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Hiring Announcement

Microbial Ecology of Greenhouse Gas Consumers

Job Type: Post-Doc

Job Rank: Postdoctoral Scholar

Job Institution: University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering


Job Description

The Smith Research Group at the University of Southern California is recruiting a postdoctoral scholar focused on investigating greenhouse gas consumption by bacteria and archaea. The research will involve designing and operating bench-scale bioreactors for enrichment and culturing of isolated microorganisms from mixed communities. Characterization will involve analytical chemistry, molecular biology, and bioinformatics. The research project is a collaboration with Profs. Jan Amend and Cameron Trash in Biological Sciences at USC Dornsife.

Qualifications for the positions include:
• A Ph.D. in environmental engineering or a related discipline
• Experience constructing and operating bench-scale bioreactors
• Comprehensive understanding of microbial metabolisms related to methane and nitrous oxide
• Experience culturing microorganisms in aerobic and anaerobic environments
• Experience with molecular biology tools (e.g., nucleic acid extraction, qPCR, amplicon sequencing, metagenomics) and associated bioinformatics tools
• Excellent written and oral communication skills

The position is available immediately and is funded for up to 36 months. To apply, please send an email with a cover letter and your CV to Dr. Adam Smith ( We strongly encourage applications from AHN candidates.

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering is committed to enabling the success of dual career families and fosters a family-friendly environment. USC is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law or USC policy. USC will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring ordinance.
February 2023

USC Dornsife Microbial Greenhouse Gas Consumption Research Center founded
In collaboration with Dornsife PI's Cameron Thrash and Jan Amend, Dr. Smith will be leading research at USC's new Microbial Greenhouse Gas Consumption Research Center. As the article explains, "scientists at this new center will identify and grow new microbes capable of converting greenhouse gases into innocuous waste products". Click here to learn more about this newly funded project.
October 2022

Part of a winning team!
PhD students Raven, Harmita, and Michael participated in a collaborative workshop hosted by the inaugural Astani Research Symposium this month. Working with a team of students from various environmental and civil engineering specializations, they collaborated in proposing an interdisciplinary solution to engineering issues in the LA area. Eight different teams presented their proposals to a panel of judges, and Raven, Harmita and Michael's team tied for first place. Congratulations!
September 2022

Congratulations to Phil for a successful defense of his dissertation Wastewater-based epidemiology for emerging biological concerns
September 2022

A big welcome to Michael Saldana and Christelle Sawaya who have joined the lab as Ph.D. students this semester!
August 2022

The SHINE program ends with successful poster presentations by high school students Ana Baena, Gizel Lee Morales, Terrence Matthews II, and Kevin Zaldana who joined the lab this summer!
July 2022

A big congratulations to Dr. Smith for the success of the 17th World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion
The conference was co-chaired by Lutgarde Raskin (University of Michigan) and Adam L. Smith (University of Southern California), with both labs heavily involved. Ph.D. students Phillip Wang, Bianca Costa, Connor Sauceda, and Harmita Golwala had the privilege of presenting their research while in attendance. For more information, please visit the conference website
June 2022
Congratulations, Raven, on receiving USC Viterbi's Jenny Wang Excellence in Teaching Award! 
Link here. 
May 2022
Congratulations to Raven on receiving the Sonny Astani Outstanding TA award!
Link here. 
October 2021
Welcome Harmita Golwala, our new Ph.D. student!
August 2021
The SHINE program ends with successful poster presentations by high school students Roberto Camacho, Miriam Garcia, and Chiara Nandapurkar who joined the lab this summer!
July 2021

Learn about the wastewater surveillance research of SARS-COV-2 and how it helps to the USC campus with case management.
Link here.
May 2021

Harmita Golwala, our Master's student research assistant, is featured on Viterbi News. Learn more about her experience at USC and the impact microplastics research had in her career.
Link here
May 2021

Congratulations Connor for being awarded the NSF GRFP!
April 2021

Tackling the fight against antibiotic resistance from different angles
Dr. Smith gets featured in a USC experts article that tackles the fight against antibiotic resistance from different angles. Read more on the insight provided by Dr. Smith on ARGs in Wastewater here
February 2021

Research shows sewers could be key to identifying, stopping COVID-19 outbreaks. Exciting updates on the research performed by our lab team on wastewater surveillance gets featured on the news, for more information follow the link here.
December 2020

Ali's on a roll!
Congratulations to Ali for being the chosen recipient of the USC Viterbi Best Research Assistant Award and for his newest publication: a review paper on the role of intracellular vs extracellular antibiotic resistance genes in the environment 
Link here.

October 2020



Publication announcement!
Ali's paper "Membrane Fouling Inversely Impacts Intracellular and Extracellular Antibiotic Resistance Gene Abundances in the Effluent of an Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor" has been published in Environmental Science and Technology. 
Link here.

September 2020



Big welcome to Connor Sauceda and Raven Althouse who joined our group as Ph.D. students this month!

August 2020



Could sewers be key to detecting COVID-19 outbreaks?
The wastewater based epidemiology study gets featured in NBC Los Angeles News. To see the full report follow the link here.
August 2020

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The wastewater based epidemiology research gets featured in KCRW radio. 
To listen to the interview to Dr. Smith on the ongoing advancements and opportunities click here
July 2020

The SHINE program ends with successful poster and online presentation by Nico Luo and Joseph Chen, the High school students that joined the lab remotely this summer.
July 2020

May arrives with exciting news: Chen got a position in University of Iowa for a PhD and Qin Dong receives MS research award!
May 2020

The wastewater based epidemiology study is awarded by the RAPID NSF fund to collaborate with other universities in Texas, North Carolina and Washington DC.
May 2020

Congratulations to Syeed for securing a position at North Dakota State University as an incoming Assistant Professor!
May 2020

Yamrot is a finalist in the 2020 PhD Best Dissertation Virtual Symposium.
April 2020

Dr. Smith is awarded tenure and a promotion to Associate Professor!
April 2020

Congratulations to Bianca for winning the NSF GRFP 2020 Fellowship and receiving an Honorable Mention in the FORD Foundation 2020 fellowship!
March 2020

Our high school student researcher, Sarah was our SHINE student this past summer. More information about the program can be found here.
November 2019

USC Provost's New Directions for Research and Scholarship Award recently funded for the project "Isolating Microbial Dark Matter to Breathe Greenhouse Gases."

September 2019

Big welcome to Bianca Costa who joined our group as a Ph.D. student and to Syeed Md Iskander as a Post Doctoral Research Scholar this month!

August 2019



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Siming’s 2018 paper "Methane-driven microbial fuel cells recover energy and mitigate dissolved methane emissions from anaerobic effluents" was one of the best papers for 2018 in ESWRT.

March 2019

Undergraduates in the environmental engineering microbiology course taught by Dr.Smith use the brand-new lab space to study their own microbiomes.

December 2018

NSF proposal to study the effect of material properties and scaling on wetting of membranes used in membrane distillation awarded with Dr. Amy Childress.
For more information click here.

June 2018



Just announced: Dr. Smith is co-charing the upcoming Anaerobic Digestion AD17 conference with Dr. Lutgarde Raskin!


Dr. Smith was recently featured on the Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology Blog as part of their Emerging Investigator Series. Checkout his Q&A here.

November 2018



Congrats to Siming and Moustapha for publishing their latest research! Their paper, "Emerging investigators series: revisiting greenhouse gas mitigation from conventional activated sludge and anaerobic-based wastewater treatment systems ," was published in Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology and can be found here.

October 2018

Checkout Tranice's article in Viterbi News discussing her recent NSF Fellowship and research! Find the article here.

October 2018



Congrats to Stephanie for publishing her first paper while at USC!
Her paper, "Optimizing electrospinning parameters for piezoelectric PVDF nanofiber membranes," was published in Journal of Membrane Science and can be found here.

July 2018



Congrats to Stephanie Gee and Tranice' Warner for receiving NSF Graduate Research Fellowships this year!
Viterbi had four fellowship recipients this year and we are ecstatic that two came from our research group!

April 2018



For older news please visit our news archive by clicking here.
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