Posted: January 1, 2017

Highly-qualified candidates are invited to apply for PPEM graduate research assistantships that begin Summer or Fall 2017.

2017 Graduate Research Assistantships

Graduate research assistantships are available in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology (PPEM) beginning August 2017 for highly-qualified candidates. Candidates with strong demonstrated intellectual merit, outstanding GPA and GRE test scores, and laboratory research experiences that have led to creative accomplishments are encouraged to APPLY to work with any of our nationally-recognized research programs.

Opportunities including dual-title degrees, formal professional development training, and international research are available as part of these paid assistantships. Both masters and doctoral assistantships are available. APPLY by December 15, 2016, for full funding consideration, although applications are accepted year-round on a rolling deadline.

In addition to the established research programs in PPEM, we have two new, dynamic faculty members joining our department this spring; therefore, we are specifically recruiting talented students to work in these cutting-edge research programs:

The Geiser Lab

Dr. David Geiser is looking for two outstanding Ph.D. students to work on the molecular systematics and taxonomy of Fusarium, beginning in Summer or Fall 2017, at the Fusarium Research Center in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology (PPEM) at Penn State.

The Hockett Lab

The Hockett laboratory is interested in highly-motivated students from diverse backgrounds who have laboratory research experience and training in microbiology (bacteriology), molecular biology, or related fields. Broadly, we seek to recruit students who are excited about combining basic and applied research to understand the factors governing microbial interactions within a phytobiome context and applying this understanding to develop the next generation of phytopathogen control strategies. In particular, candidates with interests in combining 'omics approaches (transcriptomics, metagenomics, genomics), cell sorting, and molecular microbial genetics will be strongly considered. Additionally, we aim to recruit students eager to engage with members of the surrounding area, including local schools, growers, and community groups to communicate our passion for science and the constructive role it plays within agriculture and our broader society.

The Bell Lab

The Bell laboratory seeks students with an interest in combining emerging genomic tools (e.g., high-throughput sequencing) with other approaches in microbiology, ecology, and soil science in order to better understand plant-microbiome relationships. Projects will focus on how the manipulation of microbiomes can influence plant growth and microbial recruitment. The Bell lab will focus on two axes of microbiome manipulation, which are:

  1. Unintentional microbiome manipulation as a result of human activities (e.g., salinization of agricultural soils);
  2. Purposeful microbiome manipulation (e.g., current and experimental methods for bioinoculant additions).

Students ideally will have a strong background in at least one of the following areas:

    • ecology/evolution
    • soil science
    • molecular biology
    • plant-microbe interactions

In the Bell lab, students will be asked to learn a variety of computational tools and approaches, but prior experience in computer science is nonessential. Students should be strongly grounded in biology and learn computational methods as required.

Contact Information

Beth K. Gugino, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Dean for Graduate Education