RESPONSIBILITIES: The successful candidate's research will focus on plant-environmental-microbial interactions of crops and produce, with emphasis on microbial community processes in relation to plant and/or human pathogens. This position provides the opportunity to investigate fundamental principles that determine how plants and their environment affect the microbial communities upon the plant surface. An intended outcome of these discoveries will be identification of key ecological and/or molecular traits that can in turn improve handling strategies and food safety by modulating the presence, persistence, or activities of beneficial and deleterious microorganisms. A successful researcher in this field would likely utilize key tools and research approaches including metagenomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, molecular analysis of plant-microbe interactions, and/or eco-physiological processes; or any related combined approaches to analyze microbial communities in the phyllosphere, rhizosophere and other plant niches. These studies may occur in a range of successive contexts, from field systems through the multiple human environments involved in post-harvest processes (handling, packaging, storage and preservation, transportation, etc.) to the transmission of human pathogens in the food chain. The incumbent will be expected to develop an internationally-recognized research program and professional profile. Ability to operate comfortably in multi-disciplinary teams will enhance the development of practical solutions to critical issues related to food safety and postharvest handling of specialty crops grown in California and across the world. The faculty of the Department of Plant Sciences has expertise in a broad range of genomics, plant/microbe and field studies, providing many opportunities for collaboration on topics of interest to the candidate. In addition, ability to work with academic and industrial contacts is desired, to help apply knowledge of plant-microbial interactions to optimize postharvest management strategies.
The candidate will establish a vigorous, dynamic and innovative teaching program at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to teaching of core courses in the Plant Sciences curriculum and development of new courses in their area of expertise. A specific course in which this individual will teach is PLS174: Microbiology and Safety of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. They will additionally be able to develop new general education courses within a similar area of expertise. The candidate will also teach at the graduate level within her/his area of research expertise in the Horticulture and Agronomy, Ecology, Evolution, Plant Biology, Microbiology, Genetics, International Agricultural Development and/or Food Science Graduate Groups. Enthusiastic and effective advising and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows is expected.
QUALIFICATIONS: Ph.D. or equivalent level of experience in plant biology, postharvest biology, or microbiology with experience in plant microbial interactions or related fields.
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