Postdoctoral Fellowship at YorkU-Toronto in Atmospheric Reactive Nitrogen Instrument Development

Toronto (City), Ontario
Commensurate with experience
Dec 28, 2018
Jan 27, 2019
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type

Number of Positions: 1

Anticipated Start Date: May - September 2019

Term: 1 year (with renewal opportunity for an additional year)

The VandenBoer Group is currently searching for an ideal candidate for a postdoctoral position. Interested candidates should have a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry or Science with a strong background in Analytical Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis. Candidates with related experience are encouraged to apply. Additional assets of interested applicants include experience in experimental physics, electrical engineering, or computer programming (e.g. LabView, Igor, or MATLAB). Applicants require excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to work in a team environment. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with relevant expertise. Interested candidates should contact Dr. VandenBoer at with their CV and contact information for three (3) professional references. Only those selected for consideration will be contacted. Applications will be reviewed as received.

The available position is focused on instrumental development for the detection of atmospheric reactive nitrogen species in indoor and outdoor environments. People spend up to 90 % of their time each day indoors where emissions from domestic or professional activities may affect the chemistry and exposure of people in these atmospheres. Reactive nitrogen species are well-known catalysts in the degradation of urban air quality and formation of atmospheric particles, with potential to affect indoor air quality in a similar fashion. Research in the VandenBoer group is pursuing the development and testing of new analytical instrumentation and methodologies for quantifying the reactive nitrogen budget indoors. The purpose is to provide platforms that can be used safely in these spaces to widely survey the role of reactive nitrogen in indoor environments, while also providing selective detection of the various components of the reactive nitrogen pool. This work is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation through the Chemistry of Indoor Environments Program. This program encompasses a passionate community of experts from around the world to provide insight into the chemistry controlling the composition of indoor and outdoor atmospheres, who meet regularly at workshops and international conferences such as the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Healthy Buildings, Canadian Society for Chemistry and the American Chemical Society.

The available project is focused on the design, construction, automation, and validation of a real-time reactive nitrogen budget analytical platform for indoor atmospheres. The Faculty of Science at York University houses technical facilities for rapid prototyping of instrumentation, including glassblowing, machine, 3D printing, and electronics shops. Detection of total reactive nitrogen will be pursued through mentorship of a graduate student in the construction of a catalytic inlet to decompose a wide range of reactive nitrogen anticipated in indoor environments, including reduced, oxidized, and condensed phase species. Optimization of sampling and detection of mixtures will be performed using our smog chambers. The postdoctoral researcher will facilitate full system integration for speciation of the reactive nitrogen pool through instrument automation (e.g. calibration, blanks, other analytical channels). The developed instrument will be intercompared with online techniques used in outdoor atmospheric chemistry and to quantify reactive nitrogen in indoor environments. Intercomparisons and proof-of-principle testing in this project will be performed at the York University Air Quality Research Station, and at a variety of field locations throughout the Greater Toronto Area, southwestern Ontario, and further abroad. The postdoctoral fellow will have the opportunity to lead field measurements in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Siegel at the University of Toronto to evaluate the importance of air exchange on reactive nitrogen chemistry and exchange indoors. Additional field opportunities may also become available.

Home to 52,000 students, York University has an international reputation as a global, research-intensive university committed to interdisciplinarity, innovation, social justice, equity, and diversity. Members of the Faculty of Science learn from and work with outstanding faculty members, and benefit from leading-edge research facilities and visiting speaker series. Postdoctoral fellows have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues at Canadian institutions and internationally in academia, industry, and government. The Faculty of Science has grown substantially in recent years. It has earned a global reputation for cutting-edge research and innovation, housing one of the first programs in Canadian Atmospheric Chemistry. The Department of Chemistry consists of 24 faculty members, several postdoctoral fellows, and over 60 graduate students, providing a large community of local expertise. The Department of Chemistry has research excellence and diversity across many disciplines and attracts funding from a broad array of agencies including NSERC, CIHR, Mitacs, and CFI. It is also home to YSciCore offering a wide variety of state-of-the-science techniques for the physical sciences.