Postdoctoral Research Associate
Illinois Natural History Survey
Prairie Research Institute
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) investigates and documents the biological resources of Illinois and other areas, and acquires and provides natural history information that can be used to promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources. INHS is part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. Learn more at go.illinois.edu/PRIjobs.
The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit http://go.illinois.edu/EEO.
The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to assist with projects centered on the efficacy of environmental DNA to inform management of rare, threatened, and/or endangered (RTE) species in aquatic systems. Specifically, this research will use both single-species quantitative PCR assays as well as community metabarcoding to assess occupancy of RTE turtle species in the Midwest.
The associate will work under the direction of Dr. Mark Davis, Associate Research Scientist. The position is based in Champaign, Illinois, on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus, where the successful applicant will join an interdisciplinary community of researchers, graduate students, and technicians. Funding for the position is guaranteed for two years.
Major Duties and Responsibilities:
- Design and validate primers and probes, compare their efficacy of detecting target species, and develop best-practices and work-flow recommendations.
- Generate data via both qPCR and next generation sequencing.
- Lead seasonal field eDNA sampling via water filtration, and coordinate DNA extraction and quantification.
- Conduct library preparation for eDNA community metabarcoding to document turtle communities.
- Execute qPCR of eDNA samples to detect targeted turtle species of conservation concern.
- Analyze data, synthesize results, write annual technical reports, and lead the preparation of multiple manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed scientific journals.
- Assist in training and mentorship of graduate and undergraduate student partners.
- Disseminate research findings to management agencies, the scientific community, and general public through presentations at professional meetings, written reports, and public outreach activities
- Work closely and coordinate efforts between state, federal, and University partners associated with the project.
- Ensure the safety of staff and equipment.
- Respond to requests for scientific/technical information and communicate effectively with collaborators.
- Participate in community outreach and service events, and mentor hourly staff
- Keep abreast of developments in this discipline
- Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of the Survey, PRI, and the University of Illinois
Applicants should have a Ph.D. (within the last 10 years or by the start date) with extensive experience in eDNA data generation and analyses with particular expertise in both qPCR and community metabarcoding. Alternate degree fields in ecology or natural sciences will be considered depending on the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position. Applicant should possess strong analytical skills and proficiency with R, command line, python, and modern bioinformatics pipelines for metabarcoding data. Applicants with experience in reptile eDNA are preferred.
A minimum of three years conducting eDNA assessments on fish and/or wildlife. Must be able to write clearly and scientifically as demonstrated through prior publications. Must possess excellent organizational, interpersonal, oral and written communication skills. Ability to apply analytical/scientific thinking to define and solve problems. Ability to work independently, collect and analyze both qPCCR and community metabarcoding data, and coherently communicate findings (verbally and in writing) to granting agencies and to scientific and public communities. Experience managing and analyzing “Big Data” sets is a preferred. Skills in effective communication, personal relations, collaboration, organization, teamwork, and leadership are required. Demonstrated ability to perform effectively in a diverse and fast-paced work environment under stringent deadlines with minimal supervision. Attention to detail, sound judgment, and strong conflict resolution skills are required. Must have valid driver's license.
Salary and Appointment
Funding for the position is guaranteed for two years, with a salary of $48,000 plus benefits.
For full consideration, applications should be received by July 8, 2022, but this position will remain open until filled. To be considered for the position, applicants should send a 1) cover letter that clearly articulates how your qualifications and experience make you a viable candidate for this position and should address the qualifications listed above, 2) a CV, and 3) the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of three professional references to Dr. Mark Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment.
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