Hiring: UCSC-based HHMI Post-Doctoral Scholar in Environmental DNA Research, Education, and Outreach

HHMI Post-Doctoral Scholar in Environmental DNA Research, Education, and Outreach

University of California – Santa Cruz


UC Santa Cruz department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) is recruiting one full-time postdoctoral scholar to perform environmental DNA (eDNA) research and science education outreach. The position is ideal for a candidate with a background in molecular biology. In collaboration with project partners in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) at UC Los Angeles, the postdoctoral scholar will help establish a new education program called eSIE: environmental DNA for Science Investigation and Education, supported by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) jointly awarded to UCSC and UCLA. The scholar will work with a team of researchers and science education experts on eDNA research that connects to the eSIE program.

Why eDNA?

eDNA is a highly sensitive molecular approach to catalog biodiversity in any ecosystem. The results can reveal a near complete diversity profile of the ecosystem from microbes to plants and animals, and can enable tracking biodiversity changes over time. UCLA and UCSC have pioneered cutting-edge methods to obtain eDNA data, from citizen science to packaged computational pipelines. Our goal with the eSIE program is to use the excitement and wide application of eDNA as a new gateway for students to enter research avenues in the environmental sciences.

The postdoctoral role in the eSIE program:

The postdoctoral scholar will help co-develop and manage eSIE program while receiving training focused on the advancement of science education. eSIE reaches a broad undergraduate constituency by involving hundreds of students annually in CALeDNA bioblitzes on UC Natural Reserves (www.ucedna.com). The postdoc will help select field sampling, ideally around research questions of their interest, and travel to do field collections at natural reserves around the entire state. eSIE will also launch a multidisciplinary flipped course to introduce undergraduates formally to STEM subjects through DNA and eDNA activities. The postdoc would co-design the course with the eSIE team, and receive training through the Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences (https://ceils.ucla.edu) at UCLA (remote learning possible). The eSIE program also supports students who enter research labs. The postdoc would be expected to occasionally work with student research interns.

Research scope:

The postdoc will be encouraged to pursue environmental science research that uses the eSIE-generated eDNA data and sample collections. They will join the lab group of Beth Shapiro (UCSC), who’s lab focuses on evolution, paleogenomics, and conservation genomics. They will also join the UC Conservation Genomics Consortium community that conducts many eDNA projects.


Candidates should have a PhD in biology or a related science field and molecular biology laboratory experience evidenced by a strong record of scholarship. The ideal candidate would have demonstrated interest or some experience working in science communication and education research, as well as undergraduate teaching or public outreach. Candidates should demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills, interest in pedagogical innovation, educational assessment, and scholarship, excellent organization and management abilities, experience working with diverse groups. Candidates also should possess skills in mentorship. They must be willing to travel within California, including multiple trips per year between Santa Cruz and Los Angeles, and lead fieldwork excursions to collect eDNA on UC Natural Reserves. Candidates must have a valid driver’s license.

The postdoctoral position is a minimum two-year appointment starting Spring 2018, with salary commensurate with experience and following the UC salary scales.  To apply submit a cover letter, CV, and contact information for three references here, or send all documents directly to Beth Shapiro (bashapir@ucsc.edu).

For inquiries about the position, please contact Robert Wayne (rwayne@ucla.edu) or Beth Shapiro (bashapir@ucsc.edu).

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy