Assistant Specialist in Pistachio Improvement
University of California Davis Department of Plant Sciences
United States

Assistant Specialist in Pistachio Improvement Program

Job #JPF03477
  • Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - PLANT SCIENCES

Recruitment Period

Open date: March 20th, 2020

Next review date: Friday, Apr 3, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)

Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 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.


The Department of Plant Sciences is seeking an Assistant Specialist in rootstock breeding and tissue culture in the Pistachio Improvement Program. The position will involve conducting laboratory, greenhouse, and field research focused on generating and propagating new clonal and seedling populations of pistachio rootstocks, screening them in the field and greenhouse for resistance to abiotic stresses, and distributing them to plant pathologists for further testing. The Assistant Specialist will work directly with breeding program personnel including the PI, staff research associates, specialists, and graduate students. The successful candidate will be actively involved in publishable research activities, participate in research planning, implementation, and analysis, with opportunities for co-authorship or acknowledgement in publications. Applicants are expected to have an interest and experience in both micro-propagation of woody plants and genetic improvement of horticultural crops.

A. Research in specialized areas (90%)

  1. Perform breeding crosses in the field to generate new pistachio rootstock diversity.
  2. Introduce, maintain, and multiply new pistachio genotypes in tissue culture.
  3. Screen clonal and seedling pistachio rootstocks for resistance/tolerance to abiotic stresses (sodium, chloride, boron, water deficit) in the greenhouse and field.
  4. Distribute clonal and seedling pistachio rootstocks to collaborating pathologists; coordinate planting, micro-propagation, genotyping, and safe delivery of plants.
  5. Meet weekly with PI, laboratory manager, and others to discuss results and interpretations of data collected to plan future projects and experiments.
  6. Contribute to scholarly manuscripts through data interpretation, development of figures, and review of manuscripts.
  7. Review and present pertinent literature at lab meetings.
  8. Maintain clear laboratory documentation and data files.
  9. Occasionally assist other laboratory personnel with laboratory, greenhouse, and field research activities, including sample collection and processing.

B. Professional Competence and Activity (5%)

  1. Attend seminars on topics related to fields of interest.
  2. Attend the annual Pistachio Workgroup Meeting, Plant Science Symposium and UC Davis Plant Breeding Retreat, with the opportunity to attend additional conferences.
  3. Participate in training programs to enhance knowledge and skills.

C. University and Public Service (5%)

  1. Lead tours, give presentations, and provide training to visiting scientists, industry representatives, and undergraduate students.
  2. Participate in activities of committees within the department, college, campus, and other University entities, as appropriate.


Master’s degree in Plant Sciences, Plant Biology, or a closely related field. The successful candidate must be capable of working independently and must have a minimum of two years of experience with micro-propagation of woody plants, preferably pistachio. The candidate should be organized, efficient, capable of multitasking, and have good communication skills.

SALARY: $51,700/year (this is a 100% appointment for one year with the potential to extend based on performance and funding availability).

Job location



Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter
Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)

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