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Cold plasma Postdoc in the Nansen lab

Application Window

Open date: May 11th, 2022

Next review date: Wednesday, Jun 22, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Wednesday, Nov 23, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
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.

Position description

We are recruiting for a postdoctoral scientist position at the University of California Davis to work in the Nansen lab. The incumbent will be part of a multi-disciplinary research team devoted to develop and promotion of innovative and highly complementary technologies to improve insect pest management and sustainable crop production. Moreover, we work with hyperspectral imaging (machine vision), robotics (rail systems to control movement of imaging systems and/or pesticide spraying equipment), phone app development (for quality control of pesticide spray coverages), lighting (use of LED to control pests and manipulate their behavior). More information about our research can be found on the following website: Website: The incumbent will be funded through a project, entitled: “ENHANCEMENT OF SPECIALTY CROP SEED GERMINATION, SEEDLING VIGOR, AND PEST MANAGEMENT USING COLD PLASMA TECHNOLOGY”. Low and inconsistent seed germination and seedling vigor are major bottlenecks in production of many specialty crops, including greenhouse ornamental and vegetable plugs (seedlings). Production practices promoting seed germination and seedling vigor are of particular importance to organic producers, who have higher disease and pest pressures and considerably fewer options available in terms of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Recent scientific studies show that cold plasma treatments can significantly increase seed germination percentage, elicit earlier germination and therefore reduced production costs, and significantly increase seedling vigor due to better growth and suppression of seed pathogens. The California Department of Food and Agriculture, in collaboration with four institutions in four US states [University of California Davis (principal investigator), University of Minnesota, University of Maryland, and Cornell University (NY)], plan to demonstrate and disseminate solutions to enhancement of seedling plug productions and of pest and disease management through optimized cold plasma treatments of specialty crops seeds. Systems to perform cold plasma treatments of large samples of seeds are commercially available and cost-effective, so outcomes from this project can be readily adopted by specialty crop producers. In this project, integration of optical sensing is proposed as a highly innovative approach to real-time and cost-effective quality control of cold plasma treatments. Due to the broad relevance of seed germination and seedling vigor, project outcomes have direct relevance to producers of a wide range of annual specialty crops.
The incumbent is expected to: 1) provide constructive inputs to a wide range of research projects within the Nansen Lab, 2) assist with overseeing of undergraduate and graduate students, 3) draft and develop grant proposals, 4) assist in teaching efforts, both lab sessions and lectures, by Christian Nansen (mainly ENT110 Arthropod Pest Management), and 5) publish peer-reviewed journal articles.


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

PhD is required. We are seeking highly qualified candidates within a rather broad spectrum of qualifications, but the following are considered essential requirements: 1) track-record of publications in internationally recognized and peer-reviewed research journals, 2) track-record of in-depth knowledge about experimental designs in research studies, 3) track-record of experience with statistical data analyses and basic programming in R or similar software packages, and 4) track-record of being involved in complex research and ability to solve practical and/or theoretical challenges. In your application, each of these requirements must be addressed explicitly.

Preferred qualifications

You may have expertise and practical knowledge about use of cold plasma technology, and you meet the abovementioned requirements. You may have ag-engineering expertise and therefore apply, because you have expertise in use and development of technologies, but you may be less familiar with cold plasma technology per se, and you may have limited experience with greenhouse production systems and pest management. You may be a biologist with expertise in programing and statistical analyses and have a strong publication record, and you may have some level of familiarity with pest management. Or you may have a different set of skills and expertise, which is compelling and therefore makes you a highly suitable candidate for the vacant position

Application Requirements

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

  • Cover Letter - In your cover letter, it is strongly encouraged to also address the following: 1) What do you need from your direct supervisor (Christian Nansen) in order to be effective in this position? 2) What do you expect to be your main contributions to the Nansen lab? 3) What should be the performance metrics you would like to be assessed after 2-3 years in this position?

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

  • Include references to two of your publications and briefly explain how and why you think these are relevant to the vacant position

Reference requirements
  • 3-5 required (contact information only)
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Campus Information

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Job location

Davis, CA