Assistant Professor in Insect-Microbe-Plant Interactions: Iowa State University

Published by Cori VanGalder on

Assistant Professor in Insect-Microbe-Plant Interactions: Iowa State University

Applicants are invited for a tenure-track faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor in the broad area of interactions between and among insects, microbes and/or plants. Candidates that work across all three organismal groups are particularly encouraged to apply. We seek candidates whose research will lead to a better understanding of the nature of these interactions and how they impact natural, urban or agricultural ecosystems. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the genetic, genomic or metabolomic bases of interactions; the influence of biotic or abiotic factors on interaction outcomes; plant-microbe interactions mediated by insects; plant-insect interactions influenced by microbes; and the impacts of such interactions on ecosystem sustainability and health. The successful candidate is expected to develop an externally funded, high-impact research program and actively engage in the training and supervision of graduate students. They will be expected to develop a teaching program that engages undergraduates in the biological sciences and participate in service to the university. The position is 9-month, 60% research, 30% teaching and 10% service. The appointment will be in the Departments of Plant Pathology & Microbiology and Entomology, which are currently merging and are administered by a single Chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.

All faculty members have a common responsibility to support and sustain our core values and are expected to interact collegially within the department, college, and university, and maintain the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior. Successful candidates must be committed to working with diverse students, staff and community members. ISU especially seeks candidates who are committed to contributing to the diversity of the academic community through their research, teaching and service, and support the University’s Principles of Community. We encourage applications from individuals who identify as members of traditionally underrepresented groups, including but not limited to African American or Black, Asian American, First Nations, Indigenous, Native American, and Latinx populations. We are committed to the retention of new faculty, and as such, the successful candidate will be provided with a faculty mentor.

With 25,000 undergraduates, almost 5,000 graduate students, and 6,200 faculty and staff, ISU is a strong land-grant and Research I university. ISU has extensive shared facilities for biological research, including ‘omics technologies for genetics, genomics and microbiome studies and high-performance computing. The collaborative environment is enhanced by interdisciplinary and disciplinary graduate majors that promote cross-fertilization within labs. The successful candidate will have an office and laboratory in one of the newest buildings on campus, which was designed for collaborative research and teaching and has in-house chambers and greenhouses for insect and plant growth. Highlighted aspects of the departments are the ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Lab, an active Insect Zoo for youth outreach, numerous field research facilities, co-administration of a vibrant and experiential Microbiology program for undergraduates, faculty strengths in extension, teaching, and the scholarship of teaching and learning, and research across the full spectrum from fundamental to applied.

Ames is a community of about 67,000 that is close to the Des Moines metropolitan area. Ames is home to several federal labs, including the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment and numerous USDA Agriculture Research Service labs. Ames is ranked as a top town to live in and has received awards recognizing the high quality of its public schools, amenities, and commitment to the environment and quality of life.

Required Qualifications

Candidates must have a PhD in Entomology, Microbiology, Plant Pathology, or a related field. 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Evidence of strong potential for conducting and publishing innovative research in insect, microbe and/or plant interactions using modern approaches
  • Demonstrated success in conducting research
  • Demonstrated commitment to evidence-based, innovative teaching
  • Demonstrated success in securing extramural funding
  • Demonstrated commitment to principles of diversity, equity, or inclusivity

Application Instructions

All application materials must be submitted via the university’s job portal at

The application should include:

1) Letter of application and a full curriculum vitae.

2) A single file including separate statements describing (a) research experience and future plans, (b) teaching philosophy, and (c) experience and future plans for fostering diversity and inclusivity.  Each of these statements is recommended not to exceed two pages.

3) Three to five representative publications as pdf files, and the names and contact information for at least three references. In addition, applicants may submit a statement of the specific impact of the pandemic on their professional activities.

Review of applicants will begin on April 4th, and applications must be received before then for guaranteed consideration. However, the position will remain open until filled or the search is closed. 

Questions regarding this position should be directed to the Chair of the Search Committee, Gwyn Beattie (, or the Chair of the Departments of Entomology and Plant Pathology & Microbiology, Steven Harris (

ISU is an equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. Veteran. ISU is responsive to the needs of dual career couples, is dedicated to work-life balance through an array of family-friendly policies, and was the recipient of a National Science Foundation ADVANCE Award for gender equity.

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