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USDA-ARS Postdoctoral Fellowship in Plant Pathology

How to apply: In order to apply to any posting, you will need to make a profile account in Zintellect at Once your profile is made, you will be able to apply to postings.

A complete application consists of:
  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted. Click here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV, including academic history, employment history, relevant experiences, and publication list
  • Two educational or professional recommendations
All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

Application Deadline

3/31/2023 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone


*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

ARS Office/Lab and LocationA postdoctoral research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), within the Foreign Disease/Weed Science Unit (FDWSRU) in Frederick, Maryland.
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency with a mission to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS will deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture. The vision of the agency is to provide global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence. 
The ARS-FDWSRU is a unique governmental research facility, comprising eleven independent PI labs conducting research on a multitude of foreign plant pathogens and invasive weeds, including USDA-APHIS Select Agents and other high-risk fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, and viruses. Our 43,000 square foot research facility provides a wide range of labs, greenhouses, and growth chambers, including a 10,000 square foot BSL3 containment facility, plus powerful computational and bioinformatic tools through the ARS SciNet platform.

Research Project: A post-graduate research opportunity is available to study downy mildew pathogens of cereals and grasses, conducting research with both domestic and foreign pathogens and the two species designated as Select Agents in the U.S. These graminicolous downy mildew pathogens (GDMs) of corn, sorghum, sugarcane, and millets cause some of the world's most destructive diseases. To improve capabilities for identification and detection of these high-risk foreign pathogens prior to their introduction into the U.S., researchers are working to generate a comprehensive toolkit of molecular and multi-media resources that enhance our ability to identify GDMs at the state and national levels and at U.S. ports of entry. The successful candidate for this postdoctoral research project will undertake both bioinformatic and in planta objectives, leveraging a large dataset of enriched barcode data, genome assemblies, and other resources to characterize diverse pathogen species, and to develop sensitive fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) tools to detect the pathogens in planta.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Early Spring 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for two years, but may be renewed upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds. 

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR).

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and ARS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have a doctoral degree or is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields to be received before March 31, 2023.
Preferred skills:
  • Ph.D. degree in plant pathology, mycology, microbiology or a related field
  • Ability to lead research, work independently and also to collaborate and contribute to the efforts of a diverse team of researchers and students
  • Experience with molecular biology techniques, including DNA extraction, PCR and sequencing
  • Proficient using bioinformatic tools, especially experience conducting molecular phylogenetic/evolutionary analyses, phylogenomics, developing molecular markers and working with DNA barcode data to determine plant pathogen variation
  • Demonstrated ability to achieve project goals, meet deadlines and communicate findings in peer-reviewed journals and at scientific meetings.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or anticipated to be received by 3/31/2023 12:00:00 AM.

Reference Code