The Master’s candidate in Computer or Plant Sciences position is a full-time two- to three-year term. The start date of the position is the spring (May 6) or fall term (Sept. 1) 2020 at the University of Saskatchewan. The Master’s candidate can choose to apply the graduate program at Computer or Plant Sciences.
Salary Information: The M.Sc. candidate will be funded at the rate of $25,000/yr. In addition, the M.Sc. candidate will be encouraged and supported to apply for additional grants.
Primary Purpose: The Global Institute for Food Security is recruiting for a M.Sc. candidate in Computer or Plant Sciences in the Seed and Developmental Biology research group. The incumbent will perform computational and statistical analyses in the frame of a pre-breeding project (Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) program funded research on “Preserving hybrid vigour through a novel apomixis breeding strategy in Brassica crops” (# 20180141)) in order to detect all genetic factors that are fundamental for the expression of the apomixis trait. The Master’s candidate will perform his/her study in the Apomixis Breeding research team in the laboratories of Prof. Dr. Timothy F. Sharbel, GIFS Research Chair in Seed Biology, University of Saskatchewan campus.
Typical Duties/Accountabilities: The incumbent will be part of the Apomixis Breeding team under the direction of the lead postdoctoral fellow/research scientist (Dr. Martin Mau), and overall supervision will be provided by Prof. Dr. Timothy F. Sharbel. The research project aimed to trace the structural transformation of a sexual genome upon the induction of diplosporous apomixis via homoploid hybridization. The M.Sc. candidate will use whole genome sequencing libraries of sexual and synthetic hybrid apomictic parental and established backcrossing lines in plants of the genus Boechera, and will apply genotyping, bioinformatics and statistical analyses to identify maternal and paternal markers and to explore hot spots and patterns of segregation distortion across and within backcrossing lines. The M.Sc. is expected to support the publication of research results in a minimum of one but up to three publications in high impact, peer-reviewed journals as co-author and participate at international conferences. In addition, the M.Sc. candidate will support the generation of a candidate apomixis factor database (CAFD) which will increase the scientific standing and reach of our SDB research group, of GIFS and the UofS. The CAFD will facilitate the functional testing of those novel candidates with the final goal to synthesize a functional apomixis gene cassette for the induction of the apomixis trait in any desired crop plant. The research objectives in brief:
- Localization and dynamics of Segregation Distortion (SD) across several independent back crossing lines
- Identification of all fundamental apomixis factors and establishment of an apomixis candidate factor database
- Dynamics of apomixis factor introgression and apomixis expression in sexual genomes across different back crossing lines and generations
Education and Experience: A Bachelor’s degree in bioinformatics, plant biology or agricultural biology is required. Prior experience or coursework in bioinformatics is a prerequisite. Basic knowledge of quantitative genetics and statistics in breeding are desirable.
Skills: The successful candidate will have the demonstrated ability to work in a team-oriented, multidisciplinary research environment and the desire to solve complex problems. The familiarity with next-generation sequencing data structures, large dataset handling, genome analyses and skills in batch scripting, phyton and R is mandatory. They will possess excellent written and verbal communication skills in the English language, solid skills in statistics, and attention to detail and willingness to learn.
To Apply: Applications will be accepted online only at careers.usask.ca and must include a cover letter and resume and be submitted as a single PDF document.
Inquiries regarding this position can be directed to Megan Paul at