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Postdoctoral Researcher in Marine Molecular Ecology

The University of Southern Mississippi is currently accepting applications for the position of Postdoctoral Researcher in Marine Molecular Ecology.

Position Details
Location Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

703 East Beach Drive
Ocean Springs, Mississippi, 39564
United States
Division Coastal Sciences
Position Type Staff
Employment Status Full Time
Grant Funded Yes
Salary Range 55,620.00 - 55,620.00
Posting Close Date Open until filled

Job Summary 
The Hamdan Lab at the University of Southern Mississippi seeks a Postdoctoral Research Scientist to support a 3-year project funded by NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute. This project will contribute to multidisciplinary investigation of benthic microbial communities in the Gulf of Mexico. Project work will contribute to characterizing the seafloor in areas potentially inured by the Deepwater Horizon spill. The study investigates sediment microbiomes using culture-independent techniques to investigate community composition, alpha and beta diversity and metabolic potential. These data will contribute to monitoring ecosystem state and trajectory in sediment. The position will oversee the day-to-day management of this research project, in consultation with the principal investigator, and lead research efforts in collaboration with external scientists coordinating analysis of geochemical and macrofaunal data sets. Data management, laboratory analyses, data synthesis, publication of results in peer-reviewed journals and management of a project budget will be carried out as part of this position. Individuals with experience with microbiology and biogeochemistry, with specific knowledge and molecular biological techniques (DNA extraction, amplification, sequencing) are encouraged to apply. Experience and proficiency in bioinformatics and statistical analysis are desired. All applications must be submitted through the USM career site. Please contact Leila Hamdan ( with specific questions.

 Primary Duties and Responsibilities  

  1.  Develop experimental design and analyses to study potentially oil-impacted sediment microbiomes and metagenomes to characterize bacterial, archaeal, and fungal communities.
  2. Develop expertise in deep-sea sediment microbial communities and contribute new knowledge and ideas to this area of research.
  3. Develop and apply bioinformatics tools and approaches to identify communities, relevant taxa and associations. Learn and apply machine learning tools to datasets generated during the study.
  4. Participate in planning and executing field work on board USM’s Research Vessel Point Sur, and other oceanographic research vessels during 2 -4 week field campaigns. 
  5. Contribute to written and oral communication, including peer-reviewed manuscripts, blog posts, outreach through social media, and the public.
  6. Archives data and maintains databases, and contributes to budget management.
  7. Participate in student mentoring.
  8. Perform other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications 
A Ph.D. from an accredited college or university in coastal or marine sciences, microbiology, geomicrobiology, biogeochemistry or similar field.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities 
  • Proficiency in laboratory practice, experimental design, laboratory safety procedures
  • A high level of computer literacy
  • Ability to read and interpret safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and ability and interest in communicating with diverse groups
  • Ability to write reports, correspondence, and peer-reviewed manuscripts 
  • Ability and interest in contributing to outreach activities.
  • Ability to contribute to a positive work environment built on trust and transparency that values different perspectives and backgrounds
Preferred Qualifications  
Experience with analytical laboratory methods, experience with molecular biology methods, proficiency in bioinformatics and statistical analysis.

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of only 131 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education's "R1: Doctoral Universities - Very high research activity" designation, and its robust research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and large event venue safety and security, among others.  USM is also one of only 37 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $600 million across the state. USM welcomes a diverse student body of more than 14,000, representing 71 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have collected four Truman Scholarships and 37 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, while also leading Mississippi with 27 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit

As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer/Americans with Disabilities Act institution, The University of Southern Mississippi encourages minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities to apply.


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