Postdoc: Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security – NC State

 Position Description 

The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at NC State University in Raleigh is hiring a full-time postdoctoral associate for two years beginning in the summer of 2020. The postdoctoral associate will join a research team of faculty in the cluster for Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security (EPDGFS) across four colleges and work on a project funded but the Plant Sciences Initiative https://cals.ncsu.edu/psi/ at NC State. 

The postdoctoral associate will work with faculty in the EPDGFS to develop, test and deploy innovative in-field microneedle (MN) and volatile organic compound (VOC) sensors for early plant disease surveillance on tomato. We will deploy a cost-effective sensor platform for monitoring plant pathogens using volatile organic compounds and MN-based LAMP assays that are signatures for disease or abiotic stress. Data from sensors will be collected from controlled inoculated plants in the phytotron and sequential inoculations. We will target important fungal (Alternaria linariae), oomycete (Phytopthora infestans), bacterial (Xanthomonas perforans) and viral (Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus-TSWV) pathogens and their vectors on tomatoes and test the technology in laboratory, greenhouse and field experiments. 

Qualifications – Education, experience, licensure etc. 

A PhD degree is required with expertise in plant pathology, evolution and population genetics and modeling of fungal or oomycete pathogens. Required: A basic understanding of plant pathology, epidemiology, evolution and population’s genetics, modeling and pathogen diagnostics is important. Field and greenhouse experience with plants is required. Skills and experience using next generation sequencing technologies and bioinformatics software tools to study evolutionary relationships of the detected pathogens is desired. 

Applicants from a variety of disciplines (e.g., plant pathology, plant biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, microbiology or genetics) are encouraged to apply. Successful applicants must have a good command of qualitative and/or quantitative methods used in epidemiology, population genetics and ecology and understand how sensors can be deployed in the field. 

Department Required Skills 

Preferred Years’ Experience, Skills, Training, and Education: A PhD in related discipline and experience in the laboratory and field for at least five years post undergraduate. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are a must. Finally, applicants must have received their doctoral degree by the start date. The fellowship includes a competitive salary and plus health insurance. 

Other Work/Responsibilities: The postdoctoral associate will work as part of a team with a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and other faculty in the cluster 

to develop, trouble shoot and validate the sensors for oomycete, fungi and bacteria and viruses on plants. 

Basis for request: This is a new project funded by the Plant Science Initiative at NC State 

Primary Function of Organizational Unit 

The postdoctoral associate will be a member of the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology but will work with faculty in the “Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security cluster” at NC State. They will be housed in Jean Ristainos’s lab in 2503 Thomas Hall. 

During their training, postdoctoral associate will receive close mentoring from several cluster program faculty. They will attend seminars and meetings, present their research at national research conferences, write papers, and hone their skills in specific methodological techniques. In addition, the postdoctoral associate will gain practical experience by helping to plan and run a large research project and by supervising graduate and undergraduate student research assistants. 

To Apply: An application at the NC State employment website is required which can be found at https://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/132174 Posting number PG190174PD. In addition, a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, three letters of reference and two publications or papers should be submitted by email before May 31. Your letter of interest must detail how your skills and interests match specific opportunities provided by the post-doctoral fellowship. Anticipated start date is August 2020. Send inquires to Dr. Jean Ristaino jean_ristaino@ncsu.edu

NC State University is an equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity and strongly encourages applications from all qualified applicants, including women and minorities.