A post-doctoral associate position in molecular biology is available in the group of Professor Brian Steffenson in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota. The successful candidate will contribute to a program aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms of virulence/avirulence in cereal rust fungi (Puccinia species) .

The successful candidate will lead a high-throughput discovery approach to identify avirulence genes in diverse fungal pathogens (Puccinia spp. and Blumeria spp.). Diverse methods will be used including but not limited to transient assays with Nicotiana benthamiana and protoplasts and stable assays using transgenic wheat and barley.

Current resources include diverse barley and wheat germplasm, cloned resistance genes (Rps6, Rps7, Rps8, and Rps10), high-quality sequenced fungal genomes, and several structured fungal sexual populations.

Job Duties:

  1. (30%) Development of transient assays for gene expression and function
  2. (50%) Screen diverse effector gene candidates to identify avirulence genes
  3. (20%) Functional analysis of avirulence genes

Required Qualifications: Applicants to this position must have: i) a Ph.D. degree in plant pathology, plant science, ecology, or genetics; ii) experience in working with pathogens of plants; iii) demonstrated record of senior authored, peer-reviewed publications; and iv) experience in molecular biology.

Preferred Qualifications: Excellent written/oral communication and organizational skills; experience in molecular biology; experience in resistance gene expression and function; experience in protoplast and other transient assays.

About the Department: This position is in the Steffenson Lab & CDL within the Department of Plant Pathology in CFANS on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus.

Plant pathology is a diverse and interdisciplinary science that integrates knowledge across scientific disciplines. Our staff, students, and faculty members are as diverse as the science itself, but how did they become interested in solving plant health and disease issues? Find out how an interest in science often leads to a passion for plant pathology.


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 have 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. 

This position requires that you attach:

  • a cover letter that summarizes research experience related to the position and career goals
  • a curriculum vita
  • the contact information for three professional references,

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail employ@umn.edu or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647). HIRING MANAGERS: Dr. Brian Steffenson (bsteffen@umn.edu)  and Dr. Matthew Moscou (mmoscou@umn.edu)

Diversity; 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.

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UMTC): The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UMTC), is among the largest public research universities in the country, offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional students a multitude of opportunities for study and research.

Located at the heart of one of the nation’s most vibrant, diverse metropolitan communities, students on the campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul benefit from extensive partnerships with world-renowned health centers, international corporations, government agencies, and arts, nonprofit, and public service organizations.


This position will remain open until filled.

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