Field Research Specialist - Department of Plant Biology (A1700519)

Champaign, IL
Aug 25, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Field Research Specialist
Global Change Ecology and Biogeochemistry Lab
Department of Plant Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Department of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) seeks a full time field research specialist in the Global Change Ecology and Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry lab to work on related projects funded by the USDA and NSF. The overall goal of the USDA project is to determine the environmental and genetic potential for dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) to occur in Midwest agricultural soils under various management practices (e.g., perennial versus annual crop, fertilization, etc.). The overall goal of the NSF project is to improve mechanistic understanding of when, where, and why DNRA is an important nitrogen transformation process in upland, terrestrial ecosystems. Both projects utilize state-of-the-art stable isotope and molecular techniques, with the USDA project including fieldwork on local UIUC research farms and the NSF project focusing on laboratory experiments with soils collected from across the NSF Critical Zone Observatory network.


Major responsibilities in the field include the following:
  • Sample soil pore water and trace gas fluxes
  • Collect soil samples for laboratory experiments

Major responsibilities in the laboratory include the following:
  • Analyze soil, gas, and water samples
  • Prepare reagents
  • Conduct stable isotope pool dilution and tracer experiments
  • Extract DNA and RNA from soils
  • Maintain laboratory instrumentation related to this project (including a gas chromatograph and isotope ration mass spectrometer interfaced with a trace gas analyzer and elemental analyzer)
  • Purchase and receive chemicals and scientific supplies related to this project
  • May assist with data compilation and analysis
  • Supervise undergraduate students assisting with this project including, but not limited to: Scheduling student hours; delegating tasks to students; serving as point-person for students' questions in lab; and ensuring quality of student work.


  • Bachelor's degree in biology, environmental science, chemistry, or related field
  • Prior field and laboratory experience in ecology
  • Basic computer skills (MS Word, Excel)

  • Research experience in the laboratory and in the field related to biogeochemistry (e.g., trace gas flux measurements, soil sampling, wet chemistry, gas chromatography) and molecular biology (e.g., DNA extraction, RNA extraction, PCR, Illumina sequencing, bioinformatics)


This is a full-time, academic professional position appointed on a 12-month sevice basis. The expected start date is a soon as possible after the closing date. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however no hiring decision will be made until after that date. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.


To apply for this position, please create a candidate profile through and upload your cover letter detailing qualifications noted above and resume by September 7, 2017. Online application will require the names and contact information, including email addresses, for three professional references. Full consideration will be given to complete applications received by the closing date. The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

For further information, please contact: Jana Lenz at

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit To learn more about the University's commitment to diversity, please visit

College Name or Administrative Unit: LAS / School of Integrative Biology
Category: Academic Professional
Title: Field Research Specialist - Department of Plant Biology (A1700519)
Open Date: 08/24/2017
Organization Name: Plant Biology