Join us!

In the next year, I will be building our lab group at Penn State. I will be hiring a technician and postdoc (ideal start date is summer 2020). I am also recruiting graduate students for Fall 2020. Both of these job openings will be officially posted on the HR website in early February.

Lab Technician/Manager:

I will also be hiring a lab technician/manager who will work closely with me to get the lab up and running smoothly. This person will be responsible for supporting the diverse research projects in the lab and will also be in have ownership of experiments with legumes and rhizobia. A Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Ecology, Plant Science, Microbiology, Environmental Science, or related field is required. Candidates with a master’s degree in one of these fields will also be considered. Baseline competencies in computing and the willingness to learn collaborative software (e.g., SLACK, google docs, electronic lab notebooks) are required. Prior experience working with plants and/or microbes is desirable as well as experience with basic molecular biology techniques such as DNA and RNA extractions. I am looking for a technician/manager that is organized, creative, and independent, and that works well in both lab and field environments.

Postdoc:

The postdoc position is funded by a collaborative NSF PGRP grant “Genomics of strain- and host-specific performance in the legume-rhizobia symbiosis” (co-PI’s P. Tiffin, L. Burghardt, K. Heath, N. Young, and M. Sadowsky). In addition to working towards the general aims of this project, the postdoc will use a Select & Resequence methodology to screen a panel for legume host mutants for rhizobial candidate genes underlying host-strain specificity (as in our recent Plant Physiology paper). The postdoc will have the opportunity to conduct follow-up studies on the functional genetics of symbiosis and provided the freedom to develop and pursue their research directions (e.g., root architecture, leguminous cover crops, and plant-microbe responses to abiotic stressors). The successful candidate will have completed a Ph.D. in Biology, Ecology/Evolution, Plant Sciences, Microbiology, or related field at the time of assuming the position. Desirable skills include the ability to conduct manipulative experiments with plants and/or microbes, experience using bioinformatic pipelines to analyze whole-genome sequence data and perform statistical analysis with R, and a demonstrated publication record. Initially, this position will be for a one-year appointment, but there is an excellent probability of renewal for additional years provided satisfactory progress.

I am also happy to work with postdocs interested in securing their own funding (e.g., NSF postdoc, NIFA postdoc, or Fulbright Fellowship).

Graduate students:

I am always looking for curious, creative, dedicated, and interesting students to learn alongside. I can take students through several programs, including Plant Sciences, and the inter-college graduate programs in Ecology, Plant Biology, and Bioinformatics & Genomics. We can discuss what might be the best option for you.

Grad students will be funded through a combination of TA- and RA-ships. There are also various ways to secure your own funding (e.g., NSF GRFP) that provide additional independence. If you intend to apply to the lab, I am happy to work with you on putting together those applications.

To start a conversation about grad school, please send me a ‘pre-application’ in the late summer/early fall of the year you plan to apply to Penn State. In the email, please explain your educational background, interest in the lab, and goals for graduate school. Please also attach your CV (info on putting together a CV).