Cornell University, School of Integrative Plant Science – Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics

Position ID:Cornell-School of Integrative Plant Science – Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics-POSTDOCCASSAVA [#23403, WDR-00034004]
Position Title: Postdoctoral Associate in NextGen Cassava
Position Type:Postdoctoral
Position Location:Ithaca, New York 14853, United States [map] sort by distance
Subject Areas: Plant Breeding / Barley
Genomics / Cassava
Genetics / Cassava
Appl Deadline:2023/03/31 11:59PMhelp popup (posted 2022/10/21, listed until 2023/03/31)
Position Description:    

School of Integrative Science
Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics
Postdoctoral Associate

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and home to Cornell University’s second largest population of students, faculty and staff. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: natural and human systems; food, energy and environmental resources; and social, physical and economic well-being. CALS is fundamentally invested in improving the lives of people, their environments and their communities both in New York state and around the world.

The Cornell Plant Breeding & Genetics Section trains interdisciplinary scientists in the elaboration of new breeding methods, the discovery of genetic mechanisms important for economically important traits, and the creation of genetic stocks, germplasm, and varieties. We promote a collaborative and interactive workspace to improve shared learning and mutual support between basic and applied researchers. We are leaders in innovative plant breeding research, teaching, and extension. We collaborate globally.

The Jannink lab works with several crop species (wheat, oat, barley, cassava, and the brown alga sugar kelp) to develop genomic prediction methods and integrate them optimally into breeding schemes. We work together to discover, build on, and share new ideas and tools from across computational disciplines that lead to successful applied breeding outcomes.

Position Function
The position is in the lab of Jean-Luc Jannink, in the Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell, within the NextGen Cassava project ( Cassava is a critical food security crop in sub-Saharan Africa for which genomic resources are now being rapidly developed. The NextGen Cassava project leverages those resources in a large, multinational effort to empower farmers through innovative, sustainable cassava breeding. NextGen Cassava researchers at Cornell work with primary collaborators in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and a wider network of collaborators at other research institutions. The postdoc will join this team to implement quantitative genetic and genomic analyses and interact with collaborators across four continents. Applied research will include analysis of multi-environment trials run across programs. The candidate will develop and apply methods to account for experimental error and genomic prediction accuracies to optimize breeding program resource allocation across population improvement and product development pipelines.

In addition to this applied breeding work, the postdoc will explore new methods, better implementation, or data acquisition to improve our team’s analysis capacity overall. Many possibilities for exploration range from breeding scheme simulation, incorporation of new and high-throughput traits in accelerated breeding cycles, to leveraging information from sequencing of parents in African cassava breeding programs through haplotype-based imputation. NextGen Cassava operates in effect as a breeding company, with the candidate postdoc joining its "Research Division". The candidate will learn aspects of effective management and leadership. This experience will provide excellent preparation for a future career in industry or academia. Travel and teaching in sub-Saharan Africa (~6 weeks / year) will be required. Term is one year renewable to two years contingent on successful performance, available work and continued funding.

Anticipated Division of Time
35% Multi-environment trial analysis for breeding decision support and optimization of resource allocation in cassava breeding
30% Basic research to improve NextGen cassava team analysis capabilities
20% Writing / publishing
15% Formal and informal training of lab members and collaborators in statistical genetics and genomics. Annual report preparation.

PhD in plant or animal breeding with emphasis on quantitative methods, or quantitative or population genetics. Proficiency in R. Demonstrated communication skills, both written and verbal. A valid passport is required.

Preferred qualifications
Management and leadership soft skills. Experience in plant breeding practice, knowledge of databases / database programming / software development / version control / reproducible programming skills.

Supervision Exercised
This position may supervise students.

Applications To apply
Candidates should submit a cover letter, CV, Research Statement, and contact information for 3 references, and a statement of contribution to diversity, equity, and inclusion via the website

All application materials must be received by close of business on November 30, 2022.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following items online at this website to complete your application:
And anything else requested in the position description.

Further Info:
School of Integrative Plant Science
Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics
258 Emerson Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853