Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

M.S. Assistantship: Soil microbiomes 

We are recruiting a student to University of Georgias Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in Aiken, SC to study the agricultural soil microbiome of Pennsylvania farms. The goal of this project is to understand how different agricultural practices (conventional, organic, and tillage intensity) influence the soil microbiome composition and how their related functions influence soil health and crop productivity. This project is part of a larger USDA-NIFA grant to understand the soil viromes of agricultural systems. This project includes field work such as soil sampling, laboratory work including nucleic acid extractions and PCR, and bioinformatic analysis. Experience in these techniques is preferred, but not required. 

The successful applicant would join the Bier Lab (https://ravenbier.weebly.com/) and would enroll in a 3-year MS program at the University of Georgias Odum School of Ecology. Typically, M.S. students spend 2 semesters on the main Athens, GA campus before moving to the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL; Aiken County, SC). This position includes beginning summer research at SREL and at the field site in Pennsylvania before starting Fall 2024 semester coursework in Athens, GA. The 1st academic year may be supported by a teaching assistantship before transitioning to a research assistantship in years 2 and 3. SREL is a remote unit of the University of Georgia and is located on the Savannah River Site, approximately 2.5 hours away from the UGA main campus. The selected student will be expected to publish their work as peer-reviewed manuscripts, with manuscripts in submission-ready form prior to graduation.  

Applicants should submit their C.V., contact information for 3 professional references, and a one-page letter describing previous educational and research experience, research interests, and professional goals as they relate to the position to Dr. Raven Bier (rbier@srel.uga.edu). Please put MS assistantship in the subject line of the email. Submissions will be considered as they are received but for full consideration are due no later than 15 October 2023. 

Minimum qualifications include a B.S. or B.A. degree in ecology, biological sciences, environmental sciences, agroecology, or related disciplines. Preferred qualifications include previous field and laboratory experience, prior experience conducting independent research in microbial ecology, writing skills and the ability to work well in a team.