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USDA-ARS Research Tech Fellowship

ARS Office/Lab and LocationA research opportunity in molecular biology is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), within the Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research Unit at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) located in Peoria, Illinois.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency with a mission to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS will deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture. The vision of the agency is to provide global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence.

Research Project: The participant will join a team to conduct research in characterization of plant-fungal interaction and identification of important genes that will be used to develop novel methods to reduce mycotoxin contamination and Fusarium head blight (FHB) in wheat. 

Learning Objectives: The learning objectives for this opportunity include training in a variety of molecular biology techniques such as DNA and RNA isolation, PCR and real time PCR, fungal mutant generation and plant disease evaluation. The selected individual will be directly involved in growing fungal pathogen, generating fungal mutants, growing plants and performing disease evaluation, collecting samples and conducting molecular analysis. 

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

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: November 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 renewed 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 only.

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 be currently pursuing or have received a bachelor's or master's degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Plant Pathology, Biological Sciences, Molecular Biology).

Preferred skills:

  • Knowledge of molecular biology as well as lab experience with basic molecular techniques such as DNA isolation, PCR reaction and cloning.
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills, ability to communicate effectively in English, and ability to work independently and in a team environment.