Postdoctoral Associate (L,P,S)

Apply now Job no: 507887
Position type: Full-Time 12-Month
Department: 013200 - Delta Research and Extension Center
Location: Stoneville, MS
Categories: Professional
Position Open Date:

Position Function:

The Delta Research and Extension Center, Mississippi State University is seeking a postdoc to investigate the effects of virus infection on the pheromone systems of social insects, including imported fire ants and honeybees. While many viruses have been identified in honeybees, some bee-related viruses have also been discovered in imported fire ants. These viruses have the potential to disrupt the normal production and dissemination of pheromones, which play a crucial role in communication and coordination within ant and bee colonies, influencing behaviors such as foraging, mating, and defense. Such disruption could lead to disturbances in colony organization, foraging efficiency, and overall social dynamics. Furthermore, altered pheromone profiles might impact interactions among insects, potentially affecting community structure and ecosystem functioning.

The presence of bee-related viruses could also affect the electrophysiological processes of both ants and bees. Viral infections may disrupt neural signaling pathways involved in sensory perception, learning, and memory, thereby affecting the behavior and responsiveness of individuals within affected populations. Changes in electrophysiological responses could alter the sensitivity of ants and bees to environmental cues, potentially influencing foraging behavior, navigation abilities, and social interactions. Additionally, disruptions in neural function may have cascading effects on colony organization and resilience, ultimately shaping population dynamics and community interactions.

Salary Grade:  UC

Please see Staff Compensation Structure or Skilled Crafts and Service Maintenance Compensation Schedule for salary ranges.  For salary grade UC, these positions are "Unclassified" and salary ranges are determined by the hiring department.

Department Profile:

This position is located at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, MS.

Area of Specialization:

Center for Pollinator Health--Chemical Ecology in Fire Ants and Honey bees

Anticipated Appointment Date:

November 2024. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

This position will focus on evaluating the effect of viral infection on the production and electrophysiological responses of honeybees and fire ants to several well-defined pheromones, such as honeybee queen pheromones, brood pheromones, and fire ant alarm and trail pheromones. The candidate will be expected to design and carry out experiments, analyze results, write manuscripts, and contribute to monthly lab meetings. The detailed project plan can be developed based on personal interests.
This work will be done in collaboration with Dr. Jian Chen at the USDA-ARS Stoneville, MS. Therefore, the successful candidate will have access to gain skills and expand their network with him.
This position is for two years with possibility of annual extension depending on performance and availability of funds.
The desired start date is November 2024, but flexibility is possible for suitable candidates.

Minimum Qualifications:

A PhD in Biology, Entomology or similar field is required at the time of appointment. Previous research experience in insect chemical ecology or molecular biology is also necessary. Additionally, the candidate should be comfortable working in both laboratory and field settings. The candidate is expected to work independently as well as part of a team.

Preferred Qualifications:

Preferably, the candidate will have experience with electroantennography (EAG), single sensillum recording (SSR), Xenopus oocyte recording system (XORS), or have training in metabolomics using GC-MS, LC-MS, or NMR methods.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

• Excellent written and oral communication skills.
• Attention to detail and excellent record keeping.
• Self-motivated individual who can take direction, but does not require direction.
• Able to work in a collaborative environment on team-based research.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

Good dexterity as well as hand-eye coordination. The selected individual needs to be comfortable working with live bees. Physical strength and endurance are needed to perform strenuous outdoor work under hot, sunny field conditions.

Instructions for Applying:

Link to apply:

Applicants must apply at and upload 1) one page cover letter that addresses your experiences and goals with respect to this position as well as how you meet the required and desired qualifications 2) curriculum vitae, 3) contact information of three professional references, and 4) unofficial transcripts (Any social security numbers included on requested transcripts should be redacted prior to submitting online.)
Contact for additional information:
Dr. Esmaeil Amiri
Mississippi State University
Delta Research and Extension Center
P. O. Box 197
Stoneville, MS 38776
Office: (662) 686-3215
Applications will be reviewed beginning July 1, 2024.

Screening Date:

July 1, 2024, until filled. 

Restricted Clause:

Position is contingent upon continued availability of funding.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.

What do I do if I need an accommodation?

In compliance with the ADA Amendments Act (ADA), if you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation in order to apply for a position with Mississippi State University, please contact the Department of Human Resources Management at tel: (662) 325-3713 or

If you have any questions regarding this policy, contact the Department of Human Resources Management at (662) 325-3713 or Upon request, sections of this job listing are available in large print, and readers are available to assist the visually impaired.

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