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Research Project Description

Plant Pathology Postdoctoral Research Associate
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Charleston, SC


Project Description:

A postdoctoral research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina.  Scientists at this unit conduct research to solve region-wide and national problems in the production and protection of vegetable crops. The selected applicant will conduct research on foliar diseases of cucurbits (downy and powdery mildew). Specific research areas can include studies to understand differential gene expression during disease development on susceptible and resistant cucurbit genotypes; morphological and genetic variability among pathogen isolates and inheritance of host plant resistance.  Cucurbit crops that the laboratory primarily works on include watermelon, cucumber, melon and gourds.


To be eligible, applicants must have received a doctorate degree in Plant Pathology or a closely related field within five years of the desired starting date.  Basic knowledge of plant diseases and experience in laboratory research is desired. Knowledge of molecular biology, and/or genetics is preferred. Experience in field research will be advantageous, but is not required.  The successful candidate must also have strong oral and written communication skills and be able to design experiments, initiate research projects, and participate effectively in team projects.

Preferred skills include: Strong molecular biology skills, including DNA and RNA extraction from plant and fungi, PCR amplification, qPCR, cloning and sequencing.  Ability to utilize bioinformatics in exploration of sequenced genomes will be an added advantage.  Basic knowledge of plant genetics and host-resistance is desirable but not required. Demonstrated ability to publish in peer-reviewed journals.

While participants will not enter into an employment relationship with ARS, this position requires a pre-employment check and a full background investigation.

This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) and foreign nationals.

This is an equal opportunity program open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or covered veteran’s status.

Additional Information:

The appointment is full-time for one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of the ARS and availability of funding. The annual stipend rate for this position is $56,083. A stipend supplement is included in this rate to offset the cost of an individual health insurance plan. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. Health insurance may be obtained through ORISE. The rate also includes a travel allowance of $3,000 per year to reimburse travel-related expenses to scientific and professional development activities. The participant does not become an employee of the USDA, ARS, or ORISE.

For additional information about the ARS Research Participation Program, please visit

How to Apply:

An application can be found at Please reference Project # ARS-USVL-2014-0032 in your application and when calling or writing for information.