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Research Associate-Fixed Term

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Back to search results Apply now Job no: 677385
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: Lyman Briggs College
Department: Lyman Briggs Dean 10028546
Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Full Time (90-100%), Fixed Term Academic Staff, Research/Scientific, Non-Union

Position Summary

This is intended to be a two-year position, pending a successful annual performance review after the first year. This person in this position may work remotely from January 1 - June 30, 2021 with the feasibility of remote vs in-person work to be evaluated thereafter.


Overview: This project aims to design, pilot, and test a set of interactive and integrative instructional materials for introductory biology courses. The materials will be focused on the evolutionary basis of human medical conditions. These materials will facilitate student understanding of human evolution, by exploring health conditions. Many, if not most, students are introduced to evolution in an introductory biology course where the topic is studied in isolation from other content for a very short period of time. Instruction is often based broadly on “natural selection and adaptation”, with connections rarely made to the molecular and/or cellular events involved in evolutionary processes. Unfortunately, this type of treatment is some students’ sole experience studying evolution. As a result, many students do not acquire a solid foundation in basic evolutionary concepts, let alone the tools or examples needed to understand how evolution is applicable to humans. In this project we will build, pilot, and disseminate curricular materials that clarify the evolutionary underpinnings of several human diseases and health conditions. The integrative case curriculum by the Evo-Ed project ( provides a backdrop for the type of curriculum development and integrated nature of the curricular materials we plan to design, pilot, and test here. We intend to explore how engaging in evolutionary medicine curriculum, with ties to the relevant social and cultural contexts, helps students develop a better understanding of both evolution and human medicine. 


Responsibilities: The postdoc will work closely with Dr. White and the project team on the design, development, piloting and testing of curricular materials and data collection and analysis. The postdoc will play a significant role researching and building the Evo-Med-Ed integrative curricular materials, designing and populating website pages, and piloting and assessing the curricular materials. The postdoctoral research associate will be involved in preparing publications arising from the research conducted in this project. They will participate in manuscript planning, data analysis, drafting manuscript sections, submitting to appropriate journals, attending professional meetings, and responding to manuscript reviewer comments.

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, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Degree

Doctorate -Biology

Minimum Requirements

A PhD in either biology, biology education, or a closely related field is required. This should be paired with either a BSc or an MSc in Biology

Desired Qualifications

Candidates must demonstrate:

  • A strong knowledge of evolutionary processes.
  • Experience with inclusive and constructivist teaching pedagogies.
  • A comprehensive understanding of basic biological processes across both macro and micro scales.
  • A plan for developing integrated cross-scales instructional materials, using at least one human health condition as an exemplar.
  • Excellent writing skills, knowledge of html and use of web-based technologies.
  • A working knowledge of qualitative research approaches
  • A record of producing peer-reviewed publications.
  • A set of skills that would help in managing and coordinating a study at a national scale.

Required Application Materials

Submit an application letter, a curriculum vitae, two writing samples, and complete contact information for two letters of recommendation. 

Questions regarding this position may be directed to Dr. Peter White, Review of application materials will begin on November 16th and continue until the position is filled. The position is intended to begin on January 1, 2021.

Review of Applications Begins On


MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

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