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School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics & Planetology

Summary of Duties: Regular, Full-Time, RCUH Non-Civil Service position with the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), located in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Continuation of employment is dependent upon program/operational needs, satisfactory work performance, availability of funds, and compliance with applicable Federal/State laws.

We are seeking highly motivated and qualified individuals to join the ‘Ike Wai team at UH Mānoa. This is a 5-year NSF Track 1 EPSCoR project headquartered at the University of Hawai‘i (UH). The ‘Ike Wai project will produce data and models that address the grand challenge of water sustainability in Hawai‘i. The project includes faculty from the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, the College of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences, the Social Science Research Institute, the Water Resources Research Center and UH Hilo and Chaminade University and stakeholders. For additional project information, please visit

The successful applicant for this 3-year position will design, conduct and coordinate geochemical and/or microbial geochemistry field research programs and projects. This specifically includes research into microbial ecology and/or the physico-chemical parameters that influence groundwater chemistry, microbial diversity, structure and/or biogeography in the subsurface. The applicant designs and manages all aspects of microbiogeochemical fieldwork related to the research objectives. The applicant conducts molecular analysis and bioinformatics analysis in coordination with geochemical data analysis for integrated data interpretation. The applicant prepares scientific manuscripts and reports based on the results of field program.

‘Ike Wai Postdoctoral Scholars will collaborate with scientists and students across disciplines in professional development training in areas such as leadership, diversity, pedagogy and mentoring. Within the objectives and scope of ‘Ike Wai, applicants will have significant flexibility in defining projects that capitalize on the diverse expertise and collaborative interests of the team as they relate to water sustainability. ‘Ike Wai postdoctoral researchers will participate in a work environment that encourages knowledge of, respect for, and development of skills to engage with indigenous communities in Hawai‘i and the Pacific on issues surrounding water sustainability. Successful candidates must be committed to working with diverse student and community populations that reflect the University’s Native Hawaiian Pacific Island-serving context.


Reports to: Principal Investigator, Dr. Gwen Jacobs and an ‘Ike Wai faculty mentor with expertise in microbial and geochemistry.

Supervises: 1-2 undergraduate and graduate assistants, and field crews.

Level of Interaction: Works independently with minimal supervision. Interacts with scientists and students across disciplines to actively engage in professional development training in areas such as leadership, diversity, pedagogy and mentoring. Coordinates with team members and people outside of the project. Requires excellent communication skills to collaborate with student workers, staff, and faculty. Communicates progress to the Principal Investigators (PI). Able to communicate effectively in a variety of formats. Able to prioritize tasks responsibly and document decisions and procedures. Able to establish and maintain effective working relationships with internal and external organizations, groups, team members and individuals. Requires an active and supportive approach to inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research that will help to foster interactions and links with industry, other educational bodies and professional institutions on a national and international basis.


Designs, conducts, coordinates, and implements field research programs based on the objectives of the ‘Ike Wai project, specifically includes research into hydrological issues in the State of Hawai‘i. Manages all aspects of microbio/geochemical work related to the research objectives, in particular the molecular and sequencing data. Conducts and coordinates all sample collections, processing, geochemical and/or bioinformatics analysis and interpretation.

Analyzes and interprets geochemical and/or microbial sequence data using appropriate state of the art bioinformatics and statistical tools. Provides data on subsurface water quality, terrestrial subsurface biogeography, microbial dispersal, selection, and/or ecological habitat partitioning in the subsurface. Reports on projects and prepares research publications on completed projects. Prepares proposals for further funding.

Performs duties in relation to collaboration on the above and other microbial methods as applied to hydrological resources and geological issues particularly relevant to Hawai‘i.

Performs other duties as assigned.


Education/Training: PhD from an accredited college or university in microbiology/geochemistry related field, preferably obtained within the last four years. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Track record of publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Experience: At least three (3) years of experience in hydrogeochemical and/or microbial research. Experience through participating in or leading field sampling expeditions. Experience with hydrological research. Experience working in a collaborative environment in an institution of higher education or similar organization.

Knowledge: Knowledge of bioinformatics and statistical analysis of high-throughput sequencing datasets for microbial ecology studies. Familiar with groundwater geochemical processes.

Abilities and Skills: Able to collect sterile field samples. Able to manage resources, schedules, and personnel to effectively and efficiently complete research projects.

Physical and/or Medical Demands: Able to lift and carry up to twenty (20) pounds unassisted.

Policy and/or Regulatory Requirements: As a condition of employment, employee will be subject to all applicable RCUH policies and procedures and, as applicable, subject to University of Hawai‘i’s and/or business entity’s policies and procedures. Violation of RCUH’s, UH’s, or business entity’s policies and/or procedures or applicable State or Federal laws and/or regulations may lead to disciplinary action (including, but not limited to possible termination of employment, personal fines, civil and/or criminal penalties, etc.).

SECONDARY QUALIFICATIONS: Experience with environmental molecular biology techniques (such as DNA extraction, amplification, and/or NextGen library preparation) as well as a range of geochemical analytical techniques and applications.

INQUIRIES: Dr. Barbara Bruno, ‘Ike Wai Director of Education,


Job postings will be posted on the RCUH website. More instruction on the application process and submission procedure will also be added when the job postings are available online. RCUH’s mission is to support the research and training programs of the University of Hawai‘i and to enhance research, development, and training generally in Hawai‘i. Equal Opportunities Employer – Minorities/Women/Disability/Veteran.

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