Graduate Position: Crop Domestication and Plant-Microbe Interactions

The Porter lab at Washington State University, Vancouver seeks a PhD
> student to join our research project investigating how crop
> domestication affects beneficial plant-microbe interactions. The
> student will have the opportunity to conduct research that integrates
> across our research in agricultural fields, the greenhouse, the wet
> lab, and via computational approaches. Prior experience in areas such
> as Evolutionary Ecology, Agronomy, Microbiology or Plant Science would
> be useful. The successful candidate will join a collaborative research
> team, so strong communication skills are a plus.
> Project Background
> Over thousands of years of domestication and crop improvement, humans
> have shaped wild plant species into the diverse crops we depend upon.
> While beneficial microbes that live on and inside of plants play key
> roles in plant health, little is known about how a plants’ ability to
> benefit from cooperative microbes changes during domestication. To
> investigate the evolution of plant benefits from wild plants to modern
> varieties, our project uses seed collections and genomic resources for
> legume crops ranging from soybeans to peas as model systems. The
> utility of legumes in agriculture lies in their unique symbiosis with
> rhizobial bacteria, which convert atmospheric nitrogen into useable
> forms, essentially fertilizing the plant. We compare crops’ ability to
> benefit from rhizobia to that of their wild relatives by integrating
> approaches from phylogenetics, molecular genetics, quantitative
> genetics, and genomics. Legumes account for a quarter of global crop
> production and a third of human dietary protein. Understanding how and
> why rhizobial symbiosis evolves during domestication will help
> identify ways to improve crop benefits from microbes to increase our
> ability to feed a growing human population.
> Lab Description
> The Porter lab ( investigates
> diverse projects on the Evolutionary Ecology of Plant-Microbe
> Interactions, ranging from how symbiotic plants and microbes adapt to
> environmental stresses to the ways in which plant-microbe cooperation
> shifts during biological invasions. We are housed in the School of
> Biological Sciences at Washington State University, Vancouver. Located
> on a beautiful 351-acre campus across the Columbia River from
> Portland, Oregon, WSU Vancouver offers an excellent quality of life.
> How to Apply
> If interested, please send an informal inquiry containing your CV with
> GPA and relevant coursework and a short statement explaining your
> interest in the position to Please see
> instructions and information at
> Formal applications received by WSUV before January 10th, 2020 will be
> given full consideration, applications can still be considered after
> this date.