Recruiting Graduate Students!

The Sterolbiome Laboratory is recruiting graduate students to work on a variety of projects including:

  • gnotobiotic piglet and mouse studies of engineered bacterial steroid metabolism
  • Sterolbiome gene discovery and enzyme characterization
  • Germ free chicken study of bile salt metabolism
  • Clinical study of steroid metabolism and prostate cancer risk
  • CRISPR-Cas9 bacterial engineering

If interested, contact Prof. Ridlon ( Please send an updated CV with 3 references.

Job Opening for a Postdoctoral fellow

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Bile Acid & Steroid Gastrointestinal and Urinary Microbiome Research
Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, and
Department of Animal Sciences
College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignThe Position: Full-time, 100%, (12-month), renewable appointment (contingent on funding) in microbiology/ microbiome science.

Opportunities: Professor Jason M. Ridlon is seeking a highly motivated and capable individual to join the Sterolbiome Laboratory and carry out cutting-edge gut microbiome research projects focusing on bile acid and steroid metabolism related to Cancer & the Microbiome as well as Drug Metabolism & the Microbiome. Our recent work has been featured in journals such as Science Advances, Nature Communications, Gut Microbes, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with a multi-disciplinary team involved in microbial gene discovery, bacterial engineering, gnotobiotic pig and mouse experiments, bile acid and steroid metabolomics, single-cell RNA-Seq, and immunological datasets. The candidate will also mine human biospecimens for novel enzymes through screening functional metagenomic libraries and obtaining isolates through culturomics. Other training opportunities include teaching selected lectures each year in biochemistry and/or gastrointestinal microbiology and assisting in the training undergraduate and graduate students.

Qualifications: Ph.D. degree in Microbiology, Microbiome Sciences, Biochemistry, or a closely related field. A commitment to research, and an ability to establish an externally funded, nationally and internationally-recognized program of research in assisted reproductive technologies.

Proposed Start Date: March 1, 2022

Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Location: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Resources: Successful candidates will be provided with office space, and excellent laboratory space and access to core facilities such as the W. M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional Genomics, Rodent Gnotobiotic Facility, Mass Spectrometry Core, and the Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center. The Department of Animal Sciences and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) ( are widely recognized for excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research, outreach, and international programs. Potential collaborations exist and are encouraged both within Animal Sciences and outside of the department through the Microbiome Systems Initiative, Food Science & Human Nutrition, Microbiology, Veterinary Medicine, Physics, and others. Additional information regarding the department can be found at The Ridlon Laboratory homepage can be found at:

Application Procedures: Please e-mail your cover letter, curriculum vitae, a research statement and the names and contact information of three references by Feb 10, 2022 to NAME, Department of Animal Sciences, E-MAIL ADDRESS. Referees will be contacted electronically within 2-3 days of application submission.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit


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The research in our laboratory focuses on the role of steroid and bile acid metabolism on human and animal health and disease. Small modifications to host steroids and bile acids can have large physiological consequences for the host. We focus on discovering genes encoding enzymes involved in steroid and bile acid biotransformations. We view host-associated microbiomes as extensions of the host endocrine system, and the mapping out of biochemical pathways is an important step in shifting host steroid and bile acid profiles to promote health. Prof. Ridlon defines the “sterolbiome” as the the genetic potential of the gut microbiome to produce endocrine molecules from endogenous and exogenous steroids in the mammalian gut. A mechanistic approach to understanding the role of bacterial sterolbiome genes is to compare the effect of colonization of genetically identical bacterial strains that differ only in the presence or absence of a particular gene or set of genes on physiological, immunological, and gene-expression changes in a germ-free animal. Two focus areas in our laboratory include: (1) Conversion of cortisol to 11-oxy-androgens by gut and urinary tract bacteria. We are utilizing a germ-free piglet and mouse model to understand the effect of 11-oxy-androgen formation on intestinal physiology and the global distribution of 11-oxy-androgens. A clinical study is currently underway to understand the role of urinary 11-oxy-androgen formation in the development of prostate cancer. (2) Oxidation, epimerization, and 7-dehydroxylation of host primary bile acids. The gut microbiome greatly diversifies the composition of bile acid metabolites which alters their signaling properties and toxicity both for the host and the microbiome. We are working out biochemical pathways involved in hydroxyl group modification of bile acids and the role of these metabolites in human and animal physiology and disease. We utilize a combination of approaches including anaerobic microbial culturing & engineering, transcriptomics, metabolomics, enzymology & structural biology, microbiome sequencing, gnotobiotic animal models, and clinical studies to uncover the role of the sterolbiome in host physiology and diseases such as colorectal cancer and prostate cancer.