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Research Associate-Fixed Term

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Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Personnel Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Agriculture And Nat Resources
Department: Plant Soil And Microbial Sciences 40000781
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Education/Training, Research/Scientific, Fixed Term Academic Staff, Full Time (90-100%), Non-Union, Remote-Friendly

Position Summary

This is a 100% research position with a 12-month appointment renewable up to two years depending upon performance. The position is supported by a collaborative agreement between the USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD and Michigan State University. The successful candidate will be a highly self- motivated team member of the established and nationally recognized soybean genetics and breeding program. The selected applicant will work independently and cooperatively with the project leader, postdoc fellows, laboratory researchers, students and collaborators.

To cope with newly emerging diseases and pests, environmental extremes, and increasing demand for enhanced quality, breeders need to discover genes controlling the corresponding traits from new genetic resources and develop efficient selection methods to accelerate the breeding processes. The successful candidate's goals are to discover the genomic loci/genes that control different traits and to understand the underlying biological and genetic mechanisms of soybean.

The duties will include but not limited to: prepare high quality DNA/RNA template and library for high-throughput sequencing of soybean and rhizobium strains;  observes and evaluates soybean populations for different traits especially nitrogen fixation efficiency and seed quality; performs gene expression analysis based on real-time PCR and/or other methods; performs SNP and other marker genotyping for breeding lines; develops soybean inbred populations for mapping traits controlling different traits in the field and greenhouse; uses software and writes script to analyze genetic and genomic datasets; collect and analyze data,  and write research papers.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Degree

Doctorate -Plant Genetics and Breeding

Minimum Requirements

Ph. D with extensive expertise in plant genetics and breeding, including procedures, methods and techniques which are applied in the field, such as crossing, breeding population development, QTL mapping and GWAS analysis, and gene functional analysis. Broad professional knowledge of the scientific theories and principles which underlie plant molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology as applied to plant genetics and breeding. Skill and experience of a range of plant molecular biology techniques including rhizobium bacteria recovery and culture, DNA/RNA sequencing template isolation from plant and rhizobium bacteria, DNA library construction, DNA sequencing, sequence analysis, SNP discovery, primer design, molecular marker genotyping, gene expression analysis, etc. 

Desired Qualifications

Skill and experience of working in the greenhouse and field for the evaluation of soybean biological traits independently. Skill in experimental design, statistical and bioinformatics analysis of genetic and genomic dataset using the software or self-writing scripts. Ability to make refined observations, interpret their genetic implications, and make accurate and precise reports or documentation on the results of these observations.

Required Application Materials

Cover Letter addressing interest and research plans


Name and contact information for Three(3) professional references 


Special Instructions

Contact Dr. Dechun Wang ( for additional questions about position 

Review of Applications Begins On


Remote Work Statement

MSU strives to provide a flexible work environment and this position has been designated as remote-friendly. Remote-friendly means some or all of the duties can be performed remotely as mutually agreed upon.


MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

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Applications close: Eastern Daylight Time

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