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Specialist in Microbial Ecology

Position overview

Position title: Junior Specialist; Assistant Specialist
Salary range: See Tables 24B and 24BN for the salary range for this position. Depending on the rank hired into, a reasonable estimate for this position is at least $49,000 per year.
Percent time: 100%
Anticipated start: 8/1/2023
Position duration: One year, with extension for another year

Application Window

Open date: May 24, 2023

Next review date: Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Monday, Aug 7, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

The laboratory of Assistant Professor Maggie Sogin invites applicants for a Junior or Assistant Specialist within the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Merced. The candidate will work on research part of an exciting NSF project focused on understanding microbial cooperation within the sea anemone, Aiptasia. The candidate will receive training as needed to preform each of the assigned tasks and will be expected to contribute to the intellectual development of the project. Experience in microbial ecology research or mass spectrometry analysis is highly sought. The candidate is expected to be a quality communicator with a strong work ethic and willingness to promote a healthy work environment.

The Specialist will be expected to dedicated 95% of their effort to research activities in the lab which include:

A. Collaborate with other research personnel affiliated with the Sogin lab on activities involving microbial knockdown and manipulation of the aiptasia microbiome. Evaluation of performance in research activities or in outreach activities as deemed applicable to the individual project in specialized areas, as documented by any of the following:

  1. Publications that acknowledge the Specialist's significant and meaningful contribution to the work.
  2. Publications on which the Specialist is an author.
  3. Other evidence (e.g., letters from collaborators or principal investigators) that work done by the Specialist contributed to publishable research.
  4. Active dissemination of information (beyond the boundaries of the campus) through informal instruction, presentations, or other means stemming from the Specialist's research accomplishments.
  5. Other evidence of recognized expertise may include formal documentation of intellectual effort and participation in publishable research activities, first authorship on publications/patents, presentation of research at regional/national meetings, invitations to review grant proposals and/or journal articles, invitations to participate in research projects, and/or service on advisory panels.

B. Research duties of the Specialist will include the following:

  1. The candidate will be responsible for implementing research associated with a new NSF funded project targeted at investigating the metabolism of microbial species associated with the sea anemone, Aiptasia.
  2. Laboratory responsibilities include aiptasia husbandry, microbial cultivation, DNA and RNA isolation, PCR amplification, and mass spectrometry sample preparation and analysis. The candidate will also be expected to preform lab-based experiments focused on manipulating the Aiptasia’ microbiome.
  3. In addition to the laboratory responsibilities, the candidate will also be expected to preform data analysis and encouraged to participate in the writing of manuscripts.
  4. The candidate will also contribute to student training and mentorship
  5. The candidate will help to develop laboratory protocols and coordinate activities in the research group
  6. The candidate will be responsible for organizing and maintaining the laboratory space, including ordering of equipment and consumables.

The Specialist will also be expected to dedicate 5% of their effort to University and Public Service:

Specialists may engage in University and/or public service provided these services comply with the requirements of the candidate’s funding source. At the Junior and Assistant ranks, university and/or public service may be minimal

A. May liaison with and respond to the needs of various industry organizations, state and federal agencies, and other external groups on issues related to area of expertise.
B. Participate in activities of committees within the department, college, campus and other University entities, as appropriate.
C. Participate in the development of new course curricula.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy: All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees should refer to Appendix F, Section II.C. of the policy for applicable deadlines. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.


Basic qualifications

• BS in Biology or related field at the Junior Level
• MS in Biology or related field at the Assistant level or 5 years of experience working in a related field
• Experience in standard laboratory techniques (e.g., pipettes, making solutions, aseptic technique)

Preferred qualifications

• Experience in general molecular biology techniques, including DNA/RNA extractions
• Either experience bioinformatic analysis or mass spectrometry analysis (metabolite extract, GCMS, LC-MS)
• Experience in microbial cultivation

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

Reference requirements
  • 2 required (contact information only)
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Campus Information

The University of California is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and invites applications from all qualified applicants, including women, minorities, veterans, and individual with disabilities, who will enrich the teaching, research and public service missions of the university. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, 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 (

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system’s 10 campuses. With over 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students (, UC Merced provides outstanding educational opportunities to highly qualified students from the heart of California, the nation, and abroad. The campus has special connections to nearby Yosemite National Park; is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design; and supports the economic development of Central California. The Merced 2020 Project doubled the physical capacity of the campus, and enhanced academic distinction, student success, and research excellence (

UC Merced is a smoke & tobacco free campus (

Job location

Merced, CA