Postdoctoral Investigator



Haverford College invites applications to our available full time, exempt, fixed term (28 months) Postdoctoral Investigator in Marine Symbiosis with Bacterial Bioengineering Expertise position.

This newly funded NSF project “Implications of Bacterially Driven Cross-Kingdom Chemical Interactions” will support the hiring of four postdoctoral researchers collaborating across four academic institutions. These researchers will apply integrated ‘omic methods & microbial bioengineering to tease apart the metabolic landscape defining a host-bacterial symbiosis in a model marine system, and detail how chemical messengers induce host metabolic reprogramming resulting in ecosystem level consequences.

This project will support the training and mentoring of early career scientists in the chemical, biological, and environmental sciences. We seek candidates with experience and interests in marine microbiology, bacterial biosensor design and construction, mass spectrometry-based proteomics and/or metabolomics; as well as capabilities in experimental design, critical analysis of complex datasets, and clear scientific communication. In addition to each leading an aspect of this collaborative research project at one of the four host institutions, the postdocs will gain experience in innovative pedagogy and hands-on teaching through a seven-week course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) at Haverford College with the goal of becoming more reflective, engaged, and effective teachers. Teaching modules will be developed around each postdoc's research focus. To assist each postdoctoral trainee in implementing inclusive teaching practices, postdocs will be paired with Students as Learners and Teachers (SaLT) consultants to assist postdocs in becoming more reflective, engaged, and effective teachers. Additional career preparation will be provided through conference-based experiential workshops to acquire vital skills in teaching, pedagogical development, mentoring, scientific publishing, collaboration, grantsmanship, and communication.

The initial appointment is for one year and continued funding is available for an additional 16 months contingent upon satisfactory progress. Competitive salary and benefits package included. Additional support is provided for both teaching, career development, and relocation costs will be made available.

Essential Functions & Primary Responsibilities:

A Postdoctoral Investigator position is available in the laboratory of Asst. Professor Kristen Whalen at Haverford College in the Department of Biology. We examine marine symbiosis through the lens of small molecule chemical messengers that shape communities and influence the biogeochemical fate of oceanic nutrients. Our lab elucidates the chemical signals that mediate phytoplankton-bacteria interactions and deciphers the environmental drivers of these interactions. Working with our model marine phytoplankton,Emiliania huxleyi, we are teasing apart the metabolic landscape that defines this model host-bacterial symbiosis and detail how and when chemical messengers induce host metabolic reprogramming resulting in ecosystem level consequences, including protection from viral-induced mortality. This project aims to develop single-cell level fluorescent biosenors in the marine bacterium,Pseudoalteromonas piscicida, to detect the production of the quorum sensing signal, 2-heptyl-4-quinolone (HHQ) in co-cultures with the phytoplankton host. We expect our heterologous alkylquinolone-responsive reporter system to mirror the sensitivity reported previously for other quorum sensing signals.

Line of Report: This position reports to Dr. Kristen Whalen

Education, Training, & Experience:

  • Ph.D. in biological sciences, bioengineering, oceanography, or microbiology is required.
  • Documented experience with genetic manipulation of bacteria and development in synthetic biology and microbiology.
  • Experience in engineering bacterial strains for functions. This might include design, assembly, and modeling of genetic circuits.
  • Experience and knowledge in bacterial physiology. Knowledge of quorum sensing systems is preferred.
  • Experience as an innovative experimentalist in genetic manipulations including experimental design, techniques, and execution.
  • Ability to develop independence research projects as demonstrated through publication of peer-reviewed literature.
  • Proficient verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills to collaborate effectively with undergraduate researchers and present and explain technical information.
  • Desired gene editing experience in non-model strains (non-E.coli systems).
  • Interest and desire to develop course-based undergraduate research experiences in a liberal arts setting.




Physical Demands and Environmental Conditions Required of this Position:

  • Lifting (to exert strength to move objects from one place to another):

    • Sedentary Lifting: (0-10 pounds)Up to three hours
    • Light Lifting (10-20 pounds):Up to three hours
    • Moderate Lifting (20-50 pounds):Up to three hours
    • Heavy Lifting (50 to 100 pounds):Up to three hours
  • Pulling (to draw an object toward oneself to move or change its direction):Up to three hours
  • Pushing (to exert force upon an abject to move or change its direction):Up to three hours
  • Carrying (to hold objects while moving entire body):Three to six hours
  • Reaching or working above shoulder (to extend arms upward or outward away from body):Three to six hours
  • Walking (to move entire body in erect position):Three to six hours
  • Standing (to maintain body in erect posture in stationary position):Three to six hours
  • Sitting (to rest weight on buttocks and back of thighs with legs bent at knees):Three to six hours
  • Crouching/Stooping (to bend upper body forward while fully flexing knees):Up to three hours
  • Kneeling (to maintain upper body in erect position while resting knees on ground):Up to three hours
  • Climbing (to ascend or descent heights using ladders, scaffolding, stairs, poles, inclined surfaces):Up to three hours
  • Twisting (to rotate upper body while feet remain stationary):Up to three hours
  • Driving (operating a motor vehicle, crane, tractor, forklift, etc.):Never
  • Exposure Limitation (i.e., cold water, dust, gas, fumes, extreme temperatures):Up to three hours


Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

To Apply : Interested candidates should complete an application to include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of research interests and experience , and the names and contact information of three (3) references by visiting https://haverford.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/External/job/Haverford-Campus/Post-Doctoral-Investigator_R298 . The application deadline is Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Failure to provide the required documents may result in lack of consideration.Haverford College does not sponsor work visas.



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