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Microbiome Ecology Laboratory, Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Apply Now Job Number: FAC332
Work Type: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Categories: Sciences

Job Title

Microbiome Ecology Laboratory, Postdoctoral Research Assistant



University Expectation

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


The salary is commensurate with education and experience.

Job Summary/Basic Function

The Microbiome Ecology Laboratory at Middle Tennessee State University invites applicants for a postdoctoral research assistant position (J27830). This position is a one-year temporary appointment with a possible annual renewal for up to three years total. The start date of the position is July 1, 2023.

The Microbiome Ecology Laboratory is seeking a highly-motivated, outstanding quantitative ecologist 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 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 project will occur with students and postdocs in the labs of 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 the gut microbiomes of animals and other natural microbiomes. The postdoctoral research associate will analyze large heterogeneous multi-omics datasets using quantitative community ecology modeling applications. Opportunities for cross-laboratory training, fieldwork, and live animal studies will be available.

Required Education

A PhD in quantitative ecology, community ecology, microbiology, molecular biology, microbial ecology, or a closely related field is required.

Other Desirables

Applicants with excellent quantitative skills and substantial experience in R will receive special consideration. Those with excellent written and oral communication skills, including a demonstrated ability to publish as the first author in peer-reviewed journals, will also receive special consideration.

Documents Needed to Apply

To successfully apply, applicants must include the following documents as separate attachments at the time of online application submittal: a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and Research Statement (as appropriate to the discipline). In addition, to be considered, applicants must submit one combined file of relevant publications.

Special Instruction to Applicants 

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

If you have position-specific questions, please contact Donald Walker at

MTSU offers a comprehensive benefits package, including but not limited to the following:  

  • Vacation and Sick Leave  
  • 13 paid University holidays
  • Medical, dental, vision, and life insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Optional 401K and 403B Deferred Compensation Plans
  • Educational benefits for the employee and their spouse and dependents
Click here for additional information. 


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 is required before 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 will be required to provide information about your criminal history to be considered.

For individuals requiring 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 to apply for a position with MTSU, please call 615-898-2929 or email

Application Review Date: 11/24/2022

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