The Clay lab is currently collaborating with the United States Geological Survey to study the fungal microbiome of the invasive reed, Phragmites australis, in order to develop novel control methods.

We are looking for 1-2 research assistants to help with the molecular work involved in identifying the constituents of the fungal community.

Regular duties include:

  • Pulverizing plant tissue using a mortar and pestle for DNA extraction.
  • Extracting DNA using CTAB methodology.
  • Amplifying fungal DNA using PCR.
  • Running samples through gel electrophoresis and interpreting results.
  • Troubleshooting and improving PCR protocols.
  • Preparing DNA samples for Illumina sequencing.
  • Autoclaving glassware, loading tips into tip boxes, and other miscellaneous lab maintenance tasks.

In addition, you have the opportunity to:

  • Collaborate with other researchers in the Clay lab on projects that interest you.
  • Attend lab meetings, seminars, and social events with lab members.
  • Assist other lab members with field work and greenhouse work.


  • Must be available this summer, as well as the following fall semester.
  • Must be able to commit at least 8 hours per week during the school year.
  • Must have some lab work experience (coursework DOES count as lab experience).
  • Must be a quick learner and be able to work with some autonomy.

The position is open to anyone, though those who intend to pursue a career in science are preferred. This is an opportunity for someone pursuing a career in the biological sciences to gain valuable skills and experiences, as well as to build relationships with researchers with years of experience in the field. You will be paid starting at $8.50 with a raise after 60 days.

Please contact Zack Shearin at zshearin at indiana . edu to schedule an interview.