Ph.D. Research Assistantship in Geobiology

Applications are encouraged for a Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship (up to 5 years of support) in Geobiology at DRI’s Las Vegas campus and the UNLV School of Life Sciences beginning Summer or Fall of 2013. This unique position interfaces with NASA’s newest Astrobiology Institute (NAI, Life Underground ( Our team joins 14 other nodes that collectively comprise a prestigious virtual institute with 840 researchers from 180 institutions, all tasked with understanding life in the universe. The interdisciplinary Life Underground team takes advantage of rare access to terrestrial and marine deep subsurface sites to develop non-invasive in situ life detection technologies, cultivate “intraterrestrial” microorganisms, survey novel life, and explore metabolic strategies and the thermodynamic limits of subsurface life.
The successful candidate will be based at the DRI Environmental Microbiology Laboratory and be part of a distinguished interdisciplinary team composed of researchers from, in addition to DRI, USC, Caltech, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. As such, this position provides an extraordinary opportunity for early career training and networking in a fast-growing field. Major field activities will focus on deep drilling programs associated with Death Valley National Park, the Nevada National Security Site, and various underground locations including the Sanford Underground Laboratory in South Dakota and very deep mines in Canada. The ideal candidate will be a versatile self-starter with an interest in big questions relating to both Life- and Earth Science.

An aptitude and appreciation for field work, at times under challenging conditions, is essential. Candidates with either a B.S. or M.S. would be appropriate, but this position is limited to individuals interested in the degree of Ph.D. Ph.D. candidates will receive initial monthly salary support of $1,800 during the academic year and full-time support over the summer (combined about $27,000/yr.), Health insurance and a partial (~75%) tuition waiver are also provided. Enthusiastic candidates with demonstrable research and academic productivity and backgrounds in microbiology, microbial ecology, geology, bioinformatics, environmental chemistry, or a related field should apply. U.S. citizenship is preferred due to DOE site and laboratory access requirements and the ability to obtain a valid drivers’ license will be required.

For information on how to apply, please contact Dr. Duane Moser, Desert Research Institute, 755 E. Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89119, 702-862-5534. All applicants will be expected to provide a statement of interest, undergraduate transcripts, and contact information for three academic or professional references. Information about DRI can be found at To learn about UNLV and the School of Life Sciences (SOLS) go to DRI is an AA/EEO Employer and employs only U.S. citizens and those authorized to work in the U.S.

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