Microbial Ecology Postdoctoral Researcher at Smithsonian, Washington, DC

Smithsonian National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute
Center for Conservation Genomics, Washington, DC

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to join a multidisciplinary team to investigate the microbial-immune interface in amphibians. The project is funded through a National Science Foundation grant The amphibian skin microbial-immune interface and its impact on infection outcome. Our overarching research question is: how do microbiome and immune system components interact and influence infection outcome? We are using cutting-edge immunological, genomic and proteomic approaches at multiple experimental scales, and combining these comprehensive system-level datasets with network analyses and structural equation modeling to identify mechanisms that underlie responses among interacting host microbiomes, host immune systems, and pathogen in skin symbioses and disease.

The postdoctoral researcher will join the team to specialize on the microbial aspect of the microbial-immune interface. They will be responsible for conducting culturing assays, molecular work, and laboratory exposure experiments as well as analyzing data, presenting results to team members and at scientific meetings, and preparation of manuscripts. The applicant must have the ability to conduct lab operations, analyze data with bioinformatics and multivariate statistics, and write high-impact publications. The position offers opportunities for mentoring interns. Research will be conducted in a well-equipped, modern laboratory.

The position is based in the research group of Dr. Carly Muletz Wolz (Carly R. Muletz Wolz | Smithsonian's National Zoo), and in collaboration with Dr. Brian Gratwicke (Brian Gratwicke | Smithsonian's National Zoo) and Roberto Ibáñez (https://stri.si.edu/scientist/roberto-ibanez).

Duty Station:
The position will be based in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation Genomics.

Candidates must have the following qualifications:
• Ph.D. in biological sciences, genetics, microbiology, or a related field
• A background in or interest in microbial ecology and conservation
• Ability to design and execute experimental studies
• Ability to travel to Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama to conduct laboratory experiments
• Experience with molecular techniques including: DNA extractions, PCR, qPCR for pathogen diagnostics, 16S rRNA library prep and other library prep methods for high-throughput sequencing
• Experience analyzing metabarcoding and/or genomic data
• Experienced with culturing microorganisms (fungi and/or bacteria)
• Experience compiling, managing, and analyzing large, complex datasets
• Experience with R and/or other programming languages

Preferred qualifications include:
• Experience with pathogen exposure experiments
• Familiarity with structural equation modelling and network analyses
• A background in or interest in genomics or proteogenomics
• Experience supervising students/interns
• The ability to bridge fields, including microbial ecology, genomics/transcriptomics, statistics, proteomics and immunology
• Proficiency in Spanish

Duration: 18 months

Target Start Date: August – September 2023

Eligibility: U.S. citizenship is not required, however the candidate must either already possess status to work in the U.S. at Smithsonian or must be eligible for Smithsonian sponsorship. Please note that processing time for anyone requiring Smithsonian sponsorship (3-6 months) may preclude selection based on the timing of deliverables.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. We strive to maximize the diversity, equity, and inclusiveness of our organization. We encourage candidates that represent and embody the diversity found within our community to apply.

Salary: IS-9 (Smithsonian Trust position equivalent to a GS-9 Federal Pay Scale). The 2023 locality pay for the area of Washington, D.C. is $64,957.

Benefits: Health and retirement benefits will be provided according to those given for Trust employees: Link: Employee Benefits | Smithsonian Institution

To apply: Submit the following to Dr. Muletz Wolz via [email protected] by May 15th, 2023
• An email with the following in the subject line of the email: Application for Microbial Ecologist Postdoctoral Researcher
• An attachment of a single PDF that includes:
o a one-page cover letter explaining research interests and experience
o a CV
o contact information for two referees
o up to three representative reprints

For any questions or for more detail about this position prior to applying, please email Dr. Muletz Wolz.