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    This position is located in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Plant Introduction Research Unit, located in Ames, Iowa. The unit’s mission involves the acquisition, maintenance, distribution, characterization, evaluation, and enhancement of plant germplasm for use in improving agricultural and horticultural efficiency. The primary purpose of the position is to ensure seed and plant health; provide for diagnostic pathology testing using a variety of technologies; support national and international distribution of plant genetic resources; develop methodology to support seed health testing; ensure all safety practices are followed.

    Incumbent must have and maintain a valid drivers license as a condition of employment.

    Incumbent must have or be able to obtain, a pesticide applicator’s license from the state of Iowa within 6 months of hiring.

    Field and laboratory working conditions impose exposure to heat, cold, dust, molds.  High level of dexterity and eye-hand coordination required for laboratory, microscopy, and computer tasks.

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    Major Duties may include, but are not limited to:

    Plans and carries out all phases of field and laboratory experiments including design, field plot layout, and statistical analysis of data. 

    Directs a phytosanitary seed health program that includes conducting field inspections of seed increase plots performing a variety of laboratory seed health tests, and development of new methodology.

    Maintains long-term, computerized records of seed health tests and field inspections and utilizes records to detect trends in impact of pathogens or changing genetic diversity of pathogens in relation to their host plants.

    Serves as an advisor and contributes scientific expertise to address phytosanitary concerns within the US National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS).

    Communicates and collaborates with colleagues from federal, state, and private research laboratories, curators and staff of the NPGS and other scientists in the plant germplasm user community.

    Plans, oversees, and conducts research trials to evaluate plant genetic resources for sources of disease resistance and to obtain descriptor data for the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN-Global) database.

    Develops new techniques for diagnosis, isolation, culture, and identification of pathogens affecting plant species in the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station’s (NCRPIS) germplasm collection.

    Analyzes and interprets research data with appropriate statistical methodology.
    Reports results in publications and at scientific meetings, and provides evaluation data for the GRIN-Global database.

    Utilizes modern diagnostic protocols, including molecular techniques, for detection and identification of pathogens affecting plant species in the NCRPISs germplasm collection.

    Monitors the NCRPISs germplasm collection for foreign pathogens and new races, strains, or isolates of indigenous pathogens.

    Maintains a reference culture collection of plant pathogens and adds new pathogens or isolates to that collection as they are identified.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - The incumbent will be required to travel to field sites; and to attend professional meetings.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


    Who May Apply

    This job is open to…

    United States Citizens

    Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

  • Job family (Series)

    0434 Plant Pathology

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/503244700. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.