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Montana State University Postdoctoral Researcher in Bozeman, Montana

Position Details

Position Information

Announcement Number STAFF - VA - 24165

For questions regarding this position, please contact:

Dr. Rob Payn

(406) 994-7197

Classification Title Postdoctoral Researcher

Working Title Postdoctoral Researcher

Brief Position Overview

An interdisciplinary team of microbial ecologists, biogeochemists, and hydrologists at Montana State University is seeking to hire a postdoctoral researcher to assist with creative development of simulation models of anaerobic metabolic processes in stream corridor groundwaters.

This position will be housed in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences ( LRES ) and will involve collaboration with the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology ( MCB ), both within the College of Agriculture at Montana State University. The position will report to Robert A. Payn (coupled biogeochemical-hydrological modeling, LRES , co-PI) with frequent interaction and additional mentorship provided by team leaders Anthony D. Bertagnolli (microbial ecology, MCB , lead PI), Stephanie A. Ewing (biogeochemistry of soils and terrestrial waters, LRES , co-PI), and Frank J. Stewart (microbial ecology, MCB , co-PI). The position has potential to be physically located on the campus of the Montana State University in Bozeman, but highly qualified candidates who have demonstrated effectiveness in working remotely will be considered.

Position Number 4C0006

Department Land Resources & Environ Sci

Division College of Agriculture/MAES

Appointment Type Professional

Contract Term Fiscal Year


If other, specify From date

If other, specify End date

FLSA Non-Exempt

Union Affiliation Exempt from Collective Bargaining

FTE 1.0

Benefits Eligible Eligible

Salary $50,000 - $55,000 per year, commensurate with experience, education, and qualifications.

Contract Type LOA

If other, please specify

Recruitment Type Open

Position Details

General Statement

The position is funded by a recent grant from the US Department of Energy (award number DE-SC0024296) to study the biogeochemical implications of nitrite-dependent methane-oxidizing bacteria recently identified from the metagenome of anoxic riparian groundwaters in central Montana. These bacteria are known to occupy a metabolic niche in anaerobic marine microbial communities (Bertagnolli and Stewart 2018), but their abundance and biogeochemical relevance are not well characterized in anoxic freshwater systems like carbon-rich riparian wetlands or shallow riparian groundwaters. This research is an extension of a long history of research on nitrogen cycling in central Montana agricultural landscapes by project co-PIs and is strongly motivated by the potential for these anaerobic bacterial communities to meaningfully influence greenhouse gas emissions of agricultural stream corridor ecosystems. The strategic vision for model development is to characterize the thermodynamic favorability (sensu Payn et al. 2014) of nitrite-dependent methane oxidation in the context of other mechanisms of anaerobic metabolism in stream corridors.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Creative development of simulation models of anaerobic metabolic processes in stream corridor groundwaters.

  • Use of these models in combination with field data from the project to make intellectual contributions to understanding the biogeochemical behavior of anaerobic microbial communities.

  • Assistance with organizing data product management and code sustainability for the project.

  • Assistance with project management and inclusive mentorship of students and junior researchers on the project.

    Required Qualifications – Experience, Education, Knowledge & Skills

  • Creative coding skills and the enthusiasm for building further software development skills necessary to develop the proposed modeling framework, both for the purpose of addressing the specific scientific questions in this project and for the purpose of developing more generally applicable software libraries.

  • A PhD in an earth systems related field of research associated with aqueous biogeochemistry.

  • The postdoctoral researcher will be expected to develop into a senior participant on a project team involving graduate and undergraduate student research. Candidates must have experience that demonstrates their ability to provide safe and inclusive mentorship to diverse junior members of the team.

    Preferred Qualifications – Experience, Education, Knowledge & Skills

  • Experience with development of a combination of C++ libraries utilized by R or Python analytical workflow management is currently envisioned, but experience in other relevant coding environments is open for consideration.

  • Graduate research experience with publications in modeling of biogeochemical processes with links to genomic characterization of microbial communities.

  • Experience and leadership in modular software development, effective code revision management (i.e., git), and reproducible data product generation is preferred.

    The Successful Candidate Will

  • Be a motivated scholar with a strong work ethic.

  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills.

  • Have the ability to work independently on a wide variety of tasks and in different roles.

  • Work productively in an inclusive, diverse, and team-oriented environment.

  • Maintain excellent records, attention to detail, meet deadlines, prioritize competing demands, and should be skilled at prioritizing, organizing, and working on multiple projects.

    Position Special Requirements/Additional Information

This job description should not be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities, or requirements, but a general description of the job. Nothing contained herein restricts Montana State University’s rights to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time.

Physical Demands

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily with or without reasonable accommodations. The requirements listed above are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.

This position has supervisory duties? No

Posting Detail Information

Number of Vacancies 1

Desired Start Date Upon completion of a successful search

Position End Date (if temporary)

Open Date

Close Date

Applications will be:

Screening of applications will begin on December 4, 2023; however, applications will continue to be accepted until an adequate applicant pool has been established.

Special Instructions

Diversity Statement

Montana State University values diverse perspectives and is committed to continually supporting, promoting and building an inclusive and culturally diverse campus environment. MSU recognizes the importance of work-life integration and strives to be responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

In compliance with the Montana Veteran’s Employment Preference Act, MSU provides preference in employment to veterans, disabled veterans, and certain eligible relatives of veterans. To claim veteran’s preference please complete the veteran’s preference information located in the Demographics section of your profile.

MSU’s Non-Discrimination Policy and Discrimination Grievance Procedures can be located on the MSU Website: