Environmental Chemistry

Job Type
Job Institution
Texas A&M University
Job Description

Postdoc position in Aquatic Chemistry at Texas A&M University

The Aquatic Chemistry lab (https://mckaywaterlab.weebly.com/) in the Zachry Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University is seeking to a hire a highly motivated, full-time postdoctoral fellow with a background in Dissolved Organic Matter, Photochemistry or related field to work on multiple projects funded by the US National Science Foundation.

PyDOM Chemistry: The goals of the first project on pyrogenic dissolved organic matter are to i) identify relationships between molecular structure and optical surrogates like fluorescence quantum yields, ii) evaluate the photochemical and microbiological transformation of PyDOM, and iii) help develop the use of online CDOM sensors for tracking PyDOM export from a burned watershed. Researchers will become experts in optical measurements, aquatic photochemistry, SPE and FT-ICR MS, and field methods.

ERASE-PFAS: The goals of the second project on PFAS treatment are to i) characterize the hydrated electron-based destruction efficiencies of parent PFAS and absolute fluoride yields; 2) develop the quantitative methods needed to predict PFAS degradation rates by UV-ARPs in real-world waters; and 3) use these quantitative tools to develop a “best case” UV-ARP treatment and compare this optimized system to other PFAS degradation technologies. Researchers will be become experts in photochemical kinetics and UV-Advanced Reduction Processes, gain experience in SPE and high-resolution mass spectrometry for analysis of PFAS, have opportunities to conduct pulse-radiolysis transient absorption spectroscopy with collaborating researchers.

NSF CAREER: This goal of this project is to uncover the molecular-scale interactions that explain the macroscopic optical and photochemical properties of dissolved organic matter. The project will accomplish these goals by studying charge-transfer complexes of model organic compounds; characterizing the optical, photophysical, and photochemical properties highly resolved DOM fractions generated by size, charge, and polarity gradients; and evaluate the impact of photooxidation and microbial transformation and the abundance and chemistry of DOM charge-transfer complexes. Researchers involved in the project will also work closely with Dr. McKay to develop educational activities that will be submitted to peer-reviewed educational journals.

More information about these projects can be found at

The primary responsibilities for this position will include:

  • Planning, conducting, and managing laboratory experiments to address the objective described in the above projects
  • Supervising of undergraduate, PhD, and MS students
  • Support the Principal Investigator in purchasing, maintaining records, maintaining instruments, and other day-to-day aspects of running the lab
  • Preparing manuscripts for peer reviewed journals and presenting findings at conferences
  • Assist in the development of proposals

Required qualifications:

  • PhD in Environmental Engineering, Environmental Chemistry/Geochemistry, or a related discipline
  • Ability to work in a collaborative environments
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong problem-solving and organizational skills
  • Detail oriented

Competitive applicants will also exhibit some of the following characteristics:

  • Demonstrated knowledge and expertise in the analysis of dissolved organic matter, including spectroscopic and photochemical methods
  • Experience conducting laboratory studies to investigate the fate of organic contaminants
  • Experience with the use of analytical instrumentation for analysis of organic compounds – LC/MS, GC/MS
  • Evidence of scientific impact from their PhD

Review of postdoc applications will begin on May 1. Applicants should email the following materials as a single PDF to Prof. Garrett McKay (gmckay@tamu.edu) with the subject “Postdoc applicant” – brief cover letter, CV, names and contact information of three references, and up to two examples of scholarly work (published or submitted manuscripts). The preferred start date is between July 1 and September 1, 2023. The initial appointment is expected to be for one year, but renewal for multiple years is possible contingent on funding, progress made by the postdoc, and career goals of the postdoc. The postdoc salary starts at $50,000 and comes with generous employee healthcare benefits.

More information about Aquatic Chemistry Group @ Texas A&M can be found online (https://mckaywaterlab.weebly.com/). Our group’s most recent publications are available on Prof. McKay’s Google Scholar page (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ZsVoRmMAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao). Read more about living in College Station, TX at https://www.cstx.gov/our_community.