Multiple Research Positions

Hiring Organization: MSU Plant, Soil, and Microbial Science
Employment type: Seasonal
Job Location: East Lansing, MI
Application Deadline: April 14, 2017

Field/Lab Assistants and Spore Trappers 

The Vegetable Pathology Lab is seeking undergraduate students to assist with field and lab research as well as downy mildew spore trapping program. 

Start date: May 2017 after final exams 

End date: Mid-August 2017 

Type: Full time (40 hours/wk) Monday through Friday with occasionally longer hours as projects require. Do not apply if you are taking summer classes during this time period. 

Job description #1 (Field research assistant): The candidates will be working with graduate students and other undergraduate research assistants on multiple projects concerning plant pathogens and their hosts. Potential projects and related activities could be field-based, lab-based or a combination of both. Field activities could include plot staking, disease rating, sample collection, and crop harvesting. Potential research projects: downy mildew of hops; onion foliar diseases; other projects can include diseases of asparagus, cucumber, squash, and tomato. 

Job description #2 (Lab research assistant): Also working with graduate students, lab-based activities could include sample processing, pathogen isolation, DNA extraction, PCR and genotyping, media preparation, pathogen culture collection and maintenance, autoclaving, dish washing, sterile transfer of pathogens, preparation of reagents, and data entry. Potential research projects: population dynamics of cucurbit downy mildew (overlap with position 3), population genetics of phytophthora, sample processing from field projects (overlap with position 1). 

Job description #3 (Spore trapping program): Activities will include microscopy, spore trap preparation and processing, sample collection, data entry and updating the website. This position also involves collection of spore traps throughout the state and a valid driver’s license and an excellent driving record is required. This project is part of an ongoing program to provide important information on the movements of cucurbit downy mildew (#1 disease of Michigan cucumbers) to growers across the state in order to assist their disease management programs. This position may also be involved in the implementation of new technologies (qPCR) to detect aerial dispersal of plant pathogens. 

While each position will focus on the activities described above, there is potential for overlap of responsibilities or for positions to migrate focus throughout the season as projects require. These positions are based on MSU campus in East Lansing, MI. Field work will be within driving distance of campus and transportation will be provided. 

Qualifications: The ability to work independently and as part of a team is essential. Applicants must be detail-oriented and willing and able to work in the field under a variety of weather conditions. Additional requirements are a valid driver’s license and a good work ethic. No previous field or lab experience is required, but would be beneficial. Applicants should indicate their job description preferences in their application although there is no guarantee that the applicant will be offered their preferred position. 

To apply: submit resume and cover letter to Beth Brisco-McCann at  by April 14, 2017.