Ag Tech and Research News

Molecular Biologist Sought to Develop Resistance Against Mycotoxigenic Fungi in Corn

07 February 2023, USA: 2Blades is a unique, non-profit, agbiotech organization with leading international expertise in plant science. We contribute to the global agriculture value chain by advancing and delivering genetic resistance to the most critical unmanaged pests and diseases of major crops. We work globally with the public and private sectors to improve farmers’ productivity and income by reducing crop disease and yield loss, thereby contributing to more sustainable agriculture. We work on behalf of large-scale and smallholder farmers and to date have successfully demonstrated improved disease resistance in wheat, soy, potato, tomato, and citrus.

The Position: The overarching goal of the 2Blades corn mycotoxin mitigation program is to engineer resistance to mycotoxigenic fungi in corn. 2Blades has developed proprietary large-scale trait discovery platforms for identifying functional plant genes for enhanced disease resistance. The successful candidate will use the trait discovery platforms to identify and characterize novel resistance genes effective against mycotoxigenic fungi in corn.

Main responsibilities

  • Design and execute experiments to explore the use of fungal elicitors to accelerate resistance gene discovery
  • Support development of a corn protoplast assay for screening candidate genes
  • Help establish laboratory and greenhouse protocols for new disease assays
  • Conduct functional analyses of candidate genes using transient and stable expression systems, transformation, and next-generation sequencing
  • Manage large data sets and perform basic bioinformatics
  • Effectively present results internally and externally as needed

Candidate profile

Essential qualifications and skills:

  • Ph.D. in plant pathology, fungal biology, plant molecular biology, or related field
  • Highly skilled in molecular biology, phytopathology and /or genetics
  • Strong record of scientific achievement in academia or industry
  • An ability to operate both independently and as part of a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, international team
  • Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communication skills for internal and external audiences
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and security of information where appropriate
  • Ability to undertake occasional travel (domestic and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars

Desirable qualifications:

  • Experience working with Fusarium or Aspergillus spp.
  • Familiarity with corn pathology
  • Experience with corn or soybean protoplast systems

Appointment terms: This position is a full-time 3-year appointment, with the possibility of extension based on funding availability and satisfactory performance. 2Blades offers a highly competitive compensation package that includes base salary, generous 401k program, and complete medical benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience.

To apply: Interested candidates should submit a one-page cover letter and resume via email to Josiah Mutuku at No calls please. The position will remain open until filled.

Location: The position will be based in St. Paul, MN. The 2Blades Group is hosted at the University of Minnesota (UMN) Twin Cities campus. UMN has a strong history of advancing science to produce tangible impacts in agriculture and provides an outstanding research environment for studies in plant pathology, pathogen biology, agronomy, and plant genetics. UMN has expertise on the impacts of mycotoxins on animals, exceptional resources in supercomputing, economic modeling of crop disease impact, and mitigation of invasive diseases and pests.

The Twin Cities is a vibrant metropolitan community with miles of bike paths, numerous lakes, and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, which are easily accessible from the campus. There is also easy access to state-of-the-art recreation and wellness facilities, with programs in everything from intramural sports to outdoor recreation and fitness programs.

Also Read: Industry looking forward to Public-Private Partnership for cotton crop productivity: Mr. Sanjiv Lal, MD & CEO of Rallis India

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