Research Fellow - Molecular Microbial Ecology Lab

Job Details

Job no: 513738
Work type: Senior/Research Fellow (Amherst Only)
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Microbiology
Union: Non-Unit Exempt
Categories: Research, College of Natural Sciences

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

Job Summary

This position is a full-time research support position in a molecular microbial ecology lab studying the effect of climate change on soil carbon cycling, plant-microbial interactions, and the development of plant biofuels. Research includes cultivation of environmental bacterial isolates and soils. For this position, the research fellow will work to assist in the measurement of the plasticity of in situ microbial community traits associated with declining soil organic matter quality and quantity over decades of chronic warming stress, as well as define individual bacterial physiological and genomic traits associated with evolutionary adaptation to chronic warming for bacteria isolated from heated and control soils. This position is split, with 50% time devoted to the microbial evolution of climate change, a genomics and modeling project; 35% time devoted to support of field studies including the quantitative stable isotope probing study for direct measurements of turnover times per taxa; and 15% time devoted to general lab duties, including support on other projects, lab chores, and training new students.

Essential Functions

Examples of duties:

  • Analyze data already collected for the effect of long-term warming on the growth parameters of cultivated Actinobacteria from heated and control soil.
  • Perform comparative genomics on sequenced Actinobacterial isolates from the long-term warming experiments from heated and control soils.
  • Write up detailed protocols for the cultivation of isolates; extraction and quality control of genomic DNA; gDNA sequencing using the MinION and Illumina platforms; genome sequence curation, assembly and annotation of MinION gDNA; and metabolic modeling of genomes; comparative genomics of genomes.
  • Support for data analysis of previously collected field data from the field experiment testing the effect of long-term warming on the temperature sensitivity of CUE.
  • Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.
  • Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelors of Science in Microbiology, Biology, Microbial Ecology or equivalent.
  • 1-2 years of experience working independently in a research laboratory.
  • Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Demonstrated skills in microbiology (sterile technique, media prep, cultivation) and molecular biology (DNA extraction, gel electrophoresis, PCR) techniques.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint.
  • Proficiency with R and basic statistics.
  • Familiarity with other programming languages, like python, matlab, or html.
  • Physical Demands/Working Conditions

    No physical demands outside of a typical office environment.

    Work Schedule

    40 hours per week, flexible, to be arranged each week within Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

    Salary Information

    Commensurate with experience.

    Special Instructions to Applicants

    Please submit a CV, cover letter, and contact information for three (3) professional references. The search may be open until suitable candidate is identified.

    As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations (

    UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

    Advertised: Apr 27 2022 Eastern Daylight Time
    Applications close:


    The University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the preeminent public research universities in America. Nestled in idyllic Amherst, Massachusetts—often called “The top college town in North America”—the campus is consistently ranked among the top public research universities in the nation, and offers a rich cultural environment in a rural setting close to major urban centers. 

    As one of the nation's top public research universities – as measured by national and international rankings, academic citations, and research funding – the campus spends more than $180 million on research each year, demonstrating its contribution to the nation’s position as a technological and economic leader. The university works in conjunction with academic, government, and private partners to translate new knowledge and scientific discoveries into technical innovations and scholarly works that create opportunities for students, faculty and the public. 

    Eight schools and colleges offer more than 85 undergraduate majors, 68 master’s and 48 doctoral degree programs, many counted among the top programs in the nation and world. UMass Amherst is also home to New England's premier honors college.

    The 1,159 full-time faculty members are dedicated teachers and world-renowned researchers and the campus has regularly been listed among the top performers in terms of faculty awards. With over 24,000 students from all 50 states and over 70 countries, the student body is the most academically successful in the history of the campus. Students participate in 240 organizations, 21 NCAA Division I athletic teams, extensive intramurals, living-learning residence halls, community service, and internships. With one of the largest residential life systems in the nation, UMass Amherst houses approximately 12,000 students on campus. The university is enjoying a facilities renaissance, including new buildings in the sciences, the arts, and recreation. UMass Amherst is part of the Five College consortium with Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and Amherst colleges.

    As an employer, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a national leader in developing family-friendly policies, benefits and amenities designed to help faculty members develop both productive careers and satisfying personal lives. The university offers one of the nation’s most generous parental leave policies. The university is also part of the Academic Career Network, a regional consortium formed to serve dual-career couples and encourage greater diversity in the academy.


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