Postdoctoral Investigator in Marine Transcriptomics

Haverford College

  • Post Doctoral Position - Academic
Job Type/Arrangement:
  • Full Time

Haverford College is seeking a candidate for the position of Postdoctoral Investigator in the laboratory of Dr. Kristen Whalen to investigate phytoplankton-viral dynamics in response to marine infochemicals. For more information about the lab’s research interests, see Research in the Whalen Lab at Haverford College has demonstrated marine bacteria are capable of directly interfering with viral lysis of phytoplankton hosts via chemical signals. The focus of this newly funded project will reveal the molecular mechanisms by which the globally relevant phytoplankton, Emiliania huxleyi, evades viral mortality when exposed to the bacterial signaling molecule, 2-heptyl-4-quinolone (HHQ). The postdoctoral investigator will establish a framework for how HHQ modifies viral and host transcript expression during early stages of viral infection. These experiments will mechanistically connect the influence of a bacterial quorum sensing molecule on viral infection and contribute to defining the role of bacterially derived signals that influence the viral shunt.

A strong background in computational analysis (RNA-seq) and multivariate statistical analysis is required. The ideal candidate must be highly motivated and a recent Ph.D. (within the past five years). Evidence of the ability to conduct and publish high quality research is required. Candidates with experience in microbiology/virology, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and/or oceanography are strongly encouraged to apply. Experience in phytoplankton culturing is desirable, but not necessary.

Support is provided for both workshop travel and career development. The position is available starting May 15 with flexibility, and consideration of applications will continue until the position is filled. We enthusiastically encourage individuals from backgrounds that are underrepresented in STEM fields to apply for this opportunity.

Essential Functions & Primary Responsibilities:

A Postdoctoral Investigator position is available in the laboratory of Asst. Professor Kristen Whalen at Haverford College in the Department of Biology. We examine marine symbiosis through the lens of small molecule chemical messengers that shape communities and influence the biogeochemical fate of oceanic nutrients. Our lab elucidates the chemical signals that mediate phytoplankton-bacteria interactions and deciphers the environmental drivers of these interactions. Working with our model marine phytoplankton, Emiliania huxleyi, we are teasing apart the metabolic landscape that defines this model host-bacterial symbiosis and detail how and when chemical messengers induce host metabolic reprogramming resulting in ecosystem level consequences, including protection from viral-induced mortality.

Line of Report: This position reports to Dr. Kristen Whalen

Education, Training, & Experience:

Ph.D. in biological sciences, computational biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, oceanography, or microbiology is required.

Strong computational skills and experience analyzing ‘omics data sets. Experience in handling large datasets (e.g., high-throughput sequencing data), programming and scripting (e.g. Python, R).

Ability to develop independent research projects as demonstrated through publication of peer-reviewed literature.

Proficient verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills to collaborate effectively with undergraduate researchers and present and explain technical information.

Interest and desire to mentor advanced undergraduate research students in a liberal arts setting.

Physical Demands and Environmental Conditions Required of this Position:

Lifting (to exert strength to move objects from one place to another):

Sedentary Lifting: (0-10 pounds) Up to three hours

Light Lifting (10-20 pounds): Up to three hours

Moderate Lifting (20-50 pounds): Up to three hours

Heavy Lifting (50 to 100 pounds): Up to three hours

Pulling (to draw an object toward oneself to move or change its direction): Up to three hours

Pushing (to exert force upon an abject to move or change its direction): Up to three hours

Carrying (to hold objects while moving entire body): Three to six hours

Reaching or working above shoulder (to extend arms upward or outward away from body): Three to six hours

Walking (to move entire body in erect position): Three to six hours

Standing (to maintain body in erect posture in stationary position): Three to six hours Sitting (to rest weight on buttocks and back of thighs with legs bent at knees): Three to six hours

Crouching/Stooping (to bend upper body forward while fully flexing knees): Up to three hours

Kneeling (to maintain upper body in erect position while resting knees on ground): Up to three hours

Climbing (to ascend or descent heights using ladders, scaffolding, stairs, poles, inclined surfaces): Up to three hours

Twisting (to rotate upper body while feet remain stationary): Up to three hours

Driving (operating a motor vehicle, crane, tractor, forklift, etc.): Never

Exposure Limitation (i.e., cold water, dust, gas, fumes, extreme temperatures): Up to three hours

Special Requirements:

All faculty and staff (including contract workers) who are employed or engaged by Haverford College, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and provide proof of vaccination (to include a booster dose when eligible), unless an exemption from this policy has been granted as an accommodation or otherwise.

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

To Apply: Interested candidates are invited to submit an application to include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of research interests and experience, and the names and contact information of three (3) references by visiting The application deadline is September 12, 2022. Failure to submit the required documents may result in a lack of consideration.

Haverford College is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and providing equal opportunities and access to all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, disability, or veteran status. Women, non-binary and transgender individuals, people of color, Indigenous people, and those with other or multiple historically marginalized and/or underrepresented identities are especially encouraged to apply. Haverford College and our consortial partners are located on Lenape lands.

Education Requirement:
370 Lancaster Avenue
370 Lancaster Avenue
Haverford , PA 19041
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