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Research Associate-Fixed Term

Back to search results Apply now Job no: 804020
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Natural Science
Department: Kellogg Biological Station Nat. Sci. 10032500
Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: Hickory Corners
Categories: Research/Scientific, Fixed Term Academic Staff, Full Time (90-100%), Non-Union, Remote-Friendly

Position Summary

A research associate (postdoctoral position) is available in the Evans Lab at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station in soil microbial ecology. The postdoc will develop research within the overarching goal of understanding and optimizing microbial services (esp carbon accrual and nitrogen availability) in poor quality (marginal) soils. These soils are candidates for growing cellulosic bioenergy like switchgrass, and such systems provide an opportunity to enhance other ecosystem services (e.g. biodiversity) in midwestern managed landscapes. Previous work from our group in this area has focused on controls on free living nitrogen fixation; on the role of microbes in accruing soil carbon and enhancing  water holding capacity; and the role of mycorrhizae in supporting nutrient acquisition and drought tolerance. The postdoc would have the opportunity to use long-term field treatments at KBS, experimental mesocosm systems for synthetic communities, existing microbial datasets, and existing culture collections (including sysgenic bacteria) to develop an impactful project building off these topics. They would also interact with a large team of collaborators at MSU and if desired, have the opportunity to forge non-academic partnerships (industry, non-profit, etc) that relate to sustainability solutions and soil health.

The successful candidate will join the Evans Lab at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station, but likely work closely with the Tiemann Lab in soil ecology and Bonito Lab of mycology, and other personnel on both the MMPRNT project ( and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center ( While partial remote work is an option (request in cover letter), the position is likely to include field and/or laboratory work, so cannot be fully remote. We do expect and encourage the postdoc to take advantage of existing data and experimental setups, so this represents a unique opportunity to perform an impactful project in a short amount of time. The successful candidate will be a team player, self-motivated and have strong writing skills.

Start date: The postdoctoral appointment is for two years. Ideal start date will be between Sept 2022 and January 2023. 

The Evans Lab: ( The candidate will benefit from interactions with personnel and projects in the Evans Lab asking how rainfall, irrigation, and management affect soil health, sustainability and science translation to policy, increasing representation in science, and microbial dispersal and assembly. To investigate these questions, we use molecular techniques, physiological assays, modeling, and terrestrial climate manipulations. The lab is currently a supportive community of graduate students and lab technicians/managers and undergraduates. This project will be supported by a technician to assist with project coordination and sample analysis. We have prioritized creation of a diverse environment that supports individuals regardless of cultural background, race, orientation, or ethnicity.

Postdoc development: KBS and the Evans Lab are committed to postdoctoral research career development. The postdoc will have professional development opportunities in the form mentoring, teaching, grant writing, public communication and others, while working on highly collaborative research projects to meet the postdoc’s defined career goals.

*Apply by 9/6/22 for full consideration, but applications can be accepted after this date, into fall. Inquire via email if you are unsure whether applications are still being accepted.

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

Doctorate -Microbiology, Ecology, Genetics, Molecul

Minimum Requirements

PhD in Microbiology, Ecology, Genetics, Molecular Biology or related field and have strong oral and written communication skills

Desired Qualifications

  • Knowledge of one or more of the following: RNA extraction, quantitative PCR, particularly RT-qPCR transcriptomics, nitrogen fixation genomics, soils, bioenergy cropping systems, nitrogen cycling, and bioinformatics.
  • Favorable skills are familiarity with high throughput quantitative PCR



Required Application Materials

1) cover letter (2 page max) that includes: research accomplishments; experience and demonstration of skills relevant to the project (see Qualifications); your interest in this project; and leadership experience

2) a CV, and

3) contact information (name, position, phone, email) for three references

Together-we-will Statement

The university is requiring all MSU students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with limited exceptions. Learn more at:

Special Instructions

Apply by 9/6/22 for full consideration, but applications can be accepted after this date, into fall. Inquire via email if you are unsure whether applications are still being accepted.


Review of Applications Begins On


Remote Work Statement

MSU strives to provide a flexible work environment and this position has been designated as remote-friendly. Remote-friendly means some or all of the duties can be performed remotely as mutually agreed upon.



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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