Postdoctoral Fellow, Plant-Vector-Microbiome Interactions

Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
21 Nov 2017
End of advertisement period
19 Dec 2017
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

Description of Work Unit

The Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management (BSPM) is committed to excellence in the creation and dissemination of knowledge about insects, plant pathogens, and weeds. Further, BSPM applies this knowledge to solving practical problems related to: (1) management of pests in production agricultural systems, in natural resources and recreational environments, and in residential and public areas; (2) environmental quality, and (3) human and animal health. The Department encompasses the disciplines of entomology, plant pathology, and weed science – thus providing unique opportunities to address critical issues that cut across disciplinary boundaries. BSPM focuses its teaching, research and outreach missions in four program areas each of which involves all three of the department’s disciplinary roots in entomology, plant pathology, and weed science. These programs are: 1) Genomics and Molecular Biology, 2) Ecology and Biodiversity, 3) Biology and Management of Invasive Species, and 4) Integrated Pest Management. BSPM emphasizes knowledge of pests and related organisms; the roles that they play in ecological, economic and social systems; and the application of such knowledge to developing economically and environmentally sound solutions for practical problems. Being interdisciplinary in nature, BSPM values cooperative and collaborative efforts with other units within the University, as well as other relevant entities in the Colorado and beyond.

Position Summary

The Trivedi and Ode Lab at Colorado State University seeks a postdoctoral researcher in the area of plant-vector-microbiome interactions. The successful candidate will conduct research to understand the interactions between Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las), the causal agent of Citrus greening its vector, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), its host, citrus, and plant-vector associate microbiome.
Specifically, the selected candidate will work on: a) studying the behavior/spread of ACP in commercial citrus groves; b) understanding the impact of different management practices in influencing plant-soil associated microbiome; c) developing biocontrol strategies to control ACP (including entomopathogenic fungus). This project will require strong statistical skills in analyzing diverse set of data. The successful applicant must be willing to travel frequently between Colorado and Florida and conduct field work in commercial citrus groves. We are a collaborative team involving specialists in microbiomes, entomology, and environmental chemistry. Therefore, the candidate should demonstrate a commitment to work cooperatively, must be able to work independently as well as part of a team, and have a willingness to learn different tools and techniques required in the project. The postdoc would also be responsible for providing supervision for graduate and undergraduate students associated with this project. Position is available immediately for at least one year and possibly further contingent upon funding availability. Research will be conducted in conjunction with the Cutrale Industry in Florida.

Required Job Qualifications

  • Candidates should have a Ph.D. degree in Plant Pathology, Entomology, Soil Microbiology, or other closely related field completed by start date, a strong publication record (appropriate for career stage), and excellent communication skills.
  • Expertise in vector biology of plant pathogens and/or plant-microbe interactions including molecular disease detection.
  • Experience in both lab and field experimentation.
  • Experience with data analysis using advanced statistics mainly using R based multivariate statistics and modelling approaches.
  • Willingness to involve students in research is also important.
  • Proven ability to conduct and publish independent research.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently between Colorado and Florida and conduct field work in commercial citrus groves.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license or the ability to obtain a driver’s license or access to a licensed driver by the employment start date

Preferred Job Qualifications

  • Previous experience working with HLB disease and/or citrus industry is desired, but not required.
  • Experience in microbiome and bioinformatics analysis of metagenomic data is desired, but relevant training will be provided to candidates with excellence in other areas of the project.
  • Experience is developing/application of microbial biocontrol agents will be an advantage.
  • Field sampling and insect/pathogen population monitoring experience.

Diversity Statement

Personal and professional commitment to diversity as demonstrated by involvement in teaching, research, creative activity, service to the profession and/or diversity/inclusion activities.

Essential Duties

Job Duty Category Research Duty/Responsibility

The successful candidate will collect data and conduct experiments in order to understand integrative biological mechanisms responsible for Huanglongbing disease management in commercial citrus fields (groves). The individual will work with soil and plant samples and gather data on microbial communities using molecular tools. The individual will collect information on the insect vector distribution and relate this to the spread of HLB disease. The individual will apply statistical analysis to understand host-vector-microbiome interactions and how these influence HLB management. The individual will also be responsible for setting up greenhouse and growth chamber assays to evaluate the insecticide resistance in vector and the effect of biocontrol agents to manage vector populations. This project requires strong commitment to work with a collaborative group of researchers with diverse set of expertise in microbiome, entomology, and environmental chemistry. In addition, the individual will be expected to write manuscripts and give presentation using the results from these studies. This work is being doing in order to manage HLB disease through a thorough understanding on the biological interactions occurring at commercial citrus production.

Percentage Of Time 90 Job Duty Category Supervision Duty/Responsibility

The individual will be expected to mentor undergraduate and graduate students who will assist on the project. This will be done through active mentorship and demonstration of laboratory and data analysis techniques. This is done to provide the post-doc an opportunity to build mentoring skills as well as provide an undergraduate/graduate student the opportunity to work in a research lab.

Percentage Of Time 10

Application Details

Special Instructions to Applicants

For full consideration, please apply by 11/24/2017. Applications will be accepted after the full consideration deadline, but may not be actively reviewed. Position is open until filled.

Reference letters will be solicited after the semi-finalist interview stage. References will not be contacted without prior notification of candidates.

Conditions of Employment

Pre-employment Criminal Background Check (required for new hires)

Search Contact Pankaj Trivedi,; Paul Ode,

EEO Statement

Colorado State University is committed to providing an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment based on race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy and will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. Colorado State University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce and complies with all Federal and Colorado State laws, regulations, and executive orders regarding non-discrimination and affirmative action. The Office of Equal Opportunity is located in 101 Student Services.

The Title IX Coordinator is the Executive Director of the Office of Support and Safety Assessment, 123 Student Services Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523 -2026, (970) 491-7407.

The Section 504 and ADA Coordinator is the Associate Vice President for Human Capital, Office of Equal Opportunity, 101 Student Services Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523-0160, (970) 491-5836.

Background Check Policy Statement

Colorado State University (CSU) strives to provide a safe study, work, and living environment for its faculty, staff, volunteers and students. To support this environment and comply with applicable laws and regulations, CSU conducts background checks. The type of background check conducted varies by position and can include, but is not limited to, criminal (felony and misdemeanor) history, sex offender registry, motor vehicle history, financial history, and/or education verification. Background checks will be conducted when required by law or contract and when, in the discretion of the university, it is reasonable and prudent to do so.