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Postdoctoral Scholar – Astrobiology –Planetary Science Research Group - Space Sciences Laboratory

Recruitment Period

Open date: February 4th, 2019
Next review date: February 18th, 2019
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.
Final date: March 6th, 2019
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


Postdoctoral Scholar – Astrobiology –Planetary Science Research Group - Space Sciences Laboratory

The Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) and the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley seek applications for a full-time (100%) Postdoctoral Scholar with a preferred appointment start date between March 2019 and December 2019.

About The Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) and The Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley:

Built six decades ago, UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) was the realization of NASA’s vision to gather many of the most innovative and dedicated science minds in one place at Berkeley. In the hill above Berkeley, science researchers, engineers and technicians worked in unison: interacting, learning from one another, leading, challenging and inspiring one another in creating cutting-edge space science instrumentation and conducting top research. Through sixty years of NASA-funded support, their efforts, and those of hundreds of dedicated students and staff, have brought about myriad highlights, such as the space science missions of Van Allen Probes, Cluster, IMAGE, THEMIS, MAVEN and Parker Solar Probe; and analyses of cosmic samples from Genesis and Stardust missions, and meteorite collections.

The top ranked Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley provides a stimulating high-level science environment in all areas of modern chemistry. Superb analytical and instrumental support is also available along with high quality shops and micro and nanofabrication facilities.

UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory and the Department of Chemistry have a history of collaboration dating back to the Mariner probes that provide the first chemical data on the Martian surface and atmosphere. The Astrobiology – Planetary Science research group is a joint collaboration between the Space Sciences Lab and the Department of Chemistry to develop instrumentation and methods to detect evidence of life in the solar system.

Position Description:

The successful applicant will work under the direction of Dr. Anna Butterworth (SSL) and Prof. Richard Mathies (Chemistry) on the development and optimization of instruments and methods for the detection of trace organic molecules in solar system exploration. More specifically the incumbent will work with a team of engineers, chemists and astrobiologists at Berkeley on a microfluidic capillary electrophoresis analyzer that is the analytical core of the Enceladus Organic Analyzer (EOA) and the Microfluidic Organic Analyzer for Biosignatures (MOAB) instruments. The objective of these instruments is to sensitively probe for bioorganic molecules, especially amino acids, that are indicative of extraterrestrial life in various solar system locations. The successful applicant will join a dynamic and productive group of engineers and scientists focused on developing flight capable instruments and methods for space missions with the goal of detecting extraterrestrial life at Enceladus, Europa, Mars and other likely solar system bodies and locations. This work will be conducted jointly at the Space Sciences Lab and Chemistry Department at UC Berkeley.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree or enrolled in advanced degree program at the time of application.

Additional Qualifications (by start date):

  • PhD or equivalent international degree required by the start date.
  • No more than three (3) years’ research experience since obtaining Ph.D. or equivalent international degree.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Ph. D. in chemistry, analytical chemistry, astrobiology, or a related field.
  • Skills and/or experience of particular interest include: • Quantitative analysis of high-resolution chromatographic separations especially
    by capillary electrophoresis (CE) and/or microchip CE • Instrumental analysis with a focus on instrument and technique development • Experience with high sensitivity analysis of trace analytes, evidenced by publications or coursework

Salary and Benefits:

Starting salary will commensurate with experience.
The university provides a comprehensive benefits program which offers Medical, Dental, Vision, Life and AD&D Insurance, Short-Term Disability Insurance and Long-Term Disability Insurance. For a complete guide on Postdoctoral Health Benefits, please visit:

Applicants should submit Curriculum Vitae including list of publications, statement of research interests, and optional cover letter. Applicants should also request three (3) letters of reference. All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including when letters are provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service or career center), to the UC Berkeley statement of confidentiality ( prior to submitting their letters.

To apply, please visit:

Initial appointment will be for one (1) year, with renewal based on performance and availability of funding.

Position will remain open until filled.

Please address inquires to Dr. Anna Butterworth at

Diversity Statement:

The Space Sciences Laboratory and the Department of Chemistry are interested in candidates who will contribute to the diversity and equal opportunity in higher education through their work.

Family Friendly Statement:

UC Berkeley has an excellent benefits package as well as a number of policies and programs to support employees as they balance work and family.

Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

The University of California 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, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Job location

Berkeley, CA


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Statement of Research

  • Cover Letter (Optional)

Reference requirements
  • 3 letters of reference required

How to apply

  1. Create an ApplicantID
  2. Provide required information and documents
  3. If any, provide required reference information
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