Biomass Analytics Facility Manager

Michigan State University - Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
East Lansing, Michigan
Salary Commensurate with Experience
Closing date
Sep 24, 2021

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Field of specialization
Biochemical, Energy / Fuels
Work Function
Job Type
Full time
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Job Details

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is a US Department of Energy-funded Bioenergy Research Center, led by the University of Wisconsin–Madison with Michigan State University as its principal partner. The GLBRC has been a leader in biofuel research, developing sustainable biofuels and bioproducts that are economically viable and environmentally sustainable. The GLBRC leverages its success on an outstanding combination of expertise and resources available across its member institutions.

GLBRC hosts a set of enabling technology programs that include the information services and core facilities activities that facilitate innovative discoveries and creative solutions tailored to suit the Center’s needs. The Core Facilities provides GLBRC researchers access to state-of-the-art technologies, instrumentation, modern research facilities, field sites, and a cutting-edge array of analytical capabilities. The GLBRC Biomass Analytics Facility (BAF), one of the Center’s core facilities, offers several services ranging from high-throughput digestibility screening to detailed cell wall composition analysis of all biomass feedstocks generated by the Center. The BAF performs high-throughput assays to measure cell wall digestibility, starch, and free glucose and sucrose content using fully automated robotic systems for weighing and liquid handling. The BAF also offers low- to medium-throughput assays focusing on specific biomass components such as hemicelluloses, crystalline cellulose, and lignin using GC/MS and HPLC instrumentation.

The BAF Manager, at MSU, oversees the daily operations of the BAF, corresponds with users (e.g., provides recommendations on appropriate analysis for any given sample, discusses project expectations and needs, communicates facility services, throughput capabilities, turnaround times, and project status to users), generates and manages data and reports via the Center’s laboratory information management system, optimizes and develops standard and analytical protocols, supervises and trains staff, monitors budget, oversees instrument maintenance (e.g., GC-MS, HPLC), and identifies gaps and explores opportunities to support the biomass characterization needs of the Center. 

Unit Specific Education/Experience/Skills

Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, Plant Biology, or related field; one to three years of progressive lab management and supervisory experience; one to three years of experience operating, maintaining and troubleshooting analytical instrumentation (e.g., GC-MS/Mass Spectroscopy, HPLC) and experience using relevant analytical software, interpreting data, and generating reports from the instrumentation; experience developing and generating protocols, reports, and other required documentation for data management (e.g., laboratory information management system);  or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Desired Qualifications

  • Undergraduate studies in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology, Plant Science or related field
  • In-depth knowledge of traditional wet chemistry (e.g., standard NREL-LAP, Alditol Acetate, Acid Hydrolysis, Acetyl Bromide Soluble Lignin, Thioacidolysis) and advanced/high-throughput biomass characterization methods (e.g., Near-infrared Spectroscopy, High-Performance Anion-Exchange Chromatography with Pulsed Amperometric Detection, Pyrolysis Molecular Beam Mass Spectrometry)
  • In-depth knowledge of chemical pretreatment of plant biomass for increased enzymatic hydrolysis
  • In-depth knowledge of cell wall and biomass composition
  • Ability to work and adapt to a research environment where analytical research, method development, and quality control intersect 
  • Ability to develop techniques to improve efficiency
  • Exhibit a high level of self-motivation, possess good interpersonal skills, and can independently handle a diverse workload of projects with unique client requirements and timelines
  • Able to navigate ambiguity and changing priorities
  • Excellent management and communication skills expected (communicating experimental results to clients clearly and concisely)
  • Excellent organization skills, including defining priorities for yourself and your teams expected


Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Application Materials Cover letter Current Resume Names and contact information for at least 3 References

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