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Postdoctoral Research Fellow
George Mason University Fairfax, VA

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

George Mason University
Fairfax, VA
  • $70,000 Yearly
  • Full-Time
Job Description
Company Info
Job Description
Department: College of Science

Classification: Post Doc 12 month

Job Category: Postdoctoral Faculty

Job Type: Full-Time

Work Schedule: Full-time (1.0 FTE, 40 hrs/wk)

Location: Fairfax, VA

Telework Friendly: No

Salary: Salary commensurate with education and experience

Criminal Background Check: Yes

About the Department:

The Department of Biology includes 14 tenured and tenure-track and 14 term faculty focused on undergraduate and graduate education. It maintains research facilities including a 1700 sq. ft. climate-controlled greenhouse and an active 80,000 specimen herbarium. The Department has over 1500 undergraduate majors and employs more than 50 Graduate Teaching Assistants as well as adjunct faculty. Faculty from the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, the School of Systems Biology, the School of Integrative Studies, and the STEM Accelerator Program also contribute to the Biology Department through courses and research collaborations. Mason's enrollment is approximately 38,255 with students studying in over 210 degree programs (127 graduate degree programs) from bachelors to doctoral, as well as Law. Mason is ranked #24 Most Diverse University in the United States (Diversity Index = .71; U.S. News & World Report, 2020) with 49% of undergraduates from underrepresented groups and 37% considered first generation. Located in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, students study at campuses in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties. George Mason University is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer.

George Mason University College of Science (Mason Science) is committed to advancing access, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (A-JEDI) throughout our STEM community, including within our hiring and retention practices. At Mason Science, our values include fostering an organizational culture that promotes anti-racism, belonging, respect, and civility. We believe that a diversity of opinions, cultures, and perspectives is what provides vibrancy, innovation, and growth to an academic community. By prioritizing inclusive excellence in academics, teaching, research, and global engagement, we strive to attract a diverse pool of faculty and staff who exemplify the Mason Science mission and vision.

About the Position:

The Hanley Color Lab at George Mason University (GMU) is searching for a Postdoctoral Fellow to study color perception in wild animals. Specifically, we are looking to recruit a researcher interested in using avian brood parasitism as a model system for testing color perception and decision-making in the wild. Our lab uses field experiments and comparative tests to understand how the decision-making abilities of hosts impact co-evolutionary dynamics. We seek candidates with a strong interest in perception and cognition, to explore the role of color categorization, background contrast, and color constancy on these host decisions. The candidate would have access to large behavioral and comparative datasets and would have the opportunity to design and conduct field experiments at our local field site.

As a Postdoc at GMU you would focus primarily on publishing high-tier publications, but you will also have the ability to serve as co-PI on external funding opportunities. We will provide the postdoctoral fellow time and guidance on their professional development within the lab and through a range of professional development resources available to postdoctoral fellows at GMU. The postdoctoral fellow will have access to a state-of-the-art facility, a dedicated office space, and a wide range of instruments within our lab and the shared lab facilities. GMU is ideally situated in the Washington D.C. area which will provide the postdoctoral fellow the opportunity to develop collaborations, provide seminars, and expand their professional network.

This position will pay $70,000 per year with benefits. Currently we are hiring the candidate for 1-year, though we would welcome discussions about extending the term of the contract. The start date is flexible, with the potential to start in the summer of 2024 or the fall of 2024. Potential candidates should have a strong publication record and emphasize their strengths in field ornithology, behavioral ecology, laboratory work (e.g., spectroscopy, photometry, optics, or related areas), computation biology or related areas. Ideal candidates will demonstrate a commitment to pursuing extramural funding. We request that all interested candidates provide a curriculum vitae and a letter of intent that includes information on your past research experience and future research and career plans. For full consideration, please submit these materials through before 29 Feb 2024. We will continue to review applications after this point, the position is open until filled. We strongly encourage all interested applicants to communicate directly with Daniel Hanley (

Required Qualifications:
  • Terminal degree in Biology, or a related field, and prior experience publishing peer-reviewed articles;
  • Minimum 1-year relevant experience in the field or laboratory;
  • Demonstrated previous experience with perceptual models, color categorization, background contrast, color constancy, coevolution, and host decision-making or similar topics;
  • Previous experience and strengthin field ornithology, behavioral ecology, laboratory work (e.g., spectroscopy, photometry, optics, or related areas), computation biology or related areas;
  • Knowledge of perception and cognition; and
  • Skill in publishing peer-reviewed research in respected journals.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Prior experience securing extramural funding; and
  • Knowledge of egg recognition, color categorization, background contrast, or color constancy.
Instructions to Applicants:

For full consideration, applicants must apply for the Postdoctoral Research Fellow at; complete and submit the online application; and provide a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and a list of three professional references with contact information.

Posting Open Date: January 4, 2024

For Full Consideration, Apply by: February 29, 2024

Open Until Filled?: Yes

Mason Ad Statement

Mason is currently the largest and most diverse university in Virginia with students and faculty from all 50 states and over 135 countries studying in over 200 degree programs at campuses in Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William, as well as at learning locations across the commonwealth. Rooted in Mason's diversity is a campus culture that is both rewarding and exciting, work that is meaningful, and opportunities to both collaborate and create.

If you are interested in joining the Mason family take a look at our current opportunities and catch some Mason spirit at!

George Mason University, Where Innovation is Tradition.

Equity Statement

George Mason University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, committed to promoting inclusion and equity in its community. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or veteran status, or any characteristic protected by law.

Campus Safety Information

Mason's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available at

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George Mason University job posting for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Fairfax, VA with a salary of $70,000 Yearly with a map of Fairfax location.