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Junior Specialist – Postharvest Biology and Microbiology

Recruitment Period

Open date: September 28th, 2018
Last review date: October 12th, 2018
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.
Final date: November 30th, 2018
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.


The UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences is seeking a Junior Specialist (50% appointment) in Postharvest Biology and Microbiology in the Blanco Lab Group. The position will involve conducting laboratory and field research focused on studying the intersection between fruit ripening and susceptibility to fungal pathogens. The Junior Specialist will be involved in providing general assistance to the lab group, as well as two specific research projects in the laboratory: (i) characterizing pathogenicity functions of fungal postharvest pathogens when infecting tomato and strawberry fruit, and (ii) modeling the strawberry fruit- Botrytis cinerea pathosystem to increase disease tolerance.
The Junior Specialist will report to the Principal Investigator and work closely with graduate students and staff in the lab. Responsibilities include: planning and performing of physiology, microbiology and molecular biology experiments, and work associated with experimental tomato and strawberry fields. Collect fruit samples from the field and perform disease development evaluations, photography, molecular biology techniques (such as RNA/DNA isolation, PCR), statistical data analysis, graphical presentation of data, and computer management of data files. The successful candidate will be actively involved in publishable research activities including participation in discussions on research and the interpretation of research results, as well as appropriate co-authorship or acknowledgement in publications. Applicants are expected to have an interest and experience in research related to fruit biology and plant pathology.
I. Research in specialized areas (90%)
•Assist with collection of fruit in experimental fields and greenhouses.
•Analyze disease development in fruit after natural or artificial inoculation with fungal pathogens.
•Maintain a collection of fungal cultures for research and teaching purposes.
•Perform detailed postharvest fruit quality evaluations including: fruit size, color, firmness, and total soluble solids.
•Process fruit and fungal samples and prepare samples for freezer storage or for assay, and assist in maintaining a tissue inventory.
•Prepare RNA and DNA from fruit and fungi.
•Implement PCR strategies for genotyping and gene expression analyses.
•Assist other lab personnel in coordination of procedures, sample collection, processing and experiments for different and varied projects.
•Keep detailed laboratory notebook (both written and electronic).
•Summarize data, perform data analysis and prepare reports.
•Maintain laboratory equipment and facilities

II. Professional Competence and Activity (5%)
•Attend seminars on topics related to fields of interest.
•Participate in scientific discussions with peers to enhance confidence.
•Participate in training programs to enhance knowledge and skills

III. University and Public Service (5%)
A. May maintain liaison and respond to the needs of various industry organizations, state and federal agencies, and other external groups on issues related to area of expertise.
B. Lead tours and give presentations to delegations of visiting scientists and industry representatives.
C. Participate in activities of committees within the department, college, campus and other University entities, as appropriate.

•Knowledge of established laboratory safety procedures and handling of hazardous materials and waste including EH&S requirements.
•Experience with genomic DNA and RNA extraction from various plants and fungi.
•Experience working in horticultural experimental fields.
•Experience with fundamental microbiological techniques and fungal strain isolation methods.
•Vast experience with pathogen inoculation procedures in plant tissues.
•Knowledge of PCR and sequencing methods.
•Experience in cDNA library preparation for RNA sequencing.
•Experience with fruit tissue collection and cryogrinding.
•Skills to perform serial dilutions and calculate chemical concentrations.
•Knowledge of standard software (R, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, graphics programs).
•Familiarity with experimental design.

QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor's degree in Plant Pathology, Microbiology, Plant Sciences, Agronomy, or closely related fields, demonstrated interest and experience in fruit physiology and postharvest microbiology, ability to organize and process data (advanced Excel or R programming experience). Applicants must show attention to detail, be willing to maintain a flexible schedule and able to regularly lift 40-pound weight. Must be able to communicate proficiently in English, both written and oral.

SALARY: $39,500/year (This is a 50% appointment for 1 year with the potential to extension based on performance and availability of funds.)

Note: The junior specialist rank is an entry level position, accordingly it is inappropriate to hire applicants with advanced degrees in this field, or those with bachelor’s degrees and three years’ relevant work experience. (See APM-UCD 330)

Job location

Davis, CA


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

  • Cover Letter (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.

How to apply

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