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Assistant Specialist - Tree Breeding (Part-time)

Recruitment Period

Open date: November 20th, 2018
Last review date: December 4th, 2018
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.
Final date: February 28th, 2019
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


Assistant Specialist
Department of Plant Sciences

The UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences is seeking a highly motivated Assistant Specialist for a part-time position to assist with all aspects of a tree nut breeding program for walnut and pistachio. The successful candidate will manage a molecular biology lab, perform high-throughput genotyping, perform image analysis for nut quality phenotyping, and assume responsibility for training, scheduling, and oversight of student assistants. The successful candidate will also assist with breeding activities in the field and greenhouse, and will be actively involved in publishable research activities.

I. Research in specialized areas (90%)

Genotyping (30%)
Collect and freeze-dry tissue; extract, quantify, and dilute DNA and RNA; prepare Illumina libraries; perform KASP SNP genotyping; optimize protocols, record data, and provide weekly summaries.

Assist with field and greenhouse activities in the walnut improvement program (30%)
Grow, maintain, and propagate walnut and pistachio seedlings and plantlets from tissue culture; collect phenology data (leafing date, flowering date, harvest date); perform controlled pollinations; harvest nuts; assist with orchard management.

Image analysis for nut quality phenotyping (20%)
Collect kernel image data using a computer vision system; perform image analysis using Image J; optimize protocols, record data, and provide weekly summaries.

Laboratory oversight and daily management (10%)
Supervision and training of students, ensuring student compliance with safety procedures, ordering laboratory supplies and equipment in a timely manner, preparation of stock solutions for general lab use.

II. Professional Competence and Activity (5%)
Contribute to writing reports and presenting results to visitors and at outreach meetings, via the web, posters, etc. Participate actively in appropriate professional/technical societies or groups and other educational and research organizations. Prepare information for presentations and extension meetings and attend seminars and meetings relevant to the research projects (e.g.:Walnut Research Conference, etc.).

III. University and Public Service (5%)
The Assistant Specialist will be required to provide training in molecular and image analysis techniques for collaborators including visiting researchers from other research groups. The Assistant Specialist will also be expected to take part in committees within the department, college, campus and other university entities as appropriate.

Familiarity with Microsoft Excel, Word, Powerpoint, and programming in Microsoft Access.


Required: Master's or Bachelor's with 3-5 years of previous field and/or greenhouse experience with walnut and/or pistachio is required. Previous experience with DNA extraction and other molecular techniques is desirable. Familiarity and previous experience with walnut quality descriptors is desirable. Applicants must demonstrate ability to organize and process data; must show attention to detail; must be willing to maintain a flexible schedule; and must be able to communicate proficiently in both written and spoken English.

SALARY: Commensurate to experience.

TERM OF APPOINTMENT: The position is part-time appointment (50%) for 12 months with potential for extension based on performance and availability of funds.

Job location

Davis, CA


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter (Optional)

  • Statement of Research (Optional)

  • Statement of Teaching (Optional)

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity - Diversity contributions documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a diversity statement and why one is requested.

Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)

How to apply

  1. Create an ApplicantID
  2. Provide required information and documents
  3. If any, provide required reference information
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