Two Postdoc positions in Plant Evolution & Ecology at the University of Pittsburgh  

Seeking two Postdoctoral fellows to join a collaborative project examining functional, population genetic and ecological mechanisms underlying success of polyploid plants.       

The work aims to predict the effect of whole genome duplication on ecological and evolutionary responses to environmental change.  The postdocs will identify the ecological, population genetic and genomic factors that underlie functional trait (e.g., phenotypic plasticity in reponse to climate, tolerance of drought and freeze) variation, ecological amplitude and gene expression diversity using the wild strawberry (Fragaria) as a model system (see Liston et al 2014. AJB101:1686-1699; Johnson et al 2014 Bot J Linn Soc 173:99-114). The specific goals are to 1) characterize functional responses to climate and how they vary with natural variation in ploidy, with experimental hybridization and whole genome duplication, 2) analyze gene expression (transcriptomes) and physiological traits of natural and synthetic polyploids and their diploid progenitors in the greenhouse and common gardens at climatically diverse sites, 3) use NGS of target-captured sequence from natural populations of plants to identify patterns of genetic diversity and signatures of selection, reconstruct phylogenetic relationships and generate high density linkage maps (Tennesson et al 2014 GBE 6:3295-3313).  

Postdoc candidates are sought with expertise in one of two areas (with ample opportunities for cross training between them):

1) Population genetic, comparative genomics, transcriptome analysis to address ecological or evolutionary questions

2) Population, physiological or functional plant ecology

Candidates interested in a combination of field work and genomic work are especially encouraged to apply.

Responsibilities will include the establishment and monitoring of experiments in the field and under controlled conditions in the lab, collection and analysis of population genetic/genomic, phenotypic and physiological data, and the preparation of manuscripts for publication.  Ability to travel between field sites in Oregon and laboratory in Pennsylvania is required.

In addition to cross training, the project affords opportunities for international travel and training as part of an US-China international research collaboration, and to design and implement additional allied projects tailored to the skills and interests of the postdoc.

The postdoc position is for two years, renewable for additional years.  Start date is negotiable, but June 2015 is preferred.

The project is collaboration among the labs of Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman, Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr. Aaron Liston, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, and Dr. Richard Cronn Us Forest Service at Oregon State University.


Please send a CV and a description of your experience and interests relevant to the position to, along with the names and contact informaion for three referees.  In a covering letter clearly highlight skills and experience related to key responsibilities.  Informal enquiries are also welcome!

Application materials will be reviewed as they are received, until positions are filled.


      Creative minds and passionate biologists please apply! Opportunities always exist for outstanding graduate students who want to do cutting-edge research in a collaborative atmosphere. If your interests fall under the larger umbrella of those currently understudy in the lab we are interested in hearing from you! Students interested in merging ecological studies with molecular and genomic work are especially welcome. Please contact me prior to submitting a formal application to the department by sending your CV and a description of your research interests by e-mail.


      I have a strong tradition of mentoring undergraduate researchers in my lab and several of these have led to published research papers coauthored by the students. Motivated and dedicated undergraduates are encouraged to develop projects of their own through independent study programs (FER, BS1901, BS1903) or fellowship opportunities (e.g. HHMI, Brackenridge, or REU; Pitt Undergrad Research Funding ). For those seeking experience but not quite ready for a project of their own, we often have research assistantship positions where students assist on larger lab projects. Please contact me by e-mail and send your CV, schedule, and a description of the type of opportunity you seek and why.