The Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin invites applications for its 2015-2016 school-wide Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows Program. This highly competitive institutional award is open to recent doctorates (degree within the past 3 years) in geosciences. We welcome applicants with research interests across the full range of geosciences disciplines. The postdoctoral fellow is expected to pursue their own independent research interests. The appointment is for 2 years with a salary of $60,000 per year plus health and dental benefits. Research support of $10,000 per year is also provided. Successful applicants can begin their program as early as September 1, 2015, but no later than December 31, 2015.

To apply, submit the following materials via email in Adobe PDF format: current CV that includes education, employment history, awards, publications, and extramural funding record; a short (2-3 page) statement of research interests and proposed research; and the names and contact information for 3 references. Deadline for applications is December 1, 2014. Applicants should send applications electronically (in PDF form) as an email attachment to

Please note that the Jackson School has many postdoctoral fellows in addition to the Distinguished Postdoctral Fellows. To apply for other postdoctoral opportunities, applicants are encouraged to make direct contact with Jackson School scientists they are interested in working with.

Recent and Current Jackson School Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows

Nick Dygert (2014-present) received his PhD at Brown University. He is a petrologist/geochemist interested in the physical and chemical evolution of the terrestrial and lunar mantles. Nick’s research focuses on mantle melt migration, the thermal history of the upper mantle, petrogenesis of lunar basalts, lunar cumulate mantle overturn, and trace element partitioning in systems relevant to Earth, the Moon, and Mars.

Burch Fisher (2014-present) received his Ph.D. at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Burch’s research is broadly interested in how landscapes evolve with respect to complex linkages between climate, tectonics, organisms, and humans at the Earth’s surface. To this end, his projects are diverse in both spatial (Himalaya, Andes, North America) and temporal scales (10^0 – 10^6 years) and have generally relied on several distinct data sets to decipher and quantify landscape drivers and signatures, including geochemical (cosmogenic and fallout radionuclides, U-series, etc), topographic (terrestrial and airborne lidar), remotely-sensed (TRMM, ASTER, GeoEye, etc), and field-based observations.

Tieyuan Zhu (2014-present) received his Ph.D. degree from Stanford University in 2014. Tieyuan is an exploration seismologist who seeks to solve challenging energy and environment problems using seismic waves. His interests include advancing understanding of physics of seismic wave propagation in real Earth media, time-reversal, seismic inversion & imaging, time-lapse monitoring,  and microseismic.

Shannon Loomis (2013-present) received her Ph.D. at Brown University. She is interested in developing and applying organic geochemical proxies to reconstruct past climate using lake and marine sediment archives and combining reconstructions with climate models to better understand the mechanisms behind past and future climate change.

Michael Toomey (2013-present) received his Ph.D. through the MIT/WHOI Joint Program. Research interest: developing tropical cyclone records from the Solomon Islands and Baja California to test hypothesized forcings (e.g. ENSO, Insolation) and understand geographic patterns of storminess in the tropical Pacific.

Hejun Zhu (2013-present) received his Ph.D. at Princeton University. Research interests: Seismic tomography at regional and local scales, seismic migration for hydrocarbon exploration, numerical simulations of seismic wave propagation, seismic structure of the crust and upper mantle, strong ground motions and kinematic/dynamic rupture simulations of large earthquakes.


Past Jackson School Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows

Celia Dalou (2013-2014) received her Ph.D. at Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans. Before joining us, she was a post-doc fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington DC. Research interests: volatile and trace element partition coefficients, solubility and solution mechanisms of halogen elements in silicate melts, anion and cation substitution processes in mantle minerals, volatiles cycle in subduction zones. Her project here focuses on developing the Cl/F ratio as tracers of hydrous and carbonated mantle melting. Dr. Dalou accepted a position as a Research Associate in Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Minnesota in January 2015.

Owen Anfinson (2012-2014) received his Ph.D. at the University of Calgary. He specializes in the use of heavy mineral geo-, petro-, and thermo- chronology to understand the geologic evolution of sedimentary basins and their source regions. Current field areas include the Swiss Molasse Basin, Italian Foredeep, and basins within the circum-Arctic. Dr. Anfinson accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geological Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin in September 2014.

Ryan McKenzie (2012-2014) Ph.D. in Geology at the University of California, Riverside. Research interests: understanding Earth system evolution at various temporal and spatial scales via utilization of integrative methods (e.g., sedimentary geology, geochemistry, detrital zircon geochronology, & biostratigraphy). Dr. McKenzie accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University in January 2015.

Andrew Smye (2012-2014) specializes in exhumation mechanisms, isotope systematics of metamorphic rocks, thermal models of crustal evolution, and phase equilibria calculations. Dr. Smye accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geological Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin in September 2014.

Elizabeth Cassel (2011-2013) received her Ph.D. in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University in 2010. Most recently, she was a visiting Assistant Professor at Franklin & Marshall College. By combining field stratigraphic, pedogenic, geochronologic, and isotopic research, Dr. Cassel proposes to study the topographic and climatic history of the region that is now the Basin and Range (the proposed ‘Nevadaplano’) through the early-middle Cenozoic – a time period of global climate change and significant tectonism affecting topographic change across the western US. Dr. Cassel accepted a position as an Assistant Professor with the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Idaho in March 2014.

Jeffrey Marsh (2011-2013) received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Maine in 2010. Most recently, he was a Faculty Fellow at Colby College. Marsh’s research project aims to precisely define the P-T-t-d path recorded by metamorphic core packages and their overlying units using detailed geologic mapping, integrated microstructural, petrological, and geochronological analysis, and phase equilibrium modeling. Dr. Marsh accepted a position as an Assistant Professor with the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Queens College in January 2013.

Jakob Vinther (2011-2012) received his Ph.D. in paleontology and molecular biology from Yale University in 2011. Vinther is a molecular paleobiologist who seeks to understand broad scale patterns of body plan evolution. As a postdoc at the Jackson School, he plans to further explore the fossil record of early Paleozoic invertebrates by the integration of molecular biology and the fossil record. He has been studying fossil color patterns along with the Jackson School’s Julia Clarke. See this National Geographic/UT Austin video on some of his recent work. Dr. Vinther accepted a position as a Lecturer in Macroevolution with the Schools of Earth Sciences and Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol in August 2012.


For a complete list of all postdoctoral researchers, see the “Postdocs” tab on our People page.