technician position — Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland

The Ecosystem Conservation lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), led by Dr. Kim Komatsu, is recruiting a full-time research technician. The technician will be based at SERC and will participate in a funded project examining the role that bacterial symbioses play in shaping soybean responses to drought and insect pests, in collaboration with Drs. Karin Burghardt (University of Maryland) and John Parker (SERC). SERC is a vibrant community of scientists set within a 1,027-hectare field-site, and located near the Annapolis, MD and Washington, DC metro areas.

The Ecosystem Conservation lab explores community and ecosystem responses to global change drivers, and the role that symbioses, competition, and trophic interactions play in shaping those responses ( Our research projects occur in field, lab, and greenhouse settings and include ecological genetics, microbial culturing, and field-based species identification, often in an experimental framework.

Field and greenhouse duties will include plant and insect identification and collection, measurement of environmental parameters, seed preparation, experimental set-up and monitoring, and data entry. Lab duties will include sample processing, microbial culturing, routine molecular tasks (e.g., DNA extraction, PCR, DNA visualization, sequencing, genotyping), and next generation sequencing library prep. In addition, the technician will be responsible for day-to-day organization and safety for the funded project, under the direction of the PI, including supply inventory and ordering, maintaining data records (hardcopy and digital), and working collaboratively with other project members.

Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in ecology (or related field) with at least two years of prior research experience, basic ecological genetic skills (PCR, sequencing, genotyping), strong communication and organizational skills, and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Additional experience with field surveys, next generation sequencing, and data analysis is preferred.

The preferred start date is late fall 2019, and the appointment will be for at least one year. While not a federal position, salary and benefits are commensurate with experience, up to a salary equivalent of Grade 7, Step 1 within the federal pay scale.

Interested candidates should send (1) a cover letter highlighting relevant research experience, (2) a resume or CV, (3) contact information for 2-3 references, and (4) an unofficial copy of transcripts to Kim Komatsu ( Review of applications will begin on September 23, and continue until the position is filled.