Biological Sciences – Research Associate (Subsurface Hydrogen Genomics) – University of Calgary

Posted 10 months ago
Location: Alberta
Date posted: 2023-08-24
Advertised until: 2023-09-21

Job ID: 29765
Updated: August 22,2023
Location: Main Campus

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

Position Overview
The Department of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Science invites applications for a Research Associate in Subsurface Hydrogen Genomics. This Full-time Fixed Term position is for approximately 24 months (based on length of grant funding).

Reporting to the Principal Investigator of the Geomicrobiology Group, the Research Associate will be a full-time employee responsible for participating in research in the area of microbial ecology and ecophysiology of subsurface microbial populations using bioinformatics, genomics, metagenomics, biogeochemistry and microbiology. The successful candidate will have experience in bioinformatics, metagenomic analysis, sequence analysis and molecular biology (e.g., quantitative and/or digital PCR). Experience working on the microbiology of extreme environments, low-biomass samples for DNA extraction, and using anaerobic cultivation techniques, will be strong assets.

The future hydrogen economy in Alberta and across the world will rely on new kinds of infrastructures and technologies including options for medium term temporary storage. Large underground hydrogen storage sites are considered attractive options in this regard, with hollowed-out salt caverns and petroleum reservoir porous rock touted as leading candidates. This offers considerable opportunity in Alberta where there is extensive expertise in the oil and gas sector, and well-understood candidate subsurface environments. While a key feature of these containment reservoirs will be the physical features in relation to H2 leakage, a less appreciated risk associated with H2 storage is the potential for biological losses due to oxidation by deep biosphere extremophile metabolism. This Research Associate will focus on assessing the microbiomes living in petroleum reservoirs and/or salt caverns and other relevant subsurface environments, with specific focus on deep biosphere populations that possess hydrogenase genes that encode the potential for H2 oxidation in these settings. The objective will be to understand, quantify and potentially control these populations if they are indeed capable of catalyzing unwanted reactions in the context of underground hydrogen storage. The position advertised here is supported by funding from the Government of Alberta (Alberta Innovates Hydrogen Centre of Excellence) and the Government of Canada (Natural Resources Canada).

Position Description
Summary of Key Responsibilities (job functions include but are not limited to):


  • Dry lab analysis of hydrogenase genes including development of gene models (e.g., Hidden Markov Models) for accurate annotation of different hydrogenase types and sub-types
  • Wet lab experimentation on H2 oxidizing enrichments including LC and GC analytical methods
  • Metagenomic library preparation, troubleshooting, analysis, and interpretation
  • Amplicon library preparation, troubleshooting, analysis, and interpretation
  • Bioinformatics analysis of mixed community metagenomes including metagenome-assembled genomes
  • Nucleic acid extraction (DNA, RNA) from different kinds of samples using multiple approaches
  • Primer and Probe design based on hydrogenase sequence alignments
  • Quantitative analysis of target gene types and sub-types using qPCR and/or digital PCR platforms

Reporting and Publications:

  • Leading and/or supporting publication of results in peer-review journals is expected
  • Maintain a clear and well-documented log of all data, data analyses, results, and lab work
  • Meet with supervisor(s) regularly (e.g., monthly scheduled meetings, as well as interactions on a day-to-day basis) to provide update on status of project results
  • Presentation of results to the MMG research group in weekly lab meetings (e.g., once every 6 weeks) and when applicable to project end users, sponsors or other researchers (e.g., at workshops, conferences, or in private meetings with end users)

 Safety and Environment:

  • Understanding of standard operating procedures of the equipment used in the experimental protocols.
  • Maintain a clean and safe laboratory work environment

Qualifications / Requirements:

  • PhD in area of molecular microbiology or bioinformatics or a similar topic is required
  • 5-7 years of related work experience required
  • First-author publication track record in leading journals (e.g., ISME Journal, Environmental Microbiology, etc) is required.
  • Familiarity with bioinformatics software applications and/or development, including those applied in but not limited to genomics, metagenomics and other microbial multi-omics applications (e.g., packages requiring use of UNIX and R command line) is required
  • Experience in and knowledge of environmental microbiology is required
  • Proficiency with computational bioinformatics tools is required
  • Experience in analysing terabyte-scale sequencing data is an asset
  • Knowledge of WHMIS is required
  • Ability to multi-task and deal with some repetitive tasks is required
  • Strong organizational and time management skills is required
  • Good verbal and written communication skills is required
  • Must be comfortable working in a diverse research team and have good interpersonal skills
  • Previous experience with mentoring early career scientists (e.g. graduate students) is an asset

Application Deadline:  September 21,2023

We would like to thank all applicants in advance for submitting their resumes. Please note, only those candidates chosen to continue on through the selection process will be contacted.

Additional Information
This position is part of the AUPE bargaining unit, and falls under the Technical Job Family, Phase 2 (Salary range: $32.69 – $47.33/hour).

To find out more about management and staff opportunities at the University of Calgary and all we have to offer, view our Management and Staff Careers website. For more information visit Careers in the Faculty of Science.

The University strongly recommends all faculty and staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit

The University of Calgary has launched an institution-wide Indigenous Strategy in line with the foundational goals of Eyes High, committing to creating a rich, vibrant, and culturally competent campus that welcomes and supports Indigenous Peoples, encourages Indigenous community partnerships, is inclusive of Indigenous perspectives in all that we do.

As an equitable and inclusive employer, the University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their academic and professional success while they are here. In particular, we encourage members of the designated groups (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible/racialized minorities, and diverse sexual orientation and gender identities) to apply. To ensure a fair and equitable assessment, we offer accommodation at any stage during the recruitment process to applicants with disabilities. Questions regarding [diversity] EDI at UCalgary can be sent to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion ( and requests for accommodations can be sent to Human Resources (

Do you have most but not all the qualifications? Research show that women, racialized and visible minorities , and persons with disabilities are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet every single qualification. At UCalgary we are committed to achieving equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible employment practices and workplaces and encourage you to apply if you believe you are right for this role. 

We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.


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View our Application FAQs for answers to common questions regarding the application and selection process.

Job Features

Job CategoryTeaching and scientific research

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