The College of Agriculture Food and Environmental Sciences at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the area of Plant Pathology and Microbiome research.

The Postdoctoral Research Fellow will work with Dr. Shunping Ding ( The postdoctoral research will be conducting interdisciplinary research that involves microbial ecology, plant microbiome interactions, and pest management. 

This position will begin Summer or Fall 2023 according to the candidate’s availability. This is a grant-funded position, and continued employment is contingent on performance and funding. 

Minimum Qualifications              

  • Doctoral degree in plant pathology, microbiology, microbial ecology or a similar field. Experience in plant pathology and disease management is desired.
  • Benchwork skills (e.g. DNA extraction from soils and plants, preparation of samples for next-generation sequencing, etc.).
  • Experience with data analysis and phylogenetic analysis (including but not limited to protein and DNA sequences, chromatography traces, gel images, etc.)
  • Fast learner/self-starter – able to work independently as well as work in teams including students, researchers, and faculty.
  • Experience with writing and publishing peer-reviewed scientific articles.
  • Ability to prioritize, plan, organize, and meet deadlines.
  • Maintain lab records meticulously.
  • Knowledge of laboratory maintenance and equipment.
  • Ability to multi-task and work cooperatively with others (internal and external collaborations).
  • A good understanding of the microbial species concept is mandatory.
  • Collect phenotypic data from plants (healthy, infected, and disease rating).
  • Possess a valid California driver’s license and satisfactory driving record (or acquire one within 2 months).
  • Ability to maintain regular and reliable attendance.
  • Ability to establish and maintain cooperative and effective working relationship with others.
  • Interpersonal skills using tact, patience, and courtesy.
  • A background check is required for all regular benefited positions.
  • The person holding this position is considered a ‘mandated reporter’ under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act and is required to comply with the requirements set forth in CSU Executive Order 1083 as a condition of employment.

Preferred Qualifications               

Physical Demands            

  • Hearing and speaking to exchange information in person or on the telephone.
  • Dexterity of hands, fingers, and wrist to operate a computer keyboard and calculator.
  • Seeing to read a variety of materials.
  • Sitting or standing for extended period of time.
  • Physical agility to lift 50 pounds to shoulder height.
  • Physical agility to lift, carry, push, or pull objects
  • Work under adverse conditions, including outdoor work in hot or wet weather with occasional long hours to meet project deadlines.
  • Be able to wear a respirator and appropriate PPE.

Typical Essential Functions         

  • Conduct research comparing microbiomes of crops with different management methods.
  • Contribute to ongoing studies of microbiome studies in the leafy vegetable cropping system and wine grape management.
  • Perform statistical analysis and bioinformatic analysis.
  • Write manuscripts to publish in scientific journals.
  • Work with the PI in developing research project goals, including writing manuscripts, and grant applications.
  • Participate in professional development activities, including attending national conferences.
  • Directly supervise research staff, including graduate students, undergraduate students, and other research assistants.
  • Train graduate students and undergraduate students in microbiology and microbial ecological experimentation.
  • Receive mentorship and training in effective teaching practices and possibly teach one undergraduate course (paid by additional assignment as a part-time lecturer).
  • Perform other duties assigned.

Special Instructions to Applicants            

Cal Poly Corporation provides excellent benefits including medical, dental, vision, life insurance, retirement, paid sick leave/vacation and holidays. Employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a criminal background check, educational and employment verification, and reference check, as required.

The California State University system (CSU) requires that students, faculty, and any employees of organizations who access campus, or any CSU facilities, to be either fully vaccinated or qualify for a medical or religious exemption.

Please note if you are chosen for a position with the Cal Poly Corporation you will be asked to fill out a Vaccine Attestation once you are hired. This attestation will ask if you are vaccinated or asking for a medical or religious exemption. AA/EEO/Disability/Protected Veteran Employer.


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