Research Associate-Fixed Term
Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan

This job has expired.

Job no: 715061
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
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 associate would investigate how gene expression of free-living nitrogen fixers varies over time in a bioenergy cropping system. Growing cellulosic bioenergy like switchgrass, particularly on marginal lands that are not suitable for agriculture, represents an opportunity to replace fossil fuels and sequester carbon into soils, but benefits may be negated if fertilization is required. Optimized biological nitrogen fixation could thus improve sustainability. While nitrogen fixation has been documented in switchgrass cropping systems in the Midwest, we do not understand what controls its rates, and how this relates to nitrogen fixer abundance and gene expression. Work from this project would also contribute to our basic understanding of how microbial habitat and gene expression are linked to aggregate function, and help determine the role of free-living nitrogen fixers in ecosystems.

The successful candidate will join the Evans Lab at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station, but work closely with the Tiemann Lab (MSU), Friesen Lab (Washington State University), personnel on the MMPRNT project ( and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center ( While partial remote work is an option (request in cover letter), the position includes laboratory work, so cannot be fully remote. However, much of the data to complete this project (including soils and ample metadata for these sites) have already been collected, so this represents a unique opportunity to perform an impactful project in a short amount of time.

Start date and salary: The postdoctoral appointment is for one year, with extension contingent on grant renewal and/or securing external funds. Start date will be immediate or near-immediate (Aug 2021 to November 2021).

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 vibrant and 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 8/08/21 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, Molecular Biology

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

    Special Instructions

    Apply by 8/8/21 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



    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.

    Advertised: Jul 9, 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
    Applications close: Jul 9, 2023 Eastern Daylight Time

    This job has expired.

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