A NIFA-funded Graduate assistant position (MS) under the direction Dr. Xavier Martini is available at the University of Florida to start January 1st 2024. The position will be located at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) in Quincy, FL.

The student will work on the development of insecticide alternatives for the management of whiteflies in tomatoes, with the use of trap crop, reflective mulch, and kaolin clay. Research will incorporate laboratory experiments, and field trials. The student will have the opportunity to participate to outreach and Extension events.

Project summary:  We propose to mitigate the spread of whitefly infestation in vegetables by developing a push-pull technology using both visual and semiochemical cues. This push-pull system that we propose to develop and implement within tomato crops is a completely new whitefly management tactic for use in IPM systems.

The push component (repellency) will be achieved by the combined use of limonene scented kaolin (odor and tactile cues), and reflective mulch (visual cues). The pull component (attraction) will be achieved by eggplants used as trap crop.

Employment Conditions

  • This position will be filled as soon thereafter as an acceptable applicant is available.
  • Compensation will be commensurate with the education, experience, and qualifications of the selected applicant. Tuition will be covered by our lab.
  • All the classes of the Entomology Department are available online; therefore, the student is expected to stay in Quincy for the 2 years of the project.

Background Information:

The North Florida Research & Education Center is one of the largest and most diverse off-campus units of UF/IFAS, consisting of campuses in Quincy, Marianna and Live Oak in the eastern Panhandle and Big Bend Region of Florida. The Quincy campus, established in 1921, is a 1,021-acre research and education facility located in Gadsden County. The NFREC has 16 faculty members located at Quincy and Marianna that represent nine academic units (agronomy, animal science, entomology, environmental horticulture, forestry, horticulture, plant pathology, soil and water science, and wildlife conservation).

The NFREC is characterized by a dynamic population of post-doctoral associates, graduate students, scientific, farm, and administrative staff. This diversity of faculty, staff and programs provides a unique setting for Multidisciplinary research that ties the NFREC with faculty on the main UF campus, faculty at other Research and Education Centers around the state, as well as other universities nationally.

The NFREC also has a strong presence internationally with many faculty members involved in research, extension and teaching in many countries in South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The NFREC has its own Student association that the student is expected to join.

The NFREC Quincy campus where this position is located is ideally located 20-minute drive from the state capital Tallahassee. Tallahassee is the largest city in the state’s Panhandle region. A center for trade and agriculture, Tallahassee boasts a vibrant college community that includes Florida State University, Florida A&M and several smaller schools of higher education. Tallahassee is known statewide for its parks, gardens, and the State Capitol.  Public schools in Leon County have an average ranking of 8/10, which is in the top 30% of Florida public schools.

The University of Florida is a Land-Grant, Sea-Grant, and Space-Grant institution, encompassing virtually all academic and professional disciplines, with an enrollment of more than 56,000 students.  UF is a member of The Association of American Universities. 

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) includes the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station the Florida Cooperative Extension Service the College of Veterinary Medicine the Florida Sea Grant program and encompasses 16 on-campus academic departments and schools, 12 Research and Educational Centers (REC) located throughout the state, 6 Research sites/demonstration units administered by RECs or academic departments, and Florida Cooperative Extension Service offices in all 67 counties (counties operate and maintain). 

Salary: $25,000 minimum

UF/IFAS employs nearly 4,500 people, which includes approximately 990 salaried faculty and 1,400 permanent support personnel located in Gainesville and throughout the state.

Minimum Qualifications: 

  • A Bachelor of Science degree with a major or minor in Entomology, Environmental Science, Plant Pathology, Horticulture or equivalent
  • GPA > 3.0
  • Can work in the field under heat.

Ideal candidates should demonstrate:

  • Skills in written and oral communication.
  • Previous experience in field work.
  • Great organization skills

To apply: If interested please send your application by August 1st, 2024, with your CV, transcripts, cover letter (no more than 2 pages), names and contact information of 2 professional references to Dr. Xavier Martini, Electronic Mail: xmartini@ufl.edu Associate Professor, University of Florida, NFREC – Quincy 155 Research Rd, Quincy, FL 32351-5677 Phone:      (850) 875-7160 Fax: (352) 846-6617

University page: Xavier Martini – North Florida Research and Education Center – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu)

ResearchGate: (1) Xavier Martini (researchgate.net)

Scholar Google: ?Xavier Martini – ?Google Scholar

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