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Post Doctoral Research Associate - Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory

Apply now Job no: 508097
Work type: Post Doc (Amherst Only)
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Environmental Conservation
Union: Post Doc
Categories: Postdoctoral Research Associate

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

The University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Environmental Conservation seeks a Post-Doctoral Fellow to perform research on development of novel biologically-based pesticides for controlling gypsy moth and other invasive lepidopteran pests of northeastern forests. The research will be conducted at the Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory (IIBBL) of the Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD. Potential areas of study include characterization and development of novel bacterial or viral insect pathogens utilizing IIBBL’s extensive collection of insect pathogens, identification of genetic loci encoding toxins or controlling toxin production, or identification of targets for selective disruption of pest gene expression using RNA interference. Research methods employed may include lab scale bioassay, qRT-PCR for analysis of gene expression, and high throughput genomic sequencing, assembly and annotation.


Essential Functions

Examples of duties:

  • Plans and conducts a research program focusing on development of biologically based insect control methods utilizing bacterial or viral pathogens of insects, or interruption of pest gene expression.
  • Maintains accurate records of research, analyzes data, and publishes results of research.


Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness. 
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Candidates must possess a doctorate in Entomology or Microbiology at the time of hire.
  • An emphasis on insect or invertebrate pathology, and strong molecular biology skills is preferred


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Experience with lab-scale bioassays, analysis of gene expression using qRT-PCR, high throughput genomic sequencing of bacteria or viruses, assembly and annotation of microbial genomes.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Ability to work in a lab environment.


Additional Details

  • The position will be based at the Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory of the Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705.


Work Schedule

40 hours per week – flexible schedule.


Salary Information

Salary will commensurate with experience.


Special Instructions to Applicants

Interested candidates should submit: (1) a cover letter that includes a statement of research experience and interest, (2) a curriculum vitae, (3) PDF copies of a recent publication or writing sample, (4) and contact information of three professional references. Apply by May 28, 2021 in order to ensure priority consideration. Search may remain open until a suitable candidate pool has been identified.

Please address the cover letter to Michael Blackburn, Research Entomologist, Invasive Insect Bio Control and Behavior Laboratory, USDA.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations. (

UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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