Assistant Researcher

Position Overview

The Wagner lab ( is recruiting an Assistant Researcher to support research on the genetics and evolution of plant-microbe interactions. Our research team, which is affiliated with the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and with the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research, works at the intersection of plant biology, genetics, microbial ecology, and evolutionary biology.

Job responsibilities will include (1) technical research support in the lab, greenhouse, and field, e.g., independent execution of experiments or assisting senior team members; (2) training, management, and supervision of junior team members; (3) general lab support, such as monitoring inventory of communal reagents, seeds, and supplies; and (4) contributing to data analysis and writing of manuscripts for publication.

The ideal candidate will have experience working in a research laboratory setting, be highly reliable with excellent attention to detail, be adept at problem-solving, and have a Bachelor’s degree in plant biology, microbiology, or a related field. The salary range for this position is $31,940 to $52,700, commensurate with experience.

The start date is somewhat flexible but ideally June 3rd, 2024. This position is contingent upon funding with a possibility for renewal of at least two years if additional funding is secured. The successful candidate must be authorized to work in the U.S. before employment begins.

Job Description

65% - Provide technical research support in the lab, greenhouse, and/or field; this may involve execution of independent experiments or assisting senior team members with their experiments. Develop, trouble-shoot, and fine-tune laboratory protocols. Take clear and detailed notes on all research activities using the team’s electronic lab notebook.

25% - Manage general lab operations and provide general logistical support. Receive and unpack deliveries of supplies; monitor stocks of communal reagents and supplies; communicate to the PI when supplies need to be ordered. Maintain inventory of commonly used buffers, reagents, and supplies (e.g., autoclaved pipette tips). Write and update lab protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs). Ensure safety compliance and adherence to SOPs. Maintain laboratory equipment and contact equipment companies for technical support in case of equipment failure.

5% - Train, manage, and supervise student hourly employees. Delegate lab-management and/or research tasks as appropriate.

5% - Support and/or contribute to the preparation of written research outputs, including progress reports to funding agencies as well as manuscripts for publication. This may include data analysis, creation of publication-quality tables and figures, writing, proofreading, and editing.

Position Requirements

This position is located at the University of Kansas-Lawrence.

Required Qualifications

  1. Bachelor’s degree in plant biology, microbiology, or a related field.
  2. Excellent written and oral communication skills as evidenced in application materials and interview.
  3. Outstanding attention to detail as evidenced by application materials.
  4. Excellent interpersonal, organizational, and administrative skills as evidenced by application materials and interview.
  5. Demonstrated experience with sterile technique and microbial culture.
  6. Demonstrated experience with basic molecular biology methods (PCR, nucleic acid extraction, gel electrophoresis, etc.)

Preferred Qualifications

  1. Demonstrated interest in plant biology, genetics, and/or evolutionary biology.
  2. Experience growing and caring for plants in a research setting (e.g., greenhouse).
  3. Master’s degree in plant biology, microbiology, or a related field.

Additional Candidate Instructions

A complete online application requires: 1) current resume; 2) a cover letter addressing required qualifications; 3) complete contact information for three professional references.

Application review will begin on May 1, 2024 and continue until a qualified pool of candidates is identified.

Contact Information to Applicants

Maggie Wagner -

Advertised Salary Range

$31,940 to $52,700

Work Schedule

M-F, 8-5

Application Review Begins

Wednesday May 1, 2024

Anticipated Start Date

Monday June 3, 2024

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Posting Information

  • Posting ID:  27649BR
  • Department:  KS Biological Survey
  • Primary Campus:  University of Kansas Lawrence Campus
  • Assignment:  On-Site
  • Reg/Temp:  Regular
  • Employee Class:  U-Unclassified Professional Staff
  • Review Begins:  01-May-2024

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