King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Postdoctoral Fellowships in Crop Breeding and Genomics for Neo-domestication

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The lab of Professor Jesse Poland in the Center for Desert Agriculture ( at KAUST has openings for postdoctoral fellowships in applied genomics for crop improvement and neo-domestication of new species for saline and extreme environments.  These positions are focused on utilizing the latest genomics tools, including extensive whole genome sequencing resources to understand the basis of adaptive traits and agronomic performance with application of genomics to breeding and crop improvement.  The position(s) are fully funded (2-3 years) including salary and benefits, with possibility for extension, as well as generous project funding for the research.

The Plant Breeding and Genomics group at KAUST offers an excellent interdisciplinary environment utilizing state-of-the-art genomic technologies, while working across multinational teams.  The specific projects for which we seek postdoctoral fellows will be focused on novel species with potential for neo-domestication.  These projects include, but are not limited to:

  1. genomics and breeding of halophyte such as saltgrass (Distichlis spp.) and Salicornia spp. with focus on genomic characterization, understanding population structure, development of molecular information with trait association and genomic prediction models to assist with selection of superior germplasm
  2. genomics and breeding for CAM species such as pitaya / dragon fruit (Hylocereus and Selenicereus spp.) and tuna / prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) for improvement as new crops with high water use efficiency to address the challenge of sustainable agriculture in hotter, dryer and more extreme environments
  3. phenotypic and genomic evaluation of halophyte grass species for forage production in the tropics such as Sporobolus spp.

The Poland Lab and CDA are embedded in BESE division (, which extends and supports a multi-disciplinary work environment.  Extensive core laboratories ( at KAUST also provide access to the most recent equipment such as imaging, sequencing, and single-cell genomics.

We seek highly motivated individuals that are energetic, determined, well-organized, self-motivated, and independent.  Successful candidates will have a well-developed ability and the appropriate temperament to work collaboratively within a multidisciplinary team.  We value critical thinking, open-mined scientists that can creatively solve scientific problems, and have a strong work ethic, integrity, and professionalism.

Other information: The starting date is flexible. Please indicate your availability. The position is initially limited to 3 years but can be extended.

Please submit your application documents in full (cover letter, CV, certificates, publication list, references, etc.) online by using Interfolio. Only applications through Interfolio will be considered.

For full consideration, please submit application by November 30th, 2022.  Positions remain open until filled.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, on the Red Sea coastal area of Thuwal, is an international graduate-level research university dedicated to inspiring a new age of scientific achievement that will benefit the region and the world. As an independent and merit-based institution and one of the best-endowed universities in the world, KAUST is becoming a major new contributor to the global network of collaborative research. It will enable researchers from around the globe to work together to solve challenging scientific and technological problems. The admission of students, the appointment, promotion and retention of faculty and staff and all the educational, administrative and other activities of the University shall be conducted on the basis of equality, without regard to race, color, religion or gender. Further information can be found at

  • Ph.D. and experience in a relevant discipline area including plant breeding and genomics, bioinformatics, computational biology, or related field.
  • Creative and self-motivated personality with interest in fundamental and applied science to address grand challenges in agriculture.
  • Experience with genomics, population genetics, breeding methodology, whole-genome prediction and genomic selection.
  • Bioinformatics programming experience using high-performance computing.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills combined with good interpersonal skills for international teamwork.
  • Excellent communication skills in English.
  • High-level written and oral communication with the ability to represent the research team at national and international conferences.
  • A record of publications in quality, peer reviewed journals.

Applications should include:

  • Single-page cover letter
  • CV including list of publications
  • Copy of official academic transcripts
  • List of references: name, e-mail address, and telephone number for at least three references

Informatie over de vacature

Postdoctoral Fellowships in Crop Breeding and Genomics for Neo-domestication
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Thuwal, Saudi-Arabië
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