Job Opportunity: Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Arizona

Postdoctoral Researcher on “Understanding the fate of carbon in permafrost soils and its implications for climate change” at University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA

The Tfaily lab at the Department of Environment Science at the University of Arizona seeks a highly motivated and talented postdoctoral researcher to join the lab to work on understanding the fate of carbon in permafrost soils and its implications for climate change. This position offers a unique opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research in a rapidly evolving field. Permafrost soils contain a vast reservoir of carbon, larger than the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. As global temperatures rise and permafrost thaws, the release of this carbon into the environment becomes a critical concern. The fate of this carbon, whether it remains sequestered or is released as greenhouse gases, is still uncertain. Furthermore, permafrost thaw introduces geophysical hazards and can lead to unpredictable changes in hydrological flows. This project aims to address these challenges by investigating the early stages of permafrost thaw and its impact on carbon dynamics through the lens of metabolomics and multi-omics integration. This includes but not limited to:

  • Conducting fieldwork across permafrost thaw gradients, focusing on the thawing interface;
  • Collect and analyze samples to identify “indicator chemicals” that can detect degrading permafrost before surface observations reveal visible signs of thaw;
  • Investigate the relationship between these indicator compounds and thaw depth, water content, porosity, and biogeochemical soil conditions;
  • Perform targeted incubations to assess the role of these compounds in fueling carbon emissions; and
  • Collaborate with an interdisciplinary team and contribute to the development of a framework for early detection of permafrost thaw and understanding its impact on climate change.

Reviews of applications will begin mid-August 2023.

Duties & responsibilities:

  • Conduct independent research and work on team assignments focusing on microbial metabolism and multi-omics integration; lead manuscript development and maintain a strong overall publication record in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
  • Present research work in multiple settings.
  • Participate in the development of research proposals.
  • Position requires collecting and processing soil and porewater samples

Knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • Excellent communication and teamwork skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct independent research and publish results in peer-reviewed journals.

Minimum qualifications:

  • A PhD in chemistry, biology, biochemistry or a related field such as Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Biogeochemistry is required.
  • Candidates must have received a PhD within the past five years (60 months) or upon hire from an accredited college or university.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Strong background in geochemical analysis and/or microbial ecology.
  • Experience in fieldwork, sample collection, and laboratory analysis as well as a strong background in one or more of the following areas: microbial metabolism and interactions, biochemistry, LC-MS based metabolomics, multi-omics integration.
  • Proficiency in data analysis, statistical methods, and scientific programming.

FLSA: Exempt

Full Time/Part Time: Full Time

Number of Hours Worked per Week: 40

Job FTE: 1.0

Work Calendar: Fiscal

Job Category: Research

Benefits Eligible: Yes – Full Benefits

Rate of Pay: DOE

Compensation Type: salary at 1.0 full-time equivalency (FTE)

Type of criminal background check required: Name-based criminal background check (non-security sensitive)

Target Hire Date: 18 September 2023

Contact: Prof. Malak Tfaily (

Open Date: 11 September 2023

Documents needed to apply: Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Cover Letter

Special instructions to applicants: References will be required later in the recruitment process. This position is full-time (100% FTE), 12-month, year-to-year appointment with an initial term appointment of one year (12 months), with the possibility of renewal subject to funding and satisfactory performance. Salary will be commensurate with experience and employee benefits will be provided.