Post-Doctoral Associate: Resource Recovery and PFAS Remediation

Jun 22, 2022

Post-Doctoral Associate: Resource Recovery and PFAS Remediation
Job opening: 348817
Location: NRRI-Duluth
Temporary/Full Time position/Open until filled

About the Job:

Over thirty-five million tons of food waste are disposed of in the US annually, representing a potentially utilizable source of nutrients and energy. However, contamination of food waste with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) could potentially limit applications to sustainably recover these resources.

The Natural Resources Research Institute is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to join an interdisciplinary team and lead an applied research project to develop modern technologies to sustainably recover nutrients and energy from food waste. The position will be based in Dr. Bridget Ulrich’s Environmental Chemistry Laboratory at NRRI Duluth and involve collaboration with the NRRI Biomass Conversion Laboratory as well as Dr. Bo Hu’s Bioprocessing group at the College of Food and Agricultural Sciences (CFANS) in St. Paul, MN. The project is funded by MnDRIVE Environment, which seeks to advance industry and conserve the environment in Minnesota. Research will be conducted in collaboration with Ramsey/Washington Recycling and Energy (R&E), which seeks to enhance public health and the environment by creating value from waste through partnerships.

The postdoctoral researcher will lead the design and implementation of an experimental plan to evaluate the fate of PFAS during treatment of food waste by anaerobic digestion and hydrothermal liquefaction. They will also perform target and nontarget analysis of PFAS in food waste by liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC- QTOF-MS) and contribute to mentorship of students working on PFAS-related projects.
They will also facilitate communication with project partners and contribute to dissemination and technology transfer activities. Initial experiments will be performed at the laboratory scale, with the possibility of increasing to pilot- or demonstration-scale the following year, depending on funding availability. The postdoctoral researcher will have the opportunity to contribute to proposal preparation and set the direction of the applied research.

The position is for one year and can be renewed for a second year with satisfactory progress. Additional extension of the appointment may be considered depending on availability of funding. Applicants should note their availability in their cover letter. A start date in fall 2022 is preferred but exceptional applicants with later availability are encouraged to apply.

Terms of Employment:
This appointment is 100%-time, temporary position to last 12 months in duration.

• Planning and execution of laboratory experiments (50%).
• Analytical method development and quantitative analysis (20%).
• Data processing, analysis, interpretation, and manuscript preparation (20%).
• Additional duties, including reporting, dissemination, mentorship of other group members, and assistance with grant writing (10%).

Job Duties:
• Planning and execution of laboratory experiments.
• Analytical method development and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC).
• Operation of analytical instrumentation, including LC-QTOF.
• Data processing, analysis, interpretation, reporting, and manuscript preparation.
• Coordination and communication with university and industrial partners.
• Dissemination of results in conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.
• Contribute to general research leadership duties to include student mentorship and grant writing.

Required Qualifications:
• PhD in Environmental Engineering or related field.
• Experience with quantitative chemical analysis of samples with complex matrices (e.g., environmental samples).
• Effective written and oral communication in English.
• A documented record of conference presentations and one or more peer-reviewed publications in English.
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
• Physical ability and dexterity to safely perform routine laboratory work, including transporting compressed cylinders and working in a fume hood.

Preferred Qualifications:
• Experience with liquid chromatography high resolution mass spectrometry (LC- HRMS) and/or liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), particularly for target and nontarget analysis of PFAS.
• Experience with extraction and analysis of trace contaminants in complex matrices, including but not limited to sediments, soils, edible/nonedible crops, and agricultural residues.
• Experience with techniques to recover resources from complex waste streams, particularly anaerobic digestion, and hydrothermal treatment processes.
• Experience engaging with industry or agency partners or experience working in an industry or agency setting.
• Experience mentoring students or interns in a laboratory setting.

How to Apply:

Applications must be submitted online.  To be considered for this position, please click the here for the UMN Careers page.  You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume. Refer to Job Opening: 348817.

This position will remain open until filled.

Complete applications must include:

  • A letter expressing interest, availability, experience and strengths as they relate to this position. 
  • A current resume/curriculum vitae,
  • Contact information for three professional references.

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your "My Job Applications" page and uploading documents in the "My Cover Letters and Attachments" section.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).


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