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USDA-ARS Postgraduate Research Opportunity in Plant Genetics

ARS Office/Lab and LocationA research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Southern Regional Research Center located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Research Project: The participant will be part of a research team that conducts multidisciplinary research on lipid metabolism in oilseeds, microbes, and other biological organisms. The research areas include, but are not limited to, transgene expression and characterization in microbes and plants, genome editing (‘CRISPR’) in plants, and extraction and analysis of lipids, proteins, DNA, and RNA from plants and microbes. Specific activities will include conducting research experiments, performing chemical and physical analyses, and tabulation and evaluation of primary research data. 

Learning ObjectivesThe participant will learn research techniques and approaches used in both basic and applied research that focuses on creation and improvement of new plant and microbial genotypes and germplasms with industrial and agricultural economic potential. The participant will interact with highly trained professional staff on a routine basis. The opportunity will impart participants with a wide range of biotechnology skills and will prepare them for conducting research in numerous types of plant biotechnology and pharmacological research and product development environments.

Mentor(s)The mentor for this opportunity is Jay Shockey ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: December 2022.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year, but may be extended upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

ORISE InformationThis 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. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process, please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.

The qualified candidate should have received a bachelor's degree in one of the relevant fields.

Preferred skills:

  • Experience in a modern laboratory setting
  • Knowledge and experience with basic biology and chemistry skills necessary for plant biotechnology lab experiments
  • Other common techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA extractions, and gas chromatography