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Biology, Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Apply Now Job Number: FAC158
Work Type: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Categories: Sciences

Job Title

Biology, Postdoctoral Research Assistant



University Expectation

MTSU seeks candidates who are committed to innovative teaching and meaningful service. We also seek to attract a culturally and academically diverse faculty who value working with a diverse student body.


The salary is $50,000 per year and includes a full benefits package.

Job Summary/Basic Function

The Department of Biology at Middle Tennessee State University invites applicants for a postdoctoral research assistant position (J27010). This is a one-year temporary appointment with possible annual renewal up to four years total. The start date of the position is January 1, 2022.

The Microbiome Ecology Lab at Middle Tennessee State University is seeking an outstanding postdoctoral research associate for an NSF-funded project entitled “Gut-inhabiting fungi influence structure and function of herptile microbiomes through horizontal gene transfer and novel metabolic function”. Understanding the biodiversity and function of microbes that are present in the digestive tracts of reptiles and amphibians is critical for insight into their role in host health. The NSF project will focus on the filamentous fungus Basidiobolus as an important member of reptile and amphibian gut microbiomes. Preliminary evidence suggests that this fungus influences what types of bacteria are present in the digestive tract. Genomic sequencing of the Basidiobolus fungus shows that genes have been transferred to the fungus from the gut bacteria. This transfer of genes between bacteria and fungi results in novel metabolism in the fungus that we propose plays important roles in regulating the reptile/amphibian host’s immune system, iron metabolism, and chemical communication with the gut bacteria. An interdisciplinary scientific approach will occur with Dr. Jason Stajich at the University of California Riverside and Drs. Joey Spatafora and Kerry McPhail at Oregon State University to understand the functional roles that specialized metabolites play in microbial interactions between fungi and bacteria in gut microbiomes of animals and also other natural microbiomes. The postdoctoral research associate will 1) conduct a controlled live animal experiment to study bacterial-fungal interactions in the Wood Frog gut microbiome and 2) contribute to fieldwork, molecular processing, and statistical analysis of large heterogeneous microbial community ecology datasets.

The position requires excellent quantitative skills and substantial experience in R as well as excellent written and oral communication skills and an excellent work ethic.

Required Education

PhD in community ecology, microbiology, molecular biology, microbial ecology, wildlife disease, or a closely related field.

Other Desirables

Applicants who have experience with reptile or amphibian animal husbandry and fieldwork experience will receive special consideration. Likewise, applicants with a demonstrated ability to publish as first author in peer-reviewed journals will receive special consideration.

Documents Needed to Apply

In order to successfully apply, applicants are required to include the following documents as separate attachments at the time of online application submittal: a cover letter, their curriculum vitae, and their Research Statement (as appropriate to the discipline).

Special Instruction to Applicants 

If you need help in applying, please contact the Faculty Recruitment Specialist at (615) 898-5128.

If you have position-specific questions, please contact Dr. Donny Walker at

MTSU is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer that values diversity in all its forms. Women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

Proof of U.S. citizenship or eligibility for U.S. employment will be required prior to employment (Immigration Control Act of 1986). Clery Act crime statistics for MTSU are available at or by contacting MTSU Public Safety at (615) 898-2424.

MTSU is a Tobacco & Drug Free campus.

This position requires a criminal background check. Therefore, you may be required to provide information about your criminal history in order to be considered for this position.

For individuals requiring a reasonable accommodation to apply: In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), if you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation in order to apply for a position with MTSU, please call 615-898-2929 or email

Application Review Date: 09/21/2021

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