Plant Diagnostician - Washington State University in Pullman Washington

Unfortunately, this job is expired as of 9/11/2015.

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Washington State University

Pullman, Washington

United States


Detailed Job Description

An Associate in Research is sought to manage the Plant Pathology Diagnostic Laboratory (PPDL) on the main campus in Pullman and to serve as the eastern Washington coordinator for plant diagnostic activities and resources for Washington State University. The candidate will utilize serological, molecular, biochemical, and traditional methods to diagnose plant problems for stakeholders in Washington State. The PPDL will be housed administratively in the Department of Plant Pathology ( and will be an integrated component of the Department. The PPDL will also be integrated into the Western Region National Plant Diagnostic Network ( Diagnostician responsibilities include coordination and oversight of all aspects of daily operations of the PPDL in Pullman, including compilation of an annual report that summarizes the PPDL activities. The diagnostician will implement/maintain standard operating procedures and meticulous record keeping, and oversee data entry into the WSU Plant & Pest Diagnostic eNetwork (PPDEN at The diagnostician will prepare professional written responses to stakeholders in a timely manner, describing the diagnoses and providing appropriate management recommendations. The successful candidate is expected to collaborate with research and extension colleagues in cooperating CAHNRS departments as well as extension specialists, state regulatory personnel, county and regional extension faculty, and counterparts at other land-grant institutions in the Pacific Northwest region of the USA, nationally, and internationally. The diagnostician may also collaborate with colleagues on development and evaluation of new diagnostic tools and publish research or extension articles on novel diseases as time and resources permit. The successful candidate will collaborate with the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratory (P&IDL) at the WSU Puyallup REC in western Washington for coordinating and providing leadership for diagnostic facilities, resources, and programs in Washington State. The incumbent will oversee first detector educational training for various stakeholders, and participate in the National Plant Diagnostic Network ( as well as appropriate professional meetings. Coordinator responsibilities include supervision of student help in the PPDL; management of the PPDL budget; development and oversight of the PPDL website and database for plant disease, nematode, insect, and abiotic diagnoses, as well as plant and weed identifications; cooperation with state and federal regulatory personnel, including in an advisory capacity; and coordination of PPDL training sessions for county/regional extension faculty, industry consultants, and state regulatory officials. State-wide travel will be expected, as well as limited national travel. The incumbent must have, or obtain within 4 months of starting this position, a Washington State Department of Agriculture Public Operator’s Pesticide license. The diagnostician will be expected to establish relationships with plant stakeholders in Washington State and manage a fee-based diagnostic program to partially cover diagnostic expenses. The incumbent will contribute guest lectures on plant diagnoses to appropriate courses within the Department of Plant Pathology and collaborating departments in the CAHNRS.

Required Qualifications

An MS degree in plant pathology or a related field with at least two additional years of work experience in plant disease diagnosis. Excellent verbal and written English communication skills. Ability to work effectively in a team as well as individually with minimal supervision to meet the overall goals of the PPDL. Strong organizational skills. Must have, or obtain within 4 months of starting this position, a Washington State Department of Agriculture Public Operator’s Pesticide license.

Preferred Qualifications

Demonstrated experience in a laboratory setting with isolation, identification, and testing pathogenicity of microorganisms associated with plant diseases, as well as publishing disease reports in a timely manner. Experience developing novel diagnostic tools, including molecular detection of plant pathogens using DNA extraction, gel electrophoresis, PCR assays, DNA hybridization, and analyses of DNA sequences using web-based bioinformatics tools. Experience creating nucleic acid primer sequences, and analyzing DNA. Experience in grant writing to procure support for diagnostic projects. Experience in agricultural extension activities, including evidence of professional verbal and written communication skills. Initiative and ability to perform diagnostic operations efficiently and creatively in a manner that furthers the mission of the PPDL. Experience supervising student hourly workers (graduate and undergraduate students) in a diagnostic setting. Demonstrated commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity. Proficiency using common computer software for word processing, data analysis, and graphics for preparing diagnostic reports, annual reports, extension documents, and presentations. Commitment to the U.S. Land Grant University system.

Monthly Salary

Commensurate with qualifications and experience

Additional Information

This is a 12 month, full-time position. Initial appointment is for 1 year, and can be annually renewable dependent upon performance and continued funding. Salary is commensurate with experience and includes medical benefits.

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EDUCATOR AND EMPLOYER. Members of ethnic minorities, women, special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam-era, recently separated veterans, and other protected veterans, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply.

WSU is committed to excellence through diversity and faculty-friendly policy action, including partner accommodation and NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation programs (

WSU employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

WSU is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource Services: 509-335-4521(v), Washington State TDD Relay Service: Voice Callers: 1-800-833-6384; TDD Callers: 1-800-833-6388, 509-335-1259(f), or

Keyword Phrases

  • Plant Pathology
  • Plant Diagnostician
  • statewide system with worldwide reach
  • Discover a great place to work!
  • embracing diversity where everyone can grow!
  • Plant and Soil Science
  • Environmental Science, Ecology & Forestry
  • Other Agriculture
  • Plant Science
Employment Type:Administrative Staff
Degree Required: Not Specified
Experience: See Job Description
Level of Job: See Job Description
Salary: See Job Description
Type of School:Research University
Application Requirements: CV/Resume
Cover Letter