Post-Doctoral Associate in Plant Pathology
Percent Time: 100%
Anticipated Initial Appointment Period: June 1st (flexible)
Supervisor of position: Dr. Megan McCaghey

Position Summary:
The McCaghey Lab seeks a postdoctoral research associate to work on integrated management and ecology of soilborne pathogens in important Minnesota crops.
This position is for one year, with contract renewal possible for several years, depending on performance and funding availability.

The postdoctoral research associate will lead projects, along with the PI, to understand soybean structural linkages to Sclerotinia stem rot development, environmental determinants of apothecia development and pathogen aggressiveness, and germplasm resistance screenings. The incumbent may help to develop new projects related to the management of soilborne fungi on additional Minnesota crops (such as sunflower, dry bean, or canola). The selected candidate will be expected to mentor undergraduate students, apply for grants, be an active member of the department and our professional society (American Phytopathological Society), and will present research results at industry and professional meetings. 

Job Duties:
(30%) Lab and greenhouse experimental implementation and data collection
(25%) Field work implementing projects and conducting environmental and disease assessments
(20%) Data analyses and manuscript preparation
(10%) Experimental planning and literature review
(10%) Mentoring lab members and engaging in service
(5%) Communicating findings and recommendations at grower and academic meetings

Post-Doctoral Associates conduct research and/or service that provides further development of career skills or allows them opportunities to learn new research techniques. They are trained by and work in conjunction with a faculty mentor who determines the training agenda.

Positions are limited to a period of three to five years, depending on training needs. Post-Doctoral Associates are receiving training while also performing services for the University of Minnesota, for which they are compensated.


Required Qualifications:
Ph.D. in Plant Pathology, Plant Science, Agronomy, or a related field
Current driver’s license
Limited to fields for which post-degree training is necessary for career entry

Preferred Qualifications:
Experience with lab and field-based plant disease research and data analyses
Publication record in peer-reviewed scientific journals
Experience with grant writing
General knowledge of fungal biology and ecology
Experience mentoring undergraduate students
Knowledge of statistical programming software (R/SAS)
Phenotyping and/or plant resistance breeding experience is desirable but not required

About the Department

Department Overview
Since 1907 the Department of Plant Pathology has had a strong and positive impact on plant health, agricultural development, and ecosystem vitality on local, national, and international scales.

Ongoing collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts in basic and applied research have enabled the faculty in the Department of Plant Pathology to build a strong foundation of science in teaching, research, and extension. Faculty in the Department are nationally and internationally recognized for conducting research in genetics of disease resistance at the molecular, cellular, and whole plant levels; genomics/bioinformatics of plant-microbe interactions; plant disease management; microbial ecology related to plant health and disease; biological control; population genetics; fungal biology and genomics; plant virology; bacteriology; nematology; forest health; wood deterioration; high throughput phenotyping; and global climate change.

Exemplary education, based on research, is a departmental priority and faculty offer a rich and diverse portfolio of undergraduate and graduate courses, serving students within the Department and across the College and University through in-person and online delivery. The Department’s strong graduate program delivers excellence in teaching, research, and mentoring that provides an enriching graduate experience. Graduates move on to careers in agriculture and related industries, public agencies, academia, and private consulting. The Department has access to state-of-the-art facilities including plant growth facilities with classrooms, greenhouses, and a biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) plant pathology quarantine greenhouse and laboratory, along with adjacent research plots that support both conventional and organic production systems.

Other resources include the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute and Biodale that provides state-of-the art genomic, imaging, and mass-spectrometry facilities. Ten unique research and outreach centers throughout Minnesota enhance the Department’s research infrastructure. Adjunct faculty from the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, and Plant Science Research Unit, located on campus, support the mission of the Department. A dedicated and professional team supports the Department’s administrative, financial, and communication functions.

College Overview
The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) is composed of 13 academic departments, 10 research and outreach centers across Minnesota, plus the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the Bell Museum, and dozens of interdisciplinary centers that span the college, the university, and the globe. CFANS offers thirteen undergraduate majors and thirteen graduate majors, three pre-major/pre-professional programs and 23 minors for undergraduate students. Undergraduate enrollment in the college is about 2000 students. CFANS students are well-prepared for a diverse, multicultural workforce through the college’s emphasis on experiential, interdisciplinary, and intercultural learning; internships and global perspectives.

At CFANS, we aim to inspire minds, nourish people, and enhance the natural environment, and we believe that’s only possible if everyone feels seen, heard and respected. Our College embraces equity and diversity and prioritizes purpose-driven scientific discovery in order for us to build a better tomorrow, together. We align with the University of Minnesota in providing equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.


Working at the University

At the University of Minnesota, you’ll find a flexible work environment and supportive colleagues who are interested in lifelong learning.  We prioritize work-life balance, allowing you to invest in the future of your career and in your life outside of work.

The University also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes:

  • Competitive wages, paid holidays, and generous time off
  • Continuous learning opportunities through professional training and degree-seeking programs supported by the Regents Scholarship
  • Low-cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
  • Healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts
  • University HSA contributions
  • Disability and employer-paid life insurance
  • Employee wellbeing program
  • Excellent retirement plans with employer contribution
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) opportunity
  • Financial counseling services 
  • Employee Assistance Program with eight sessions of counseling at no cost

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online.  To be considered for this position, please click the Apply button and follow the instructions.  You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume.

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your “My Job Applications” page and uploading documents in the “My Cover Letters and Attachments” section.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).

Apply Now


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission.  The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. 

Employment Requirements

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.

Please note: All employees at the University of Minnesota are required to comply with the University’s Administrative Policy: COVID-19 Vaccination and Safety Protocol by either providing proof of being fully vaccinated on their first day of employment, or complete a request for an exemption for medical exemption or religious reasons.

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