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Postdoctoral Research Associate – Invasive Plant Treatment (Student Services Contractor) with U.S. Geological Survey in Vicksburg, MS

Type of position Postdoctoral Research Associate (Student Services Contractor with US Geological Survey)
Employer U.S. Geological Survey
Location Vicksburg, MS
Description of Location U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS
Salary $42.73 per hour
Closing date of competition 02/10/2023
Date position available 05/08/2023
Description of duties

Project: Developing innovative RNAi-based treatments targeting invasive Phragmites during drought, floods, and other climate-induced stresses

Position Description: The student contractor will serve as a Research Associate supporting the ongoing development of innovative RNAi-based biotechnologies and other novel methods to design, test, refine and apply gene silencing agents to mitigate the invasive Phragmites australis during drought, floods, and other climate-induced stresses (e.g., increased environmental temperature). The contractor will be based primarily at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, MS and play a critical support role for the collaborative USGS-US Army ERDC research by assisting with a variety of duties that include, but are not limited to:

  • Conducting a literature review to establish a baseline understanding of how Phragmites and other invasive plant species respond during periods of drought, flooding, and other climate stresses.
  • Contributing to the designing, developing and refining multiple classes of gene silencing agents (GSAs) for species- and gene-specific knockdown of essential genes to inhibit the growth of invasive P. australis through herbicidal mode of action and eventually destroy the population without impacting nontarget species or the native non-invasive P. australis.
  • Collaborating with a multidisciplinary, multi-institution research consortium team spanning genetics, genomics, bioengineering, plant pathology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, nanotechnology, chemistry, and ecology.
  • Performing benchtop and greenhouse studies to test the GSAs individually or in combinations for their efficacy in inhibition of target genes and desired phenotypic changes.
  • Evaluating and optimizing the composition, dosage and application methods of GSAs as a bioherbicide for controlling the invasive P. australis in response to climate-induced stresses.
  • Assisting the research team in permit application and field studies to assess the select candidate formula and application frequency of GSA-based bioherbicide.
  • Collecting experimental data, giving oral presentations, and preparing technical reports and peer-reviewed publications
Qualifications sought

Education/Experience Requirements: The successful candidate must be currently enrolled as a student or must have received a degree within one year prior to beginning the contract. The candidate must have a PhD degree in molecular biology, bioengineering, genetic engineering, genomics, plant virology or a related field, and an ideal candidate will have:

  • A valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Hands-on experience with molecular cloning, DNA sequencing, quantitative RT-PCR, RNA interference (RNAi)-based gene knockdown, bioinformatics, virus-induced gene silencing is preferred, but not required
  • Great attention to detail, a desire to learn, and the ability to work in an efficient and self-directed manner
  • High motivation with the ability to multi-task and work collaboratively in a team setting
Application procedure  
Submit what To ensure consideration of your application, please send a cover letter, resume or CV, and a list of three professional references to Spenser Widin, [email protected]
Submit to Spenser Widin, [email protected]
Additional Information Other Details: This contract covers a 52-week period with an anticipated start date of May 8th, 2023. The student contractor cannot receive holiday pay, annual leave, or health care benefits, nor can they receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 80 within a two-week period. However, hours in excess of the established 80 per two weeks will be paid at the regular hourly rate. The student will report to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
Engineering Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS for all duties, unless otherwise specified. Office
work will occur in an office equipped with a computer workstation. Moving expenses will not be paid. Lodging
will only be provided when in travel status.

The successful candidate will be hired as an independent contractor. This is not a government position, and time
does not count toward time-in-service.