Posted: November 4, 2019

Application due November 29, 2019

A research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center, Pest Management and Biological Control Research Unit located in Maricopa, Arizona.

The mission of this research unit is to develop unique and improved biological, behavioral, cultural and genetic based methods to reduce losses by insects and mites affecting crops in arid land production areas of the U.S. The goals are economically, socially, and environmentally acceptable pest population suppression technologies based on the use of behavioral chemicals, genetics, cultural practices, biological control, sampling and decision aids, modeling and population dynamics of pests and their natural enemies. Researchers in the unit are actively engaged in the application of functional genomics approaches to elucidate key genes driving critical biological and physiological functions in a non-model agricultural pest. Using multiple transcriptomic resources developed by the unit, efforts are underway to link gene sequence with biological function. Methods currently being used and under development include: traditional molecular cloning techniques, PCR-based and sequencing-based profiling of differential transcript abundances across tissues and conditions, in vivo dsRNA-mediated RNA interference determining gene function, gene-editing techniques, and utilization of recombinant proteins in confocal microscopy and/or plate reader-based cell assays. The selected participant will collaborate with and learn from a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and support staff to holistically examine gene function from sequence identification and cloning to expression profiling, to the development and implementation of gene silencing/editing methods and the subsequent assessment of silencing effects on biology/physiology. The participant will be provided authorship on manuscripts resulting from their research efforts as well as opportunities to present findings at relevant venues.

Learning opportunities associated with this project include:

  • adapting molecular methods to non-model organisms 
  • developing dsRNA delivery methods
  • elucidating molecular mechanisms/pathways driving biology with opportunities for comparative analyses
  • maintaining and utilizing cultured insect cell lines for assessing gene function
  • developing/refining PCR methods
  • application of modern molecular methods to entomology
  • applying computer-based bioinformatics methods to a biological question

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Fall 2019

This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and ARS. The initial appointment is for six months, but may be renewed upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE. The appointment is full-time at ARS in the Maricopa, Arizona, area. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.

Read the full solicitation here

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