We are in this boat together

Artist's rendering of research vessel.

This week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced it selected the Gulf – Caribbean Oceanographic Consortium, cooperatively led by The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), to operate the third new oceanographic research ship to carry out regional scale research in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. We are thrilled by this announcement and this opportunity to support, enhance and expand scientific research and discovery in the Gulf and Caribbean.

Our lab had a unique insight in the process that lead to this award. I worked with a team at USM and LUMCON to develop the proposal and a vision for supporting ocean science through the use of this ship. I also had the chance to see my lab team pull together. The lab endured the development of this proposal over several months. They heard the conference calls, the “ding” of hundreds of emails, and bore witness to a horrendous stress diet (candy? did someone say candy?). Worst of all, proposal submission converged with our prep for the Microbial Stowaways cruise, leading to this very accurate Venn diagram:

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Through it all, we stuck together, supported each other, and made our work matter, for our research and in support of the academic research fleet. I was honored to work on this proposal, and excited about the work ahead with UNOLS. I am overflowing with gratitude for how our lab members stuck together, worked hard, and supported this important award.

Rachel, Rachel, Anirban, Justyna and Leif, I am glad we made it through July/August. I am glad we are a team.

Leila

Seeking Graduate Student for Oyster Aquaculture Microbiome Study

We seek an exceptional student to participate in microbial ecological research concerning marine aquaculture. In the Gulf of Mexico there is considerable interest in developing technologies to expand the oyster industry through aquaculture. The chemical and microbiological conditions which permit survival of healthy oyster larvae and ultimately production of viable oysters are largely unknown. We invite students interested in studying the intersection of ecology and oyster aquaculture to apply for a Graduate Research Assistantship in the Division of Coastal Sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi to explore aquaculture microbiomes.

Successful applicants will have a BS or MS degree in biology, ecology, environmental science, chemistry, aquaculture or relevant field. Applicants with experience in molecular biology, biogeochemistry, larval culture or statistical analysis are encouraged to apply. Students are expected to develop manuscripts for peer review, participate in outreach, and present results in written and oral formats. This opportunity will involve collaboration with experts in marine aquaculture at the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center and provide a rich environment for learning about marine microbial ecology.

Individuals that are serious about graduate study should contact Dr. Leila Hamdan (leila.hamdan@usm.edu). Please provide a cover letter outlining specific interests and experience in the study of microbial ecology or marine aquaculture and a curriculum vita. Application for Fall  2019 admission at USM is required. Information on graduate admission requirements can be found hereThe deadline for Fall 2019 admission is April 1, 2019.

For more information about USM, the School of Ocean Science and Engineering or the Division of Coastal Sciences, please visit this site.

2018 in Photos

Towards the end of 2018, the lab became very busy developing and implementing a new study supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Biological Technology Office. The goal of this work is to use microbiomes to tell us about the history and present of human structures on the seafloor. The project came up fast, and in August and September, all hands in the Hamdan Lab, some extra hands from the School of Ocean Science and Engineering, and some more hands from our collaborators at the MMRI at University of Mississippi worked together to design, build and test seafloor landers and experimental arrays to collect biofilms. We benefited from the support and advice of the crew of R/V Point Sur (University of Southern Mississippi’s ship), and worked closely with ocean engineers who helped us integrate our experiments with the remotely operated vehicle Odysseus (Pelagic Research Systems, Inc), which ultimately drove our experiments to depths up to 2000m deep, and placed them exactly where they needed to be to accomplish our goals. Then, in December, we went back out in the Gulf of Mexico on R/V Point Sur, and called all eight of our experiments home.

This work was incredibly hands on, extremely tiring, and required all of our imagination and “make it work” skills. It was also a huge amount of fun. You can see it on our faces in the photo albums posted below. These are long overdue, and we hope you enjoy seeing the many perspectives of marine microbial ecology and ocean engineering happening here, and appreciate the happy, smiling, science we accomplished together.

Flickr Photo Albums from 2018

September ROV Cruise https://flic.kr/s/aHskNcFvZ8

December cruise – recovering experiments https://flic.kr/s/aHsmAkHwBh

ROV stills of the Alcoa Puritan shipwreck https://www.flickr.com/gp/87030063@N08/6QP9ey

Welcoming our new Lab Manager

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We are excited to have Anirban Ray join the Hamdan Lab team. Anirban completed his MS in Molecular/Microbial Ecology from BGSU, Ohio, and has a Master’s in Microbiology from Bangalore University, India. ​Anirban is experienced in the field of genome editing using the CRISPR/Cas9 system, and cutting-edge molecular methods.

Anirban joins the lab as our Lab Manager, and will support our work to study  microbiome signature of the built environment of Gulf of Mexico seafloor. He will guide our work in 16S rRNA gene sequencing and metagenomics, and help students develop new techniques to broaden our work and their expertise. We are thrilled to have him join our team.

Welcome Anirban!

Seeking Postdoctoral Researcher to Support Exploration of Shipwreck Microbiomes

We seek a postdoctoral researcher to support a 2 year project funded by NOAA’s Ocean Exploration and Research Program. The project includes the first exploration mission to two shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico, and discovery focused studies of their microbiomes. Individuals with experience with microbiology, biogeochemistry, and expertise in molecular ecology are encouraged to apply.Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Engage in a project studying seafloor microbiomes and metagenomes to characterize communities in water, sediment and biofilms.
  • Develop expertise in ecological theories regarding microbial biogeography and contribute new knowledge and ideas to this area of research.
  • Develop and apply bioinformatics tools and approaches to identify communities, relevant taxa and associations. Learn and apply machine learning tools to datasets generated during the course of the study in collaboration with project scientists from other institutions.
  • Participate in planning and executing field work on board USM’s Research Vessel Point Sur, and other oceanographic research vessels.
  • Contribute significantly to written and oral communication, including the development of peer-reviewed manuscripts, blog posts, outreach through social media, and the public outreach products designed to engage broad audiences in the study of the deep-sea.
  • Participate in student mentoring, and perform other duties as assigned by the study PI.
Minimum Qualifications
Applicants must have a Ph.D. in coastal or marine sciences, microbiology, geomicrobiology, biogeochemistry or similar field.  Applicants must also have a publication record that illustrates ability to conduct and communicate independent research as well as experience and proficiency in bioinformatics and statistical analysis.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

·  Proficiency with molecular biological laboratory techniques, general laboratory practice, experimental design, laboratory safety procedures. A high level of computer literacy.

·  Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.  Ability to write reports, correspondence and peer-reviewed manuscripts.  Ability to speak effectively before groups. Ability and interest in contributing to outreach activities.

·  Interested candidates should be self-motivated, results driven, able to take a project vision and shape it with scientific experience, and work with a team to support discovery and learning.

Preferred Qualifications  
Significant proficiency in bioinformatics and, programming experience.
To apply for the position of Post Doctoral Research Associate please click hereAll applications must be submitted through the USM career site. Please contact Leila Hamdan with specific questions.

We are Hiring! Three new positions in marine microbial ecology available

Three new positions in the lab are  available: Postdoctoral Researcher; Research Technician; Graduate Student

Consider working with us on two projects to explore the built environment’s impact on marine microbiomes. Details below:

Postdoctoral Research Associate

To apply for the position of Post Doctoral Research Associate please click hereApplicants will need to submit a curriculum vitae, a cover letter outlining their specific interest in and relevant experience for this position, and names of three references to be considered for this position. All applications must be submitted through the USM career site.

Job Summary

The Hamdan Lab in the School of Ocean Science and Engineering at the University of Southern Mississippi seeks a postdoctoral researcher to support microbiome studies of benthic ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. Work will focus on the built environment in the deep-sea. Individuals with experience with microbiology and biogeochemistry, with specific knowledge and expertise in molecular ecology are encouraged to apply.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Engage in a project studying seafloor microbiomes and metagenomes to characterize communities in water, sediment and biofilms.
  • Develop expertise in ecological theories regarding microbial biogeography and contribute new knowledge and ideas to this area of research.
  • Develop and apply bioinformatics tools and approaches to identify communities, relevant taxa and associations. Learn and apply machine learning tools to datasets generated during the course of the study in collaboration with project scientists from other institutions.
  • Participate in planning and executing field work on board USM’s Research Vessel Point Sur, and other oceanographic research vessels.
  • Contribute significantly to written and oral communication, including the development of peer-reviewed manuscripts, blog posts, outreach through social media, and the public outreach products designed to engage broad audiences in the study of the deep-sea.
  • Participate in student mentoring, and perform other duties as assigned by the study PI.
Minimum Qualifications
Applicants must have a Ph.D. in coastal or marine sciences, microbiology, geomicrobiology, biogeochemistry or similar field.  Applicants must also have a publication record that illustrates ability to conduct and communicate independent research as well as experience and proficiency in bioinformatics and statistical analysis.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

·  Proficiency with molecular biological laboratory techniques, general laboratory practice, experimental design, laboratory safety procedures. A high level of computer literacy.

·  Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.  Ability to write reports, correspondence and peer-reviewed manuscripts.  Ability to speak effectively before groups. Ability and interest in contributing to outreach activities.

·  Interested candidates should be self-motivated, results driven, able to take a project vision and shape it with scientific experience, and work with a team to support discovery and learning.

Preferred Qualifications  
Significant proficiency in bioinformatics and, programming experience.

 

About The University of Southern Mississippi

The Division of Coastal Sciences is a research and graduate education unit within the School of Ocean Science and Engineering, offering programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees. The Division is located at the USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (Ocean Springs, Mississippi), a marine laboratory featuring comprehensive basic and applied research programs in coastal and marine biological sciences. Research program support includes state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and instrumentation; a fleet of small and large research vessels, including the R/V Point Sur; the GCRL Museum collection; the Center for Fisheries Research and Development; NSF I/UCRC Science Center for Marine Fisheries, and aquaculture facilities including the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center.

Founded in 1910, The University of Southern Mississippi is a comprehensive doctoral and research-driven university with a proud history and an eye on the future. A dual-campus university, Southern Miss serves students on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, in addition to five teaching and research sites in Mississippi and through Online at Southern Miss.  Since 2006, our students have collected three Truman Scholarships and 18 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. USM students also lead Mississippi with 21 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Our Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research affords our students meaningful research opportunities, and as a proven leader in innovation, we conduct transformative research that translates into real-world solutions. As one of only 36 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music, we are a haven for creativity and artistic expression. In the classroom or lab, on the playing field, or in the performance hall, we strive to have a positive impact not only on our students, but also the world around us. Further information is found at usm.edu.

As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer/Americans with Disabilities Act institution, The University of Southern Mississippi encourages minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities to apply.

 

Research Technician

To apply for the position of Research Technician, please click here.
Applicants will need to submit curriculum vitae, a cover letter outlining their specific interest in and relevant experience for this position, and names of three references to be considered for this position. All applications must be submitted through the USM career site.

Job Summary

The Hamdan Lab in the School of Ocean Science and Engineering at the University of Southern Mississippi seeks a research technician to support microbiome studies of benthic ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. Work will focus on the study of aquatic microbial communities and their interaction with natural and anthropogenic features. Individuals with experience with microbiology, biogeochemistry, and molecular ecology are encouraged to apply.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Engage in projects studying seafloor microorganisms to characterize communities in water, sediment and biofilms.
  2. Develop expertise in molecular techniques and bioinformatics to support projects.
  3. Participate in planning and executing field work on board USM’s Research Vessel Point Sur, and other oceanographic research vessels.
  4. Assist with purchasing, expense tracking, laboratory inventory and organization.
  5. Participate in training of laboratory staff in laboratory practices, and develop of new analytical procedures in collaboration with PIs, postdocs and students.
  6. Contribute to written and oral communication through producing graphs and tables to summarize data and the development of reports, grants, and publications. Participate in outreach through social media, and upkeep of the lab website, and perform other duties as assigned by the study PI.
Minimum Qualifications
Applicants must have a MS degree in a related field (coastal or marine sciences, microbiology, chemistry, biogeochemistry, biology or other similar field) or a BS degree with relevant laboratory experience.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

·  Proficiency with standard laboratory techniques, molecular biology, laboratory safety procedures, and computer literacy.

·  Interested candidates should be organized, self-motivated, and able to work with a team to support discovery and learning.

·  Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.  Ability to contribute to reports, correspondence, peer-reviewed manuscripts and outreach.

Preferred Qualifications  
Experience with molecular biology practices, bioinformatics, statistical analysis and programming.

About The University of Southern Mississippi

The Division of Coastal Sciences is a research and graduate education unit within the School of Ocean Science and Engineering, offering programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees. The Division is located at the USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (Ocean Springs, Mississippi), a marine laboratory featuring comprehensive basic and applied research programs in coastal and marine biological sciences. Research program support includes state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and instrumentation; a fleet of small and large research vessels, including the R/V Point Sur; the GCRL Museum collection; the Center for Fisheries Research and Development; NSF I/UCRC Science Center for Marine Fisheries, and aquaculture facilities including the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center.

Founded in 1910, The University of Southern Mississippi is a comprehensive doctoral and research-driven university with a proud history and an eye on the future. A dual-campus university, Southern Miss serves students on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, in addition to five teaching and research sites in Mississippi and through Online at Southern Miss.  Since 2006, our students have collected three Truman Scholarships and 18 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. USM students also lead Mississippi with 21 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Our Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research affords our students meaningful research opportunities, and as a proven leader in innovation, we conduct transformative research that translates into real-world solutions. As one of only 36 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music, we are a haven for creativity and artistic expression. In the classroom or lab, on the playing field, or in the performance hall, we strive to have a positive impact not only on our students, but also the world around us. Further information is found at usm.edu.

As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer/Americans with Disabilities Act institution, The University of Southern Mississippi encourages minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities to apply.

 

Graduate Assistant


We seek an exceptional student to participate in marine microbial ecology studies. This position will support independent research on benthic ecosystems. The assistantship (stipend, tuition and benefits) will enable a student to participate in discovery driven research on deep-sea historic shipwreck microbiomes. This position will involve molecular biology (DNA extraction, amplification, sequencing), bioinformatics, and environmental microbiology techniques. Interested candidates must be willing to participate in laboratory and field experiments, and be motivated, enthusiastic, responsible and able to work with a team.

Successful applicants will have a BS or MS degree in biology, ecology, environmental science, chemistry or other relevant field. Applicants with experience in molecular biology, biogeochemistry or statistical analysis are encouraged to apply. Students involved in this work will participate in the planning and execution of oceanographic research onboard USM’s research vessel Point Sur. Students are expected to develop manuscripts for peer review, participate in outreach, and present results in written and oral formats. This opportunity will involve collaboration with marine archaeologists and geologists, and provide a rich environment for learning about marine microbial ecology.

Interested individuals that are serious about graduate study should contact Dr. Leila Hamdan (leila.hamdan@usm.edu). Please provide a cover letter outlining specific interests and experience in the study of marine microbial ecology and a curriculum vita. Application for Spring 2019 admission at USM is required. Information on graduate admission requirements can be found here. The deadline for Spring 2019 admission is September 1, 2018.

About the University of Southern Mississippi

The Division of Coastal Sciences is a research and graduate education unit within the School of Ocean Science and Engineering, offering programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees. The Division is located at the USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (Ocean Springs, Mississippi), a marine laboratory featuring comprehensive basic and applied research programs in coastal and marine biological sciences. Research program support includes state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and instrumentation; a fleet of small and large research vessels, including the R/V Point Sur; the GCRL Museum collection; the Center for Fisheries Research and Development; NSF I/UCRC Science Center for Marine Fisheries, and aquaculture facilities including the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center.

Founded in 1910, The University of Southern Mississippi is a comprehensive doctoral and research-driven university with a proud history and an eye on the future. As one of only 34 institutions in the nation accredited in art, dance, music and theatre, we are a haven for creativity and artistic expression. A dual-campus university, Southern Miss serves students on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, in addition to five teaching and research sites in Mississippi. We are among U.S. News & World Report’s most popular universities and recognized by The Princeton Review for our commitment to sustainability. Our Center for Undergraduate Research affords our students meaningful research opportunities, and as a proven leader in innovation, we conduct transformative research that translates into real-world solutions. In the classroom or lab, on the playing field, or in the performance hall, we strive to have a positive impact not only on our students, but also the world around us. Further information is found at www.usm.edu.

Please see our websites for more information about USM, the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, SOSE, and studies in the Hamdan lab: https://hamdanlab.comhttp://gcrl.usm.edu/,  https://www.usm.edu/school-ocean-science-and-technology/about

 

Graduate Assistantship in Marine Microbial Ecology – Spring 2019

The Hamdan Lab in the School of Ocean Science and Engineering at the University of Southern Mississippi seeks an exceptional student to participate in marine microbial ecology studies. This position will support independent research on benthic ecosystems. The assistantship (stipend, tuition and benefits) will enable a student to participate in discovery driven research on deep-sea historic shipwreck microbiomes. This position will involve molecular biology (DNA extraction, amplification, sequencing), bioinformatics, and environmental microbiology techniques. Interested candidates must be willing to participate in laboratory and field experiments, and be motivated, enthusiastic, responsible and able to work with a team.

Successful applicants will have a BS or MS degree in biology, ecology, environmental science, chemistry or other relevant field. Applicants with experience in molecular biology, biogeochemistry or statistical analysis are encouraged to apply. Students involved in this work will participate in the planning and execution of oceanographic research onboard USM’s research vessel Point Sur. Students are expected to develop manuscripts for peer review, participate in outreach, and present results in written and oral formats. This opportunity will involve collaboration with marine archaeologists and geologists, and provide a rich environment for learning about marine microbial ecology.

Interested individuals that are serious about graduate study should contact Dr. Leila Hamdan (leila.hamdan@usm.edu). Please provide a cover letter outlining specific interests and experience in the study of marine microbial ecology and a curriculum vita. Application for Spring 2019 admission at USM is required. Information on graduate admission requirements can be found here. The deadline for Spring 2019 admission is September 1, 2018.

About the University of Southern Mississippi

The Division of Coastal Sciences is a research and graduate education unit within the School of Ocean Science and Engineering, offering programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees. The Division is located at the USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (Ocean Springs, Mississippi), a marine laboratory featuring comprehensive basic and applied research programs in coastal and marine biological sciences. Research program support includes state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and instrumentation; a fleet of small and large research vessels, including the R/V Point Sur; the GCRL Museum collection; the Center for Fisheries Research and Development; NSF I/UCRC Science Center for Marine Fisheries, and aquaculture facilities including the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center.

Founded in 1910, The University of Southern Mississippi is a comprehensive doctoral and research-driven university with a proud history and an eye on the future. As one of only 34 institutions in the nation accredited in art, dance, music and theatre, we are a haven for creativity and artistic expression. A dual-campus university, Southern Miss serves students on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, in addition to five teaching and research sites in Mississippi. We are among U.S. News & World Report’s most popular universities and recognized by The Princeton Review for our commitment to sustainability. Our Center for Undergraduate Research affords our students meaningful research opportunities, and as a proven leader in innovation, we conduct transformative research that translates into real-world solutions. In the classroom or lab, on the playing field, or in the performance hall, we strive to have a positive impact not only on our students, but also the world around us. Further information is found at www.usm.edu.

Please see our websites for more information about USM, the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, SOSE, and studies in the Hamdan lab: https://hamdanlab.comhttp://gcrl.usm.edu/,  https://www.usm.edu/school-ocean-science-and-technology/about

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