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University of Washington: Postdoctoral Scholar in Metagenomics of Chemosynthetic Communities

(posted 2019-09-10)
Location Seattle, WA
Deadline Nov 2, 2019 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time Description

The University of Washington (UW) is proud to be one of the nation’s premier educational and research institutions. Our people are the most important asset in our pursuit of achieving excellence in education, research, and community service. Our staff not only enjoys outstanding benefits and professional growth opportunities, but also an environment noted for diversity, community involvement, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits, and natural beauty.

The University of Washington is located in the greater Seattle metropolitan area, with a dynamic, multicultural community of 3.7 million people and a range of ecosystems from mountains to ocean. The UW serves a diverse population of 80,000 students, faculty and staff including 25% first-generation college students, over 25% Pell Grant student and faculty from over 70 countries. The UW is a recipient of a National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Award to increase the advancement of women in science, engineering, and math (see

The Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington has a position for a Postdoctoral Scholar working on marine microbial, invertebrate and fish environmental DNA genetics/genomics/bioinformatics of hydrothermal vent and methane seep chemosynthetic communities in the G3 lab (Genetics and Genomics Group) at NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Dr. Carol Stepien and Dr. David Butterfield, affiliate faculty in Oceanography, are co-mentors for this position. This is a 12-month, full-time (100% FTE) appointment, renewable for a second year, subject to approval, satisfactory performance, and availability of funding.

The G3 lab uses multi-locus metabarcoding and RADseq to study oceanic biological community responses to physical and chemical oceanographic parameters. We identify, quantify, and assess component species and population genetic relationships for microbes, invertebrates and fishes using environmental DNA (eDNA), plankton, and sediment samples collected with plankton tows, CTD casts, ROVs, and sediment core sampling. Our study regions include the North American West Coast, Salish Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and U.S. Arctic ecosystems, as well as deep sea vents and seeps across the Pacific; the latter will be the focus for this position. We compare biological, physical, and chemical oceanographic parameters to study connectivity among systems and predict the effects of environmental change, including potential deep sea mining, volcanic eruptions, and other disturbances. The new postdoctoral researcher will have the opportunity to design and undertake an independent investigation of hydrothermal vent and methane seep biological community diversity, with significant opportunities for field work. We are particularly interested in understanding the connection between the geochemical environment and chemosynthetic ecosystems, and in using microbial and environmental DNA in the ocean water column to link subseafloor hydrothermal and cold seep processes to benthic vent and seep fauna.

The duties and research responsibilities include:
· Conducts bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing DNA assays and analyses
· Collects and statistically analyzes data, ensuring accuracy and data security
· Co-authors and writes peer-reviewed scientific publications
· Presents papers at scientific conferences; participates in external seminars, workshops, professional societies and committees
· Updates website on progress of projects
· Manages regulatory documentation/paperwork
· Writes or assists with grant proposals
· Helps graduate and undergraduate student researchers with lab work
· Conducts work requiring judgment in the evaluation, selection, and adaptation/modification of standard techniques, procedures and criteria
· Uses a wide application of complex principles, theories and concepts in the fields of genetics and genomics
· Possesses and applies knowledge of genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics, and advances state-of-the-art research in these areas


· Excellent verbal and written skills.
· Strong research skills.
· Ability to work independently.
· Effective problem solving/critical thinking skills.
· Strong technical communication and collaboration skills.

Educational requirement: PhD in Biology, Ecology, or Biological Oceanography or closely related field with specialization in Molecular Genetics. Research Associate is considered a junior rank and requires recent completion of professional training (in many fields marked by a PhD) and the promise of a successful career in research.

Experience requirement, minimum: Two or more years’ experience in DNA extraction, PCR, DNA sequencing, phylogenetic analysis, population genetics, environmental DNA, bioinformatics

Limitations on Appointment: Appointment not to exceed 5 years, including postdoctoral experience(s) at other institutions. Postdoctoral Scholars are engaged in full-time mentored advanced training to enhance professional skills and research independence, and perform primarily research and scholarship under the direction and supervision of University faculty mentors.

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except where there are legal requirements such as license/certification/registration.

The workplace is NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, a federal laboratory located about 3 miles from the UW. For this reason, only U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be considered.

Postdoctoral scholars are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website.

Application Instructions

Applicants must submit a cover letter, full CV and bibliography.
You must apply for this position online at

If selected for interview, applicants will also be asked to provide 3 letters of recommendation (sent directly to search committee from writer) and a short research proposal (maximum 5 pages).
Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

Commitment to Diversity
The University of Washington is committed to building diversity among its faculty, librarian, staff, and student communities, and articulates that commitment in the UW Diversity Blueprint ( Additionally, the University’s Faculty Code recognizes faculty efforts in research, teaching and/or service that address diversity and equal opportunity as important contributions to a faculty member’s academic profile and responsibilities (