Join the Lab

The Salerno Laboratory of Integrative Microbial Ecology ( located at George Mason University’s new Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center ( is recruiting a Ph.D. student to start January 2020. The student will enroll in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy’s interdisciplinary graduate program, culminating in a doctoral degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy (

The Salerno Lab researches symbiotic and free-living microorganisms and the role that they play in maintaining and destabilizing organism health and ecosystem function. This research is approached through the lens of seeking to advance basic science, while also developing environmental monitoring tools, practical applications, and policy guidance for environmental resource management and conservation. Our lab uses traditional microbiological techniques, molecular biology, next generation sequencing, bioinformatics, and microscopy to characterize microbial diversity and function, and how microbes respond to environmental change. Current research projects pertain to the identification and characterization of coral and fish pathogens, the role of the microbiome in host susceptibility to parasites, microbes as bioindicators of aquatic health, and impacts of stream restoration on soil microbes. The incoming Ph.D. student’s research would involve characterization of coral microbiomes and their role in host health. Our lab actively engages in science communication and interdisciplinary work at the intersection of science and policy. Students are encouraged to take advantage of our location near Washington, D.C.

The student will be supported by a two-year graduate research assistantship, with the opportunity for a multi-year teaching assistantship in environmental microbiology or other subject. The graduate research assistantship includes a stipend of $20,000/yr for two years, a tuition waiver (6 credit hours of in-state tuition per semester), and health insurance. The graduate teaching assistantship is also accompanied by a stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance. Priority for admission is given to applicants with an M.S. degree, but applicants holding a B.S. degree with significant research experience will also be considered. Please see for details regarding eligibility and application requirements.

Potential applicants should contact Dr. Jen Salerno ( directly before submitting an application. Please include a copy of your CV (including GPA and three references) and a brief statement describing your previous research experience and current research interests. For full consideration, application materials must be submitted by August 31, 2019.

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