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Postdoc - Geochemistry/Petrology

Vanderbilt University Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Nashville, Tennessee
Closing date
Mar 31, 2024

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Geochemistry, Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology
Career Level
Education Level
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type

The Ayers Lab in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Vanderbilt University is seeking a postdoctoral scholar for a one-year appointment funded by an NSF collaborative grant with Chen Zhu at Indiana University Bloomington. The successful applicant will continue an experimental petrology project on the kinetics of recrystallization of the mineral zircon and replacement of metamict zircon in aqueous fluids at high pressures and temperatures. Experimental materials have already been acquired and characterized, and a piston cylinder apparatus and four working cold seal pressure vessel systems are available for experiments. Experimental materials will be analyzed using a FIB-SEM, Raman spectroscopy, and Picarro for oxygen and hydrogen isotopes. U-Pb geochronology and Si isotope analysis will be performed by collaborators. Geochemical modeling will be used to guide experiments, and modeling and experimental results will be compared.


  • Conduct isotope tracer experiments in cold seal pressure vessels and piston cylinder apparatus.
  • Prepare starting materials and run products for analysis.
  • Image materials using FIB-SEM.
  • Analyze run product fluid for oxygen and hydrogen isotopes using Picarro.
  • Determine crystallinity of zircon materials using Raman spectroscopy.
  • Send materials to collaborators for external analysis.
  • Analyze experimental results.
  • Present results at national and international meetings and write up results for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Assist with grant writing for continued support.
  • Mentor and supervise undergraduate and graduate students, providing guidance and support in their research activities.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Ph.D. with research focused on geochemistry or petrology
  • Experience with solid sample preparation for analysis
  • Strong oral and written communication skills including demonstrated technical writing capabilities to efficiently organize scientific findings for peer-reviewed publication and presentation.
  • Ability to conduct research independently while maintaining and developing collaborations

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience conducting laboratory experiments, especially at high pressures
  • Familiarity with geochemical modeling
  • Experience with SEM imaging and EDS analysis
  • Basic electrical and machine shop skills (lathe operation, temperature controllers, hydraulic presses)

Application Details:
For full consideration, please apply by March 4, 2024.

Please email (1) cover letter stating your specific interest in this position and relevant experience, (2) your detailed CV, and (3) names and contact information of at least two references.

Please send complete application to

• The position is available immediately. The start date is negotiable.

• This is a full-time, 1-year, postdoctoral appointment with the possibility of renewal based upon satisfactory job performance and continuing availability of funds. Salary for Postdoctoral positions depends on years of experience post-degree.

• The Ayers Lab is committed to strong post-doctoral mentoring, career and professional development, and recruitment of diverse candidates, especially from underrepresented groups. 

Institution Information
Vanderbilt University is an R1 Carnegie classification research institution and is ranked among the top universities in the United States, providing comprehensive, high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs. Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt enrolls approximately 13,800 students from the US and over 100 foreign countries. Vanderbilt University is located in Nashville, Tennessee, a thriving state-capital city that enjoys a moderate climate, excellent parks and natural areas, a strong and varied economy, and diverse food, music, and cultural opportunities.

Vanderbilt University and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences have a strong institutional commitment to recruiting and retaining an academically and culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students. Members of traditionally underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. Vanderbilt is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action employer.

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