Assistant Project Scientist in Plant Sciences
University of California Davis
United States

Assistant Project Scientist - Gaudin Lab

Job #JPF03924
  • Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - PLANT SCIENCES

Recruitment Period

Open date: December 4th, 2020

Next review date: Thursday, Dec 17, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Wednesday, Mar 31, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


We are seeking a Project Scientist to assess N cycling and acquisition as a function of plant driven shifts in nutrient allocations and plant-microbe interactions in the grass rhizosphere. This five-year project aims to better understand the dynamics of N cycling and uptake and especially how plant functional traits, including exudate chemistry, can enable structuring of rhizosphere communities that increase nitrogen use-efficiency in organic and low fertility systems. The selected appointee will coordinate all aspects of research and work independently under the general guidance of PI Gaudin. Primary activities will include:

  • Development of an iterative pipeline for field testing of grass genotypes and microbial amendments developed in controlled and in silico environments.
  • Generate and publish quantitative data characterizing impacts of plant and rhizosphere microbial traits on productivity and N cycling and acquisition in agricultural systems.
  • Work in close collaboration with modelers and microbiologists at UC San Diego and the LBNL to support the development of the first genome-scale computational model of the grass rhizosphere.
  • Participate in general management of the Gaudin Lab and mentor undergraduate and graduate students.

Basic Qualifications

  • Doctoral degree in Plant Sciences, Microbial Ecology, Soil Biogeochemistry or related fields.
  • Experience with methods for rhizosphere research including molecular biology and use of isotopes to quantify N flows between soil, plants and microbes
  • Evidence of peer reviewed publications
  • Experience with quantitative ecology, statistical tools (R) and data visualization skills.
  • Ability to think critically to troubleshoot problems in field experiments and work both independently and as part of a diverse team (multiple PIs across institutions)

Preferred Qualifications

  • Interest in agricultural ecology and plant and soil approaches to developing more sustainable and resilient cropping systems
  • Strong organizational and oral communication skills to share data and results with staff and colleagues.
  • Ability to develop productive, collaborative, inclusive, and equitable relationships with team members and other project stakeholders



Research activity (60%)

This position requires creative contributions to and collaborative development of an active research program investigating plant drivers of plant-soil microbe interactions, and the impacts on N cycling, acquisition and use-efficiency in field environments. The candidate will join a diverse research team and will be expected to determine research goals in consultation with Principal Investigators and based on mechanistic understanding of these interactions. He/she/they will select and implement appropriate methods and techniques, supervise students, trouble-shoot problems, interpret results, and plan follow-up experiments in an iterative manner.

Publication (25%)

The candidate will publish research results in peer-reviewed journals, books, and other outlets either independently or in collaboration with PI and other members of the research team.

Grant Acquisition (5%)

This project is funded for five years and will not require extensive grant writing. Nevertheless, when opportunity arise, the candidate will assist in developing and acquiring funding from federal and state agencies and other funding organizations. The candidate will assist in the preparation of reports as required by the granting agency, interact with funding agencies, and prepare modifications of budgets and other grant components as needed.


When appropriate, the candidate may coordinate and/or give presentations at seminars, laboratory meetings, or educational functions. The candidate will participate in professional societies and conferences appropriate to his/her/their specific field and will serve as a reviewer of research proposals and scientific publications as appropriate. The candidate will attend seminars to present research results and may give oral presentations to public and professional interest groups.


The candidate will engage in public outreach activities that include presenting scientific research results to the general public and providing relevant advice to individuals and public agencies. The candidate will also engage in University service activities such as guest lecturing and committee service. Teaching classroom courses is not an expectation of this position.

Salary: Commensurate with experience.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: []


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter (Optional)
  • Statement of Research (Optional)
  • Statement of Teaching (Optional)
  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a statement and why one is requested.
Reference requirements
  • 4-6 letters of reference required

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