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Assistant Specialist - Propagation

We are no longer accepting applications for this recruitment


The UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences is seeking a highly motivated Assistant Specialist for a full time position to manage a laboratory focused on propagation of woody perennial tree crops (including walnut, pistachio, and pear) and their pests and pathogens (including Armillaria and root lesion nematode). The successful candidate will: initiate and conduct experiments involving improvement of microshoot production, embryogenesis efficiency, and insertion or editing of genes in Juglans, Pistacia, Pyrus, and Pterocarya; assume responsibility for training, scheduling, and oversight of student assistants; maintain cultures of plant pests and pathogens; perform genetic analysis to identify markers associated with resistance to pests and pathogens. The successful candidate will also assist with walnut breeding and evaluation, and will be actively involved in publishable research activities.

I. Research in specialized areas (90%)

Tissue culture and propagation of woody perennials (30%)
Development and refinement of new media and culturing techniques for species in Juglans, Pistacia, Pyrus, Pterocarya, and related genera. Develop methods to recover transformants more efficiently and to initiate somatic embryogenesis from mature somatic tissues of plants.

Laboratory oversight and daily management (20%)
Supervision and training of students, ensuring student compliance with safety procedures, ordering laboratory supplies and equipment in a timely manner, preparation of stock solutions and plant growth regulators for general lab use, and work with both bacteria and plant material in laminar flow hoods.

Analysis of genetic data from Juglans and Pistacia hybrids (20%)
Perform bioinformatic processing of raw Illumina data to generate genotypic datasets; work with collaborating pathologists to identify genetic markers associated with resistance to pests and pathogens.

Culturing plant pests and pathogens (10%)
Maintain and distribute cultures including Armillaria and Pratylenchus vulnus (root lesion nematode).

Assists with nut evaluations in the walnut improvement program (10%)
Crack out and score walnut breeding selections for traits including pellicle color, seal strength, shell thickness, ease of removal, and % kernel.

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 tissue culture 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 work experience in Platn Sciences or closely related fields. Previous experience with tissue culture in walnut or closely related species is required. Previous experience culturing plant pathogens, specifically Armillaria, is highly desirable. Coursework, previous experience, or strong interest in bioinformatics 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: $49,700/yr

TERM OF APPOINTMENT: The position is initially available for 11 months with potential for extension based on performance and availability of funds.

Job location

Davis, CA


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