||Postdoctoral Fellow - Biology
The purpose of this position is to coordinate and manage the existing research enterprise in the Brzostek lab that seeks to improve our predictive understanding of how forests will respond to environmental change. Specifically, research in the lab aims to use
both measurements and models to understand how the strategies plants employ belowground to mobilize nutrients impacts carbon cycling at scales ranging from the ecosystem to the globe. The incumbent will be tasked with leading field campaigns, synthesizing
existing data in the lab, and developing predictive models of forest function. The incumbent will also be tasked with writing scientific publications and preparing extramural grant proposals.
The incumbent serves as a resource contact relative to the research project. Depth skills, knowledge, and interpretive abilities, as well as some creativity, are required to successfully perform duties. Independently uses professional concepts and organizational
policies to solve a wide range of moderate to complex problems in imaginative and practical ways. Work effort often addresses non-routine matters within established protocol, guidelines, and/or policies. Work effort has significant impact on client services
and operations, producing moderate to major organizational, legal and financial results and/or liabilities. Position duties require oversight of projects.
Duties & Responsibilities
Responsibilities are functional in nature, and performed under limited supervision. Specific tasks include, but are not limited to:
1) Develop a predictive model of plant-microbial interactions in forest soils.
2) Synthesize existing data to generate validation for model developments.
3) Lead field campaigns to measure the response of plant-microbial interactions in forests to environmental change.
4) Perform chemical analyses of plant and soil samples in the lab.
5) Manage hourly student workers to ensure proper sample analysis and data quality control.
6) Travel to remote field sites to collect plant and soil samples.
7) Communicate research orally at scientific meetings as well as written publications in scientific journals.
8) Assist in the preparation of grant proposals to federal agencies including DOE, NSF, and USDA.
This position reports to the Principal Investigator. It normally receives no instructions on routine work, but will receive instructions/advice when starting a new project or when a difficulty arises in the current project. Typically determines methods or procedures
and consults with the supervisor on new assignments. General sharing of knowledge and team participation is expected in the role. Guidance or supervision of others may be required.
Requires physical abilities to perform laboratory research, including manual dexterity and abilities to see, hear, walk, talk, and feel. Individual is required to lift and carry items of 25 lbs or less or transport such items by cart. Walking and stair climbing
occur on a daily basis.
Work will be performed in a standard laboratory environment, using computers and laboratory equipment with electrical connections. The incumbent must comply with all laboratory safety procedures and clothing/equipment requirements. There will be exposure to
laboratory chemicals, electrical supplies, but protective measures will be provided.
The following have been determined as possible job exposures of this position requiring WVU Environmental Health and Safety medical monitoring:
1) Contacting Hazardous Chemicals – daily or weekly, using strong acids or caustics, fuel or tar products or cancer-causing chemicals
Education and/or Experience
1) PhD in Biology, Environmental Sciences or a related field;
2) 1-3 years of experience in performing field and laboratory research on forest ecology.
Skills, Knowledge, Abilities
1) Skilled at performing research in the field, including setting up research plots in the forest and collecting environmental samples.
2) Ability to perform basic assays of soil and plant nutrient status.
3) Knowledge of forest ecology, including both ecosystem level biogeochemical cycling and the impacts of forests on global biogeochemical cycles.
4) Skilled at scientific writing of manuscripts for publication and assisting in the prepration of extramural grant proposals.
5) Skilled at using computer programming languages (e.g., Matlab, R, Python) to perform statistical analyses and model ecological functions.
6) Skilled at using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
7) Skilled at identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
8) The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
9) Ability to document and present the results of research.
10) Ability to write speeches and articles for publication that conform to prescribed style and format as well as use original or innovative techniques or style due to the nature of the scientific content of the material being presented.
11) Ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to technical and non-technical audiences
12) Ability to apply principles of logical or scientific thinking to a wide range of intellectual and practical problems.
13) Ability to deal with nonverbal symbolism (formulas, scientific equations, graphs, etc.).
14) Ability to deal with a variety of abstract and concrete variables.
15) Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in mathematical or diagram form.
16) Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts and draw valid conclusions.
17) Ability to meet deadlines, as well as prepare, present and report results effectively.
18) Ability to collaborate effectively with a multidisciplinary team of co-investigators from diverse disciplines, orientations, and organizations.
19) Ability to do strategic planning for program development.
1) Technical skills – Strives to continuously build knowledge and skills; pursues training and development opportunities; assess strengths, weaknesses, and shares expertise with others.
2) Problem solving – Gathers and analyzes information, identifies problems, develops alternatives, uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics and works well in groups and resolves matters timely.
3) Interpersonal Interactions in the Workplace – Manages difficult or emotional matters with objectivity and openness; responds promptly to needs and requests for service and assistance; meets commitments and dates, notifies others if change occurs; provides,
solicits and applies feedback; and builds goodwill through balanced contributions, positive approach, respect and support of others.
4) Communications – Demonstrates group presentation skills, participates in meetings, listens and gets clarification, is responsive and speaks clearly and persuasively in positive and negative situations. Writes and edits clearly and informatively, varies style
to meet needs, presents numerical data effectively, and able to read and interpret written information.
5) Organizational Support – Aligns work and develops strategies to meet organizational goals; seeks to improve and promote quality; demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; and upholds organizational expectations and values.
6) Self-Management – Responds to management direction; resourcefully adapts to changes in work environment and circumstances; responds well under pressure and manages competing demands; takes calculated risks, asks for and offers help when needed; exercise
discretion and sound judgment; is tactful and responsible for own actions. Adheres to work schedule and complies with leave management responsibilities.
Preferred Qualifications & Credentials
Education and/or Experience
1) Experience in using computer programming languages (e.g., R, Matlab, Python) to perform statistical and predictive modeling of forest ecosystem function.
- AA/EOE/Minorities/Females/Vet/Disability/E-Verify Compliant Employer.
- Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP
- The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access
to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure
is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information.
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