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Post-Doctoral Associate in the Division [Biology] - Molecular Mechanisms of Thermal Tolerance

New York University Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Job Details


The Burt Lab at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) is seeking a talented Postdoctoral Researcher to join our team in an exciting endeavor to unravel the intricate molecular mechanisms underpinning the unique thermal tolerance in Arabian Gulf corals, the most heat-adapted corals in the world. The researcher will lead innovative projects examining individual variability in coral response to heat stress within and among populations, while also closely collaborating with another postdoctoral researcher dedicated to the selective breeding of heat tolerant corals.  This collaborative effort aims to integrate molecular insights with practical applications, working towards the development of robust coral populations resilient to climate induced stressors. The candidate will actively engage in a dynamic research environment utilizing not only genomic and gene expression profiling techniques but also to the practical implementation of this knowledge in coral conservation.

Situated in a region with unprecedented coral thermal tolerance, NYUAD offers a unique setting for cutting-edge research in coral acclimation and adaptation to thermal extremes. Additionally, our proximity (2.5 hr drive) to the thermally-benign reefs of the Indian Ocean make this an unparalleled setting for comparative research.

The candidate will operate under the supervision of Prof. John Burt, head of the NYUAD Marine Biology Lab, and will be affiliated with the Arabian Center for Climate and Environmental Sciences (ACCESS), working with a growing team of Post-doctoral Researchers, Research Assistants, and Aquarists/Technicians who are collaboratively investigating the biology of the uniquely adapted corals and other reef fauna from the Arabian Gulf. In the interdisciplinary ACCESS research center, where Burt serves as co-PI, the candidate will collaborate closely with researchers across several NYUAD units including ACCESS, the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology (CGSB), the Water Research Center (WRC), and the CITIES Center, thus integrating into a diverse and dynamic team with research spanning genomics and molecular biology to ecosystem-level ecology.

The position will be for two or three years (length depending on the candidate s interest, and potentially renewable depending on performance; funding is available for up to 5 years) and will begin in mid-2024 (between May July, with some flexibility for the right candidate).

Principal Responsibilities

  • Lead and conduct heat-stress assays to assess performance variability in coral individuals under thermal stress, evaluating parameters such as bleaching rate, survival and molecular/physiological stress markers.

  • Utilize molecular biology techniques for genomic analysis to identify genetic variations linked to thermal tolerance.

  • Perform gene expression profiling to understand molecular response mechanisms to heat stress.

  • Collaborate with a multidisciplinary team on coral breeding, microbiome research, and cross-generational trait transfer studies.

  • If relevant to experience, engage in epigenetic studies with other Post-doctoral Researchers to complement understanding of heat stress response.


The qualifications and experience serve as the primary criteria for selecting candidates:

Required Education, Certifications, Licensing or Training

  • PhD in biological sciences, molecular ecology, genetics or related (completed by Jan. 2024)

  • Advanced SCUBA certification with research diving experience

Preferred Education, Certifications, Licensing or Training

  • Drivers license in home country

  • Boat operator certification would be an asset

  • Scientific Diver (e.g. AAUS) certification would be an asset

Required Work and Related Experience

  • Experience with coral heat-stress assays, ideally across multiple life stages

  • Proficiency in molecular biology/genetics lab techniques and statistical analyses/bioinformatics

  • Experience with genomics and gene expression profiling

  • Track-record of first-author publications relevant to the position

Preferred Work and Related Experience

  • Other -omics and/or epigenetics experience would be an asset

  • Extensive coding experience (R, Python) would be a strong asset

  • Supervisory experience with students or research staff

Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted via Interfolio by 14 December 2023; interviews will be conducted over the following two weeks for those selected. The application should consist of a 1-2 page cover letter elaborating the candidate's background, as well as how each qualification criterion is met. Also include a detailed curriculum vitae, including contact information for three references. For any questions, please reach out to Dr. John Burt at

Employment is contingent upon successful completion of security, health, and reference checks, among other HR processes. The position is for a two- or three-year fixed-term contract, potentially renewable subject to performance. The compensation package is highly competitive and fully tax-free, including benefits such as housing allowance, annual flights, healthcare, and provisions for dependents.  Join the Burt Lab to engage in a dynamic international work environment, set in a location that is unparalleled for climate change research.


NYU Abu Dhabi is a degree-granting research university with a fully integrated liberal arts and science undergraduate program in the Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Engineering. NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU New York, and NYU Shanghai, form the backbone of NYU s global network university, an interconnected network of portal campuses and academic centers across six continents that enable seamless international mobility of students and faculty in their pursuit of academic and scholarly activity. This global university represents a transformative shift in higher education, one in which the intellectual and creative endeavors of academia are shaped and examined through an international and multicultural perspective. As a major intellectual hub at the crossroads of the Arab world, NYUAD serves as a center for scholarly thought, advanced research, knowledge creation, and sharing, through its academic, research, and creative activities.

EOE/AA/Minorities/Females/Vet/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Employer

UAE Nationals are encouraged to apply.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

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NYU is an equal opportunity employer committed to equity, diversity, and social inclusion.


NYU's agreement with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to create NYU Abu Dhabi is the outcome of a shared understanding of the essential roles and challenges of higher education in the 21st century: a common belief in the value of a liberal arts education, concurrence on the benefits a research university brings to the society that sustains it, a conviction that interaction with new ideas and people who are different is valuable and necessary, and a commitment to educating students who are true citizens of the world. As the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university, NYU Abu Dhabi has been built on the following principles:

  • NYU Abu Dhabi is a research university with a fully integrated liberal arts and science college. It draws students from around the world, and prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of our interconnected world.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi equips students for leadership in all arenas of human endeavor. It fosters curiosity, creativity, and critical reflection. At NYUAD, students extend themselves and the frontiers of knowledge.
  • The residential life of students is central to the University's academic mission. Learning takes place across the campus, not only in classrooms, but also in residential houses, through participation in clubs and sports, during informal campus gatherings, and being engaged with the wider community.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi stimulates advanced research. The NYUAD Institute is a major research center. Research is integral to the undergraduate experience at NYU Abu Dhabi, and it will also drive the University's graduate programs.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU New York form the backbone of a fully connected global network university. As one of the two major hubs in the global network, NYUAD creates a unique capacity for faculty and students to access the assets of the entire university system.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi advances the city of Abu Dhabi as a magnetic center of ideas and human talent.


NYU Abu Dhabi consists of a highly selective liberal arts and sciences college and a world center for advanced research and scholarship — integrated with each other and connected through technology to NYU New York.

Together, NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU New York form the backbone of a unique global network university that equips students for leadership in all arenas of human endeavor by fostering curiosity, creativity, and critical reflection.

NYU Abu Dhabi is a central component of Abu Dhabi's vision of becoming a leading world idea capital. For its first four years, the University is located in the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi. In 2014, it will move to its permanent home on Saadiyat Island, where it will be joined by neighbors including the Guggenheim, the Louvre, the Zayed National Museum, and a world-class performing arts center.

In working for NYU Abu Dhabi, you will help to build the world's first truly global university and research institute. The University's faculty and staff come from around the world, and the first class of students, who arrived in the fall of 2010, is one of the most geographically diverse student bodies on the planet. To date, NYU Abu Dhabi's staff alone is comprised of individuals from more than 30 different countries. For NYU Abu Dhabi, creating a culture of inclusion contributes not only to our success, but also to the richness of the talented staff that we can attract. When you join us as an employee, we look forward to learning more about your culture and seeing things from your unique viewpoint.

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