Postdoctoral Research Position in Forest Pathology

Published by Cori VanGalder on

Postdoctoral Research Position in Forest Pathology

The Plant Diagnostic Clinic -Research Program- at the Tropical Research and Education Center, located just 35 miles south of Miami, Florida, is seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to work on a project recently funded by the U.S. Forest Service [Forest Health Protection, Special Technology Development Program] titled “Fightingthe Spread of Laurel Wilt by Increasing the Speed and Diagnostic Resolution of Raffaelea lauricola”. The main objectives of the project are (1) to develop a non-destructive molecular- based protocol for the rapid and early detection of the causal organism of Laurel Wilt and (2) optimize this protocol for its usage in forest ecosystems.

Laurel wilt is a lethal fungal disease of many species in the Lauraceae family, spread by ambrosia beetles and through root grafts. In Florida, it has caused extensively mortality of forest populations of swampbay (Persea palustris) and red bay (Persea borbonia), and commercial avocado (Persea americana) trees. For more information about Laurel Wilt disease go to: and

The successful candidate will work cooperatively with the Principal Investigator (Dr. Romina Gazis-UF-TREC), Co-PI (Dr. Bruce Schaffer-UF-TREC), and collaborator (Dr. Denita Hadziabdic- University of Tennessee), as well as in conjunction with other investigators. The candidate must have the ability to work effectively in a team environment and will be expected to mentor graduate students and coordinate activities with program technicians. The postdoc will also be expected to help oversee other program activities associated with the Plant Diagnostic Clinic, including the routine diagnosis of tropical fruit diseases.

The successful candidate will work with the PIs to collect and analyze project data, prepare progress reports and manuscripts, and engage in extension activities to educate stakeholders (forest managers and avocado growers) on the research. This project entails laboratory work (culture and molecular-based), greenhouse experiments with potted plants, and field experiments.

A Ph.D. in plant pathology (forest pathology), mycology, or a related field is required. The candidate is expected to design and conduct statistically valid research using appropriate statistical methods and software packages (SAS, R, SPSS). The candidate should have experience working with fungi, conducting research in laboratory, greenhouse and field environments, and performing contemporary molecular biology and microscopy necessary for making an accurate diagnosis. Experience with statistical methods, and the use of statistical software packages is highly desirable. Experience in diagnostic techniques (primer development, immuno-assays) would be beneficial, but not required. The candidate will have opportunities to pursue research on other diseases of horticultural crops (tropical fruits, ornamental and landscape plants), and grant writing. The candidate should provide evidence of effective communication skills in verbal and written English.

Minimum qualifications include:

  •  PhD in plant pathology, forest pathology, mycology or related field.
  •  Evidence of scientific productivity in the form of peer-reviewed publications.
  •  Strong scientific writing and communication skills.
  •  Ability to work independently as well as a productive member of a team, including mentoring experience.

    This is a full-time, 12-month research appointment. The position will remain open until filled. The start date for this position is flexible, but no later than September 01, 2019. The initial appointment is for one year with the possibility of renewal upon acceptable progress toward project goals. Salary starts at $47,476 and includes benefits.

    Interested applicants should email the following to Dr. Romina Gazis at: Short-listed individuals will be contacted.

  •  A brief cover letter outlining your background relevant to the project.
  •  A current CV detailing how you meet the minimum criteria with a list of 3 potential references and their contact information.

    For more information about UF-TREC-PDC:

    For more information about UF-TREC Laurel Wilt research group: LW-2/index.shtml