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Research Associate-Fixed Term

Back to search results Apply now Job no: 822895
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Natural Science
Department: Integrative Biology 10032920
Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Research/Scientific, Fixed Term Academic Staff, Full Time (90-100%), Non-Union

Position Summary

The Michigan State University Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory is seeking a postdoctoral research associate to enhance our growing team, help develop cutting edge stable isotope measurement methods, and apply these emergent tools to a suite of environmentally relevant scientific questions. We are assembling a well-equipped stable isotope laboratory with multiple isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) instruments and associated peripheral devices as well as an Obritrap mass spectrometer for use in stable isotope studies. We seek to leverage these capabilities to develop advanced spatially resolved and taxonomically specific techniques for investigating rhizosphere, soil, and other environmental samples. Spatially resolved analysis will be performed by laser ablation IRMS and we seek to improve spatial resolution as well as expand the isotopes capable of being analyzed. Taxon specific evaluation will leverage stable isotope analysis of new classes of molecular biomarkers to help evaluate nutrient exchange reactions in the rhizosphere and soil with a portion of the analysis using Orbitrap mass spectrometry. The successful candidate would be expected to take a collaborative lead in championing instrument development and technique demonstration inclusive of hardware modification, methods optimization, and preparing relevant samples for analysis. Willingness to be an active part of and contribute to interdisciplinary teams is essential and it is expected that the successful candidate will contribute to and lead manuscripts, presentations, and reports as needed.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Degree


Minimum Requirements

A recent Ph.D. in a related field is required.

Desired Qualifications

This is a truly interdisciplinary posting with potential relevance to recent graduates Soil Science, Geosciences, Zoology, Ecology, Analytical Chemistry, and potentially other programs. The ability to create and follow detailed written protocols is crucial as is skill in synthesizing previous information (e.g., publications and in-house results) to help problem solve and develop modified laboratory approaches. Attention to detail, safety, and an ability to bring tasks to completion are key. Further, demonstrated strength in timely development of scientific publications is critical. The successful applicant will have a strong track record of diverse laboratory experiences. Given the position’s interdisciplinary nature, it is not expected that the successful candidate will have established strengths in every aspect of the planned work. However, experience and expertise in multiple of the following skills is viewed favorably:

  • Prior work with analytical instrumentation (especially mass spectrometry) including methods development and instrument maintenance. Note, experience with isotope ratio mass spectrometry and/or Orbitrap mass spectrometry is especially regarded,
  • Application of stable isotope tracers to soil, rhizosphere, plant, and/or other environmental system,
  • Experience measuring and interpreting natural stable isotope measurements, especially of δ13C and δ15N, in support of biogeochemical questions,
  • Experience with traditional molecular techniques including DNA and RNA extractions, gel electrophoresis, restriction digests, liquid chromatography, etc.,
  • Background demonstrating commitment to timely publication of laboratory results.  

Required Application Materials

To apply, please submit a single PDF file containing:

  1. A cover letter which a) addresses your interest in and the timing of your expected availability for the position, b) describes how your previous work prepares you for success in the instrument development and scientific investigations we are pursuing, c) indicates how this position will help you achieve your scientific goals, and d) any other pertinent information that we should consider in looking through your application. 
  2. Your C.V.
  3. A list of at least three professional references and their contact information

Together-we-will Statement

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Review of Applications Begins On



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