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Junior Specialist-Hess Lab

Position overview

Salary range: A reasonable estimate for this position is $51,300 Step 1, $54,600 Step 2

Application Window

Open date: May 8, 2024

Most recent review date: Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.

Final date: Monday, Aug 5, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

The position of Junior Specialist provides technical or specialized expertise in the planning and execution of a research project. The Junior Specialist stays apprised of the research area and maintains technical competence in the designated area(s) of specialization. We are seeking a Junior Specialist to join our research team studying microbiomes associated with the rumen and other anaerobic ecosystems. Our team is interested in understanding the relationships between microbes and microbial enzymes in biomass degradation and the production of greenhouse gases. Specifically, our research focuses on fundamental biology of microbial interactions with each other and their environments. Outcomes of our research includes improvements in methods of biomass degradation and methods to improve animal health and anaerobic digestion and other approaches. The role of this position is to provide specialized expertise in microbiology and molecular biology for the lab of Prof. Matthias Hess at UC Davis. The Junior Specialist is to be actively and significantly engaged in research involving several projects on rumen microbes, anaerobic digestion and environmental microbiome analyses This research may also use animal and cell culture models to understand the potential impact of abiotic and biotic compounds on anaerobic digestions and the production of greenhouse gases and their interaction with microbial communities and the host. The Junior Specialist will have the opportunity to have creative input into the design of and selection of experiments to meet the study objectives. The Junior Specialist will be expected to analyze and interpret data he/she collects and then, through critical thinking, propose next steps (experiments) to be discussed with the PI. The incumbent will contribute significantly to the advancement of the projects, and creatively contribute proposals of experimental steps that result from research findings. These activities may lead to manuscripts published in peer-reviewed microbiology journals. This is an inherently creative process that requires good to excellent experience of the field and appropriate research literature. As the Junior Specialist will be consulted during study design, candidates are expected to have previous experience in microbiology or molecular biology with basic microbiological and laboratory practices including sterile technique, serial dilutions, plating, pipetting. Preferred qualifications include plating methods for propagation, enumeration and isolation of bacterial species, DNA extractions from rumen content, bioreactors, feces and other environmental samples, PCR, qPCR, high-throughput DNA sequencing and bioinformatics analysis, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell culture techniques, and Western blotting. The candidate will perform physicochemical analyzes of microbial enzymes and test biotic and abiotic compounds for their potential to alter the function of microbiomes. The successful candidate needs to have excellent communication and organizational skills. The candidate should be able to work independently after initial training, be meticulous and alert, and be comfortable with automatic, repetitive tasks. The Junior Specialist will also contribute to the day-to-day laboratory management duties, including supplies acquisition, safety reporting, and equipment maintenance. The junior specialist will also be responsible to train new lab members in laboratory and safety procedures. In addition to research, the Junior Specialist will participate and present in weekly Hess Lab meetings.

a. The Junior Specialist will use their academic and professional expertise to make scientific contributions to a research study and will contribute to published research. Under the general direction of the Principal Investigator, the Junior Specialist will collaborate with other research personnel as part of projects that concentrate on microbiomes and microbial enzymes from the rumen and other anaerobic ecosystems. Specifically, the research focuses on the interaction of individual microbes, microbial populations and microbial enzymes with each other and their environments with particular focus on the rumen environment. Outcomes of our research includes an enhanced understanding of microbial interactions and improved strategies to render agricultural practices more sustainable and productive.
b. The Junior Specialist will be actively engaged in preparation of samples for microbiome analysis, standard microbiological techniques, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell culture, molecular biology techniques such as PCR and qPCR and bacterial transformations. The Junior specialist will also be participating in the generation and analysis of omics data.
c. The Junior Specialist will assist with laboratory maintenance tasks, including safety management, maintaining the chemical inventory, managing lab waste, and other lab maintenance tasks.
d. The Junior Specialist will be responsible for quality checking of results and for maintaining appropriate backups of project data.
e. The Junior Specialist will draft tables and figures for scientific publications. Similarly, the candidate will participate in the drafting and revising of study manuscripts on an as needed basis.

a. The Junior Specialist will participate in appropriate professional societies or groups in the field of microbiology, animal science, and biotechnology.
b. The Junior Specialist will offer technical and creative contributions to the manuscript preparation.
c. The Junior Specialist will conduct literature searches for articles relevant to the research topic, engage in discussions of data with the Principal Investigators, and contribute to manuscript preparation and presentation of research findings.

The Junior Specialist is expected to mentor undergraduates or student interns working in the Hess Lab.


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

• BS in animal biology, biotechnology, microbiology, molecular biology, or other
related fields

Additional qualifications (required at time of start)

• Familiarity with standard software (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
• Excellent communication and organizational skills
• Comfortable working with biological human and animal samples.

Preferred qualifications (other preferred, but not required, qualifications for the position)

• Experience in microbiological research.
• Experience in basic laboratory practices including sterile technique, serial dilutions, plating, pipetting, etc.
• Experience with in-vitro gut systems.
• Experience with aseptic and anaerobic techniques.
• Experience with maintaining laboratory supply and reagent inventory.
• Experience with operating gas chromatographs (GC) and analyze GC data.
• Knowledge of plating methods for propagation, enumeration and isolation of bacterial species.
• Experience in environmental DNA extractions and PCR.
• Experience using PCR and quantitative real-time PCR.
• Species identification by the analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences.
• Identification of bacteria in mixed communities (high-throughput DNA sequencing and bioinformatics).
• Protein analysis by Western blot.
• Experience with enzyme characterization.
• Experience with Ankom bioreactors.
• Experience with handling large animals (i.e., ruminants).

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

  • Statement of Research (Optional)

  • Statement of Teaching (Optional)

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a statement and why one is requested.

Reference requirements
  • 3-5 required (contact information only)
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About UC Davis

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Job location

Davis, CA