Postdoctoral Fellow Position

CONSERVE: A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food and Health
Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
University of Maryland, School of Public Health
College Park, Maryland

The Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health within the University of Maryland, School of Public Health is seeking a highly motivated individual for the grants and contracts funded post of Postdoctoral Fellow. This individual will join our USDA NIFA-funded Center, “CONSERVE: A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food and Health.” The long‐term goal of CONSERVE is to facilitate the adoption of transformative on‐farm treatment solutions that enable the safe use of nontraditional irrigation water (e.g. recycled water, surface water, return flows) on food crops.

Qualifications: Applicants must possess a PhD in the life sciences or environmental engineering (e.g. Environmental Health Sciences, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Microbial Ecology, Food Safety, Plant Sciences, Environmental Engineering, or Related Field). In addition to the degree, applicants should have at least two years of laboratory or field experience (at the pre-doctoral level) in microbiology and/or environmental science/engineering techniques, excellent organizational and communication skills (oral and written), and enthusiasm for multidisciplinary collaborations. The ideal candidate will have a combination of microbiology and either environmental science or engineering skills; and experience conducting field and laboratory studies focused on microbial water quality, filtration and sampling methodologies. The candidate also must be able to work outside and lift up to 20 lbs without assistance during field sampling events.

Responsibilities: The successful candidate will work within the CONSERVE Center of Excellence under the direction of Dr. Manan Sharma at the Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory (EMFSL) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). Specifically, the candidate will focus on improving nontraditional irrigation water quality by filtration through zero-valent iron and sand filters. These filters will be designed for small-scale, diversified farms that seek to use surface waters (pond, creek, lake, river) or recycled water (treated municipal wastewater, vegetable processing water) as irrigation sources. This work will be carried out in collaboration with the University of Maryland and University of Delaware CONSERVE partners. The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to hone their leadership and grant-writing skills by developing and directing pilot studies leveraging off of the work of CONSERVE and using the data generated in this work to develop grant proposals.

Academic Environment: The Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health is a part of the University of Maryland, School of Public Health, located on the College Park campus. The School offers course work, practical experiences, and research opportunities leading to Bachelor of Science degrees, a variety of Master’s degrees including the Masters in Public Health degree, and Ph.D. degrees. The University of Maryland is a Research Extensive University. College Park is the flagship campus of the University of Maryland System with over 2,500 faculty, 25,000 undergraduate students and 10,000 graduate students. The campus is ideally situated on a metro line that serves the Washington, DC area and is in close proximity to many federal institutes/agencies and departments including DHHS (NIH, NCI, FDA) and USDA. For more details, please visit our website at  The USDA ARS EMFSL laboratory is located in Beltsville MD, about 6 miles north of the University of Maryland, and is part of the Northeast Area, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.  The focus of the laboratory, in addition to CONSERVE-related objectives, is to investigate pre-and post-harvest routes of contamination of foodborne pathogens on fruit and vegetable commodities. 

Salary and appointment date:  This is a grant-funded position with 1 year of funding available and a multi-year duration possible, contingent upon satisfactory performance and continued funding. It will be a non-tenure-track staff position with an annual salary of $45,000 to $50,000 depending on qualifications.

Applications: To apply, please go to and submit 1) a CV, including your list of publications; 2) a cover letter including your experience and statement of research interests (1-2 pages); and 3) contact information for three references. Consideration of candidates will begin upon receipt of applications.  Anticipated start date for the position is Late Spring/Early Summer 2018.  For any questions relating to this position, please contact Dr. Manan Sharma,

The University of Maryland is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer dedicated to increasing the diversity of its faculty and administrators. We encourage applications from qualified individuals with varied experiences, perspectives and backgrounds. Applications from minority and women candidates are strongly encouraged.

CONSERVE Team at the Conference on Global Food Security

Some members of the CONSERVE team were in Cape Town, South Africa this week to share our work with over 800 attendees at the 3rd International Conference on Global Food Security. The conference was focused on exploring an integrated approach to identifying solutions to the complex global challenge of food security.

Webinar featuring CONSERVE Project Director Dr. Amy Sapkota

CONSERVE Project Director Dr. Amy Sapkota will be a guest speaker on the monthly webinar series offered by the Climate Learning Network on Thursday December 7th at 3pm EST. The webinar is entitled "The CONSERVE Program: Transdisciplinary Research, Extension, and Education at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food and Health". Please see the following link for more information and instructions on how to join the webinar:

Join the webinar to hear more about CONSERVE and our work!

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CONSERVE Mid-Atlantic Team meets for lunch at the Wye REC

The CONSERVE Mid-Atlantic Team met for lunch at the Wye Research & Education Center in Queenstown, Maryland this week. Co-PDs, students, staff, and collaborators gathered for our annual lunch meeting to share project updates and discuss activities for the upcoming year. Co-PD Robert Percival of the University of Maryland Baltimore provided an update on the  laws, regulations and policies surrounding nontraditional irrigation sources in different states across the US. The team is pictured here on the scenic grounds of the Wye REC.



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Dr. Clive Lipchin of the Arava Institute in Israel delivers a guest lecture at the University of Arizona

CONSERVE Collaborator Dr. Clive Lipchin of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel recently visited the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona to deliver a guest lecture. His talk, entitled “Water, Wastewater, and Energy Solutions for Off-grid Bedouin, Palestinian, and Jordanian Communities”, detailed the problems faced by the Bedouin people living in the Negev, including lack of access to basic services such water, sanitation and solid waste. The Arava Institute is piloting a program to develop an on-site, off-grid wastewater treatment and reuse system to treat and recycle grey water (kitchen and bathroom water) for irrigation and livestock watering in the Bedouin community. View Dr. Lipchin’s slides and a recording of his talk.

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Have you ever wondered what CONSERVE has been up?

CONSERVE celebrated its one year anniversary in March 2017. Check out our annual report to see what we’ve been up to! From field sampling to consumer and grower surveys to development of new, innovative technologies, CONSERVE has been busy on its mission to facilitate the adoption of transformative on-farm treatment solutions that enable the safe use of nontraditional irrigation water on food crops. 

Also check out what we’ve got planned for year 2, which will be filled with many new and exciting activities for the CONSERVE team. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for even more updates!



CONSERVE on display at the AGNR Open House

The CONSERVE project was on display at the UMD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) Open House on October 14th at the Central Maryland Research and Education Center in Ellicott City, MD. Held annually in the fall, the AGNR Open House draws a broad, eager audience from around the state, and displays research and projects related to the college. The CONSERVE team was on hand to teach adults and kids about recycled water with fun, interactive activities and awesome CONSERVE swag! Kids and adults got to make their own water filtration units to understand the importance of clean water, and kids got bubbles and coloring books to take home. See you next year at the AGNR Open House!