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Post Doctoral Research Fellow

University of Massachusetts Boston
UMass Boston

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Job Details

Job no: 515165
Position Type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Boston
Department: Biology
Pay Grade: No Pay Grade
Date opened: 22 Aug 2022 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: 25 Oct 2022 Eastern Daylight Time

General Summary:

The Hill Lab at UMass Boston ( seeks a postdoc to study the ecological and molecular determinants of infectious disease spillover. The position requires expertise in one or more of the following areas: i) disease ecology and evolution, ii) epidemic surveillance of animal or human populations, iii) genomic or bioinformatic analysis of pathogen traits, or iv) molecular virology. The postdoc will be instrumental in assisting the Principal Investigator (PI) to build and grow the newly-formed lab, attract external funding and develop cutting-edge research in virus evolution or disease ecology. The successful candidate will be expected to perform a range of wet and/or dry lab assays, coordination of laboratory and field-based studies, supervision of undergraduate and graduate students, writing manuscripts and communicating the results at national and international conferences.

Current projects include: 1) understanding the evolution and ecology of highly pathogenic avian influenza, 2) characterizing the impacts of the climate crisis on the emergence of viral diseases, 3) assessing the drivers of human-animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19), and 4) investigating host susceptibility of wild and domestic animals using immunogenetics.

Examples of Duties:

  • Acquire and screen samples from the field or clinical studies using high-throughput molecular techniques (nucleic acid extraction and real time-PCR)
  • Develop assays to characterize virus genotype and phenotype using cell culture, serological assays and other in vitro techniques
  • Use next-generation sequencing (short and long reads) to genetically characterize pathogens and perform bioinformatic analysis
  • Lead or coordinate surveillance studies of animals (i.e., birds, rodents, domestic animals) and humans with local, regional or international collaborators
  • Source and analyze ‘big data’ from ecological (i.e., eBird, GIS layers) or epidemiological (i.e., UN-FAO outbreak, public health agencies) disciplines.
  • Give presentations at national and international conferences
  • Train and mentor undergraduate and graduate students
  • Write and publish scientific manuscripts of the results
  • Assist in grant-writing to obtain internal and external funding (i.e. NIH and NSF)
  • Participate in departmental activities such as seminars and journal clubs
  • Perform scientific communication (lab website, social media, science fairs and workshops, K-12 curriculum development) to enhance interaction with lay, managerial, and expert audiences
  • Qualifications:

    A PhD in either Ecology, Microbiology, Virology, or other related disciplines before starting the position is required. Experience with molecular techniques (e.g., nucleic acid extraction, real time-PCR, primer design, sequencing) and bioinformatic data analysis. Proficiency in basic virology ‘wet lab’ skills such as cell culture, phenotypic assays and serology is preferred, but not required. Experience in integrating data from field observations and experiments to answer questions related to disease spillover from reservoirs to novel hosts. Applicants should have demonstrated knowledge of concepts and theories related to disease ecology and evolution, with preference for viruses or other fast-evolving pathogens. Strong publication record is also necessary, and evidence of effective science communication skills.

    Application Instructions:

    Please apply online with your resume, cover letter and list of three references.

    Review of candidates will begin following the application closing date.

    Salary Range: Commensurate with experience

    This is a non-union exempt position.

    All official salary offers must be approved by Human Resources.

    UMass Boston requires all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to confirm proof of their vaccination status.. Exemptions from the vaccine requirement will be permitted only for qualifying religious or medical reasons. Regardless of vaccination status, you must wear a face covering in public indoor spaces on campus.

    Applications close: 25 Oct 2022 Eastern Daylight Time


    Working at University of Massachusetts Boston

    The University of Massachusetts Boston is nationally recognized as a model of excellence for urban public universities. The scenic waterfront campus is located next to the John F. Kennedy Library, with easy access to downtown Boston. 

    The second-largest campus in the UMass system, UMass Boston combines a small-college experience with the vast resources of a major research university. With a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students easily interact with professors because most teaching occurs in small class sizes. Ninety-three percent of full-time faculty hold the highest degree in their fields.

    UMass Boston’s academic excellence is reflected by a growing student body of nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university’s eight colleges offer more than 100 undergraduate programs and 50 graduate programs. The University Honors Program serves 300 students who thrive on intellectual challenge. Enriched courses probe more deeply into theory or venture further into application.

    UMass Boston’s diverse student body provides a global context for student learning, and its location in a major U.S. city provides connections to employers in industries such as finance, health care, technology, service, and education, offering students opportunities to gain valuable in-school experience via internships, clinicals, and other career-related placements.

    More than 100 student organizations — including clubs, literary magazines, newspaperradio stationart gallery, and 16 NCAA Division III sports teams — offer a rich campus life. Students live throughout Greater Boston and in apartment communities just steps from the campus, and enjoy the rich amenities, cultural attractions, and educational opportunities that make the city the biggest and best college town in the nation.

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