, but we are happy to hear about your project ideas.

Epigenetic underpinnings of Environmental Stimulus Response

The epigenome is the interface between the genome and the environment. Plants in particular need to adjust to an ever-changing environment, such as lack of water or high temperature.  We are interested in how changes in the epigenome, especially those triggered by SWI/SNF chromatin remodelers and Polycomb Repressive Complexes, enable plant survival under stress.

Reprogramming of plant cell fate and function in the inflorescence in response to developmental and environmental cues

Currently projects focus on nuclear liquid-liquid phase transition events that enable cell fate reprogramming to flower fate in response to endogenous and environmental cues. A second project aims to dissect how signaling integrates diverse endogenous and environmental cues in meristems to optimally tune inflorescence architecture.

Comparative analysis of the impact of genome size, repetitive genome content and chromatin architecture on facultative heterochromatin formation

Using diverse crop wild plant species, we are investigating how their unique genome architectures impact initiation and maintenance of facultative heterochromatin for silencing of unneeded or detrimental gene expression programs.


The Wagner lab strives to be an inclusive environment, and we especially encourage applications from under-represented minorities, members of the LGTBQ community and women.

In addition to offering a vibrant scientific community, Philadelphia is a pretty and livable city, with strong offerings in the arts and sports, excellent for walking and biking.

Please send your CV with publications and statement of interest to

Diversity and Equity – Black Lives Matter


We condemn the grave injustices that black people confront in this country, in particular the unbridled and deplorable police brutality and express our sorrow about the many lives this has taken, compounded by lack of equal healthcare, housing and  employment that is causing more illness and death among black people during COVID19; racial profiling, mass incarcerations, wrongful convictions and many more injustices and no end in sight for 400 years.

Office of Inclusion and Diversity –  My heart is broken

We must act now – eLife editorial



Two positions are available in the Wagner lab to investigate developmental and environmental reprogramming of cell fate and function in Arabidopsis in the context of chromatin. We study reprogramming in a variety of biological contexts using a combination of approaches.

The positions are in the following areas:

How do plants tell time? Seasonal cues such as daylength determine when plants flower.  Mobile plant proteins like TFL1 co-ordinate this transition. Use genetic, biochemical and imaging approaches to understand how they execute this role.

Epigenetic tailoring of phenotypes Use selective tethering, destruction, or repurposing of master chromatin factors to modulate organism form and function. Requires reverse genetic, biochemical, chemical biology and molecular approaches.

Compare the mode of Polycomb repressive complex 2 recruitment in species with small and large genomes.  Use of epigenomic, computational (including machine learning), molecular and reverse genetic approaches to test the hypothesis that large genome size/ repetitive DNA content necessitate a different mode of Polycomb recruitment as the one we and others described for Arabidopsis.

The successful candidate should be about to complete or have recently completed their PhD and should have a strong publication record. We look for an applicant that is able to work both independently and in a team, and is highly productive. Proficiency in either confocal imaging, protein purifications/mass spec, genomic approaches or computational biology/modeling is desirable.

The University of Pennsylvania Biology Department has an excellent core of Plant Biology research groups, and the Wagner group is also part of the superb Penn Epigenetics Institute. Philadelphia is a vibrant and livable city, bike friendly and walkable, with great restaurants and other activities.

Those interested should submit a cover letter (1-2 pages) outlining their research interest and career goals, a current curriculum vitae, and names and contact information of three referees to


DORIS WAGNER, Professor of Biology


Wagner and biking go way back. “I grew up in a very small town in rural Germany close to the French border,” she says. “My family’s weekend outings consisted of bike rides together in the German and French countryside. I loved those rides.” She’s always seen biking as a combination of pleasurable and practical. “When I was little, not that many people had cars. Many did their shopping on bikes very similar to the Dutch cargo bike I now use for my short commute to Penn. This is where my love for these heavy but versatile bikes came from.” These days, Wagner commutes from Rittenhouse Square and enjoys when academic conferences take her to bike-friendly cities—favorites have been Gyeongju and Jeju Island, South Korea, and Valencia, Spain.