Postdoctoral Investigator

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Massachusetts, USA
Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2024

Postdoctoral Investigator

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is currently searching for a Postdoctoral Investigator to join the Marine Chemsitry and Geochemistry Department. This is a full-timel, exempt position, and is eligible for benefits. The Postdoc will be initially awarded for one year with an extension granted for one or more years based on progress and performance.

This unique position is joint between the lab of Dr. Colleen Hansel at WHOI and the lab of Dr. Junhong Chen at the University of Chicago/Argonne National Laboratory. This hire will be part of a team of scientists and engineers creating deployable marine sensors for detecting chemical and biological analytes. This project will focus on designing, building, and validating a submersible and deployable field-effect transistor (FET) sensor for measuring hydrogen peroxide, a short-lived reactive oxygen species.

WHOI has a top-rated postdoctoral program ( that supports a dynamic postdoctoral community with formal mentoring and career guidance programs. While the primary focus of the work will be in research, the Postdoctoral Investigator will have the opportunity to participate in educational and outreach activities associated with the project.

Online application forms should be submitted with a cover letter, complete curriculum vitae, and three letters of recommendation. Applications will be reviewed upon submission.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities

The Postdoc will spend the first year full-time at the University of Chicago/Argonne National Laboratory in Dr. Junhong’s lab to benefit from the lab’s expertise and facilities for creating FET sensors. Upon successful development of a hydrogen peroxide FET sensor, the Postdoc will move to Woods Hole for year 2 where they will work in Dr. Hansel’s lab. At WHOI, the hire will work with ocean engineers to package, test, and validate the sensor for marine deployments. Trips between the labs will occur in both years to optimize design progress and enhance collaboration between labs. Depending on progress, further funding and time may be available to optimize the sensor with alternating time spent in the Chen and Hansel labs.

Overall, the tasks for the hire will be:

  1. In collaboration with experts in FET sensing technology, create a hydrogen peroxide FET sensor that is sensitive to hydrogen peroxide under ocean conditions (pH, salinity, counter ions).
  2. Optimize the sensitivity and specificity of the sensor under a range of ocean conditions, modifying nanomaterials as needed.
  3. Troubleshoot chemical and electrochemical issues

  4. Package the FET sensor, alongside data acquisition components, for underwater operation (with a focus first on deployments <30m).
  5. Conduct field trials in a marine environment to evaluate performance and identify needed design modifications.
  6. Communicate results verbally and in writing

Education & Experience

The ideal candidate will have experience in chemical or materials engineering, particularly assembly of molecular, enzymatic, and/or nanoparticle coatings on electrochemical devices for analyte detection. They will have a Ph.D. in chemistry, chemical engineering, or materials engineering (or related fields) and, ideally, experience in FET devices, electrochemistry, or chemical sensing is preferred.

Special Requirements

Work well alone and in a team of scientists and engineers.

Physical Requirements

Must be ambulatory for field work and possible cruise participation. Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

Sea Duty

Possible sea duty. At that time the hire may work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.


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