Summer internship programs at ORNL (and other DOE labs)

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Summer Department of Energy (DOE) Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI), Community College Internship (CCI) and Visiting Faculty (VF) programs!

If you are aware of students or faculty that may be interested in a summer internship (dates are June2 – August 8, 2014), please have them visit to apply or obtain additional information!  The application deadline is 5:00 p.m. ET on January 10 – applications received after this time WILL NOT be considered for placement.  Summer appointments are 10 weeks in duration and selected applicants must be available to participate for the entire appointment period.

The SULI program encourages undergraduate students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers by providing research experiences at DOE laboratories. The Community College Internship (CCI) program seeks to encourage community college students to enter technical careers relevant to the DOE mission by providing technical training experiences at the DOE laboratories. The Visiting Faculty (VF) program seeks to increase the research competitiveness of faculty members and their students at institutions historically underrepresented in the research community in order to expand the workforce vital to the DOE mission areas.

NOTE: If you are interested in an internship opportunity through this program in my lab directly I will probably be accepting one or two with interests in microbial ecology and/or soil  biogeochemistry. Please drop me an email (schadtcw at ornl dot gov) when you complete your application so that I know to specifically look for your application amongst the 100s in the overall program which ranges from ecology to particle physics!


JOB POST: Postdoctoral Position in the Classen Lab @ UTK

Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology 

Ecosystem Modeling Position
Funding is available for a post-doctoral research associate in the Classen Lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee (UT) (see lab webpage: The post-doc will be expected to work collaboratively within an interdisciplinary research group on a project that will incorporate rhizosphere interactions and soil physical properties into a soil carbon degradation model.
Applicants must have a PhD in ecology or related field. Applicants with a proven track record in modeling and/or belowground processes are strongly encouraged to apply. Specifically, applicants with expertise in soil carbon or enzyme modeling will be given preference. Funding is available for one year with an additional two years possible pending funding. Preferred start date between November 15st and December 1st 2013. In addition to online application please include (in a single PDF) a CV, a statement of research interest and the names and contact information of three references by 1 November 2013 Attention: Aimée Classen.

JOB POST: Another faculty position at UC Berkeley

The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, has an opening for an Assistant Professor (tenure track, nine-month appointment) starting July 1, 2014.

We seek a microbial biologist, who will develop a strong extramurally funded, nationally recognized research program in newly emerging areas of microbiology. Areas of particular interest include use of systems and/or synthetic biology approaches to the fundamental aspects of energy production, global geochemical cycles, anaerobic microbiology or marine microbiology. The desirable candidate will be expected to incorporate a broad spectrum of biochemical, computational, genomic, and proteomic technologies in their program linking microbial physiology to environmental function. The minimum qualifications required to be an applicant is the completion of all degree requirements except dissertation or equivalent by time of application. Candidates must have a Ph.D. or equivalent by the date of hire, a strong background in experimental microbiology and the ability to contribute to instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The successful candidate will join a dynamic and diverse community of microbiologists on the UC Berkeley campus in the Microbial Biology Division (, the Graduate Group in Microbiology ( and the UC Berkeley Energy Biosciences Institute (

All reference letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including when letters are provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service or career center), to the UC Berkeley statement of confidentiality ( prior to submitting their letters.

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted. Send questions to For additional information about the Department, the graduate programs and the campus visit and

JOB POST: Faculty Positions at Kansas State

Tenure Track Faculty Position in Evolutionary Biology
Assistant Professor

The Division of Biology, Kansas State University invites applications
for a tenure-track position in Evolutionary Biology at the Assistant
Professor level beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year.

We seek candidates addressing fundamental, cutting-edge questions in
Evolutionary Biology who will complement the existing strengths in
the Division of Biology and across campus. The candidate’s research
program may focus on any taxon or study system using techniques,
theory and analysis appropriate for successful resolution of the questions.
Minimum requirements include a Ph.D. and post-doctoral experience in
evolutionary biology at the time of appointment and demonstrated
research accomplishments. Successful candidates will be expected to
demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence in scholarship, to
develop an innovative and independent extramurally-funded research
program, and to contribute collaboratively to interdisciplinary
research. Expectations also include teaching and mentoring a diverse
population of undergraduate and graduate students, and contributions
to service and outreach efforts of the Division. The salary will be
commensurate with experience.

The Division of Biology is a large, diverse and collegial faculty
with an excellent record of research and teaching. Extramural
research funding in the Division averages approximately $10M per
year. We have a broad research program that includes numerous faculty
scientists with research interests in evolutionary biology, cell
biology, development, ecology, genetics/genomics, microbiology and
related disciplines in multiple other KSU departments. Additional
information about the Division of Biology programs at Kansas State
University can be found at:

TO APPLY, please email the following in a single PDF file: a cover
letter, complete curriculum vitae, statements of research and
teaching interests, and three representative publications. Please
request that letters from 3 referees be sent to the Evolutionary
Search Committee by email: . Only applications
submitted by email will be accepted. Inquiries only may be directed
to the Search Committee Chair, Dr. Anthony Joern (
Review of applications will begin November 15, 2013, and will
continue until the position is filled.

Kansas State University is located in the city of Manhattan
(, a dynamic college community of about 50,000
located in the scenic Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas. Local
recreational opportunities include a large lake/park system, diverse
outdoor activities, and a rich program in the performing arts.
Manhattan also serves as the regional center for education, health
care, commerce, entertainment and communications.

Kansas State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action
Employer, and actively seeks diversity among its employees. A
background check will be required prior to appointment.

JOB POST: Bioinformatician in the Department of Microbiology at Ohio State

The Microbiology Department at The Ohio State University has the following position in which you may be interested.

Title: Research Associate 2-B/H
Department: Microbiology Admin
Posting Number: 378550

Performs analysis and interpretation of high throughput genomic data; develops experimental procedures and analyzes data; translates biological questions into computational goals using existing methods or developing new algorithms and tools when existing methods are inadequate; designs, develops, modifies, tests, evaluates and maintains customized scripting programs for analyzing, preparing, converting biological data (Illumina and other NGS platforms) for import and export; trains and assists research group members in UNIX/Linux methodologies; performs system administration work including interfacing with collocation facility; orders supplies; configures new computers; maintains quality assurance documentation.

If you are interested in this position, you can apply on our employment site

The good and bad of being a postdoc and student mentor at a research lab…

One of the best things, and one of the worst things, about mentoring and supervising students and postdocs at my institution is when they leave for their next position.  This last month has seen a remarkable confluence of the above.  Two postdocs (Tarah and Meg) have now moved on to fabulous new Assistant Professor positions; my graduate student (Migun) has graduated and moved on to a postdoc; and a visiting summer graduate student (Stacy) has returned to her studies and teaching.  And as if that wasn’t enough, Emily another grad student I co-advise, will finish in November!  This is particularly remarkable as I don’t have a huge group and have never had more than 5-6 students/postdocs in my lab at any given time!

As a mentor, I couldn’t be prouder!

I must be doing something right, or at least have done right initially in picking some smart scientists and dedicated individuals to work with over these last few years. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!

As a Project Manager, PI and Mid-Career Scientist all I can say is yikes! 

All of the projects these folks have worked on have further studies to complete in the near term or are continuing for the long term. This will be a challenge for me as I try to keep making progress over the next few months.  I suspect that I may be having some more hands on time in the lab.  This is a very iffy proposition as I’m extremely rusty in my bench/laboratory skills.  How will I succeed in the lab, analyze data, write papers, conduct searches for replacement students/postdocs, manage projects and budgets, write grant proposals, serve on review panels, peer review and edit papers, serve on committees, etc., etc., and make any reasonable progress on any one of the above?

Check back with me after the new year… If I’m still sane/standing that is!

JOB POST – Two Tenure Track Positions in Wisconsin

1) The Department of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is seeking applicants for a tenure track faculty position in microbial ecology, beginning in August 2014. Successful applicants will contribute to teaching and research within the Environmental Science and Biology undergraduate programs, and the Graduate program in Environmental Science & Policy. UW-Green Bay has outstanding facilities, an innovative interdisciplinary focus, a significant history of research in the field of Environmental Science, and a commitment to building a sustainable future through quality education and community outreach.

We would be grateful if you could forward the attached position description to qualified candidates; the deadline to ensure consideration of applications is Monday 21 October.

If you have specific questions, contact Dr. Michael Draney (, Chair of the Recruitment and Hiring Committee.

2) The Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison invites applications for a 9-month tenure-track faculty position in soil ecology at the assistant professor level. The position will focus on research and instruction in soil ecology including but not limited to linking below-ground processes to ecosystem functions; the dynamics of nutrient, energy, and mass fluxes in soils; the effects of global change on soil processes; and characterizing and evaluating soil biodiversity. The position carries a 75% research/25% teaching distribution effort.

Research responsibilities will include obtaining external funding to maintain a vigorous research program focused on soil ecology. The incumbent will train graduate students, publish in peer-reviewed journals, and is expected to become a leader in soil ecology nationally and internationally. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a world leader in ecology ( and genetics research, and collaboration with a talented and diverse group of faculty and staff across campus is expected and encouraged.

Teaching responsibilities include the ability to teach up to two courses per year serving both undergraduates and graduate students in the field of soil biology and ecology. Opportunities to provide instruction in team-taught courses related to soil ecology are available. The incumbent will also advise graduate students, provide undergraduates with hands-on research opportunities, give occasional guest lectures, and participate in graduate-level seminars. Innovative teaching approaches are encouraged.

Requirements include a PhD in Soil Science, Microbiology, or related discipline; a strong foundation and relevant research experience in the principles and concepts of soil ecology and microbiology; effective oral and written communications skills; experience in teaching in higher education; ability to work effectively across disciplines and with teams; and the ability to lead and motivate others.

Applicants should submit the following materials to Jennifer Etter Goh ( (1) a single pdf containing a cover letter, statements of research and teaching interests, and curriculum vitae; (2) contact information (name, address, phone and e-mail address) of three references; and (3) copies of college transcripts. Please direct questions regarding the position to Professor Doug Soldat ( Applications received by November 22, 2013 will be assured full consideration. Review of applications will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. The University of Wisconsin is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. For further details visit

ORNL Internship Opportunities for Spring Term

Spring undergraduate applications available

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Spring Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program,which encourages undergraduate students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers by providing research experiences at DOE laboratories. Spring internship dates are Jan. 6 through April 25. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1.

New Populus deltoides microbiome paper accepted in PLoS One!

Been waiting on a decision on a long developing story for the past few weeks. We first began watershed level sampling of the roots and rhizosphere of Populus deltoides in the Spring of 2010. Took us until about the Spring of 2011 to get all the microbial sequence data collected. About another 6 months for Migun Shakya’s data analyses to come to near fruition. Then several more months of drafting, redrafting, and refining his paper (I think we made it V7 before submission). The accepted version is linked here on PLoS ONE.

Apparently the work paid off! Just got an acceptance letter from PLoS One unlike any I have ever seen. Two reviews, nothing but praise. Literally, NO changes from either peer reviewer. The editor requested one. We apparently forgot to reference Supplemental Figure 5 in the text. After telling the news to a colleague down the hall, he told me something like “You might as well retire now. Not going to get much better than that!”

Back when we were doing the sampling, we came up with a nickname for the team. Deltoides Force! Picture Chuck Norris in a classic action pose, but then instead substitute ecologists wielding shovels, tree ring corers, and archeological trowels to excavate root systems.

Anyway, Deltoides force, congratulations! May we reunite for a sequel performance soon!
The spring 2010 sampling team shortly after finishing our last sampling/tree of the trip along the Yadkin River in North Carolina (We are not normally this clean in the field, some of us changed for the trip home!)

Andrii fighting with the tree ring corer.

Greg, Jessie and Cassandra in the process of excavating a tree root.