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Plant and Environmental Sciences

Graduate Research Assistantship Openings

  • Four USDA National Needs Fellowships - Ph.D., Plant Pathology Research

    Position: USDA National Needs Fellowship

    Fellows will earn a Ph.D. degree in Plant and Environmental Sciences, fulfill a residency requirement in one of the Clemson University Research and Education Centers (RECs), complete an Extension leadership training, and gain experience in the University’s Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic. The program includes a core curriculum in plant pathology with focus on translational research and opportunities for teaching. Four students will receive fellowships to form a cohesive cohort with extensive interaction throughout the program. The fellowship award includes tuition, health insurance, an annual stipend of $24,500 for three years and a $2,000 yearly allowance.

    Start Date: August 2022 (Fall semester)

    Location: The students will reside in Clemson, SC for the first semester of the graduate program to fulfill course requirements. Dissertation research will take place at one of the Clemson Research and Education Centers (listed in the adviser descriptions below).

    Optional graduate student housing may be offered on-site at the REC station dependent upon availability and approval.

    Qualifications: Applicants must be US citizens. The fellowship program is available to women and underrepresented minority groups. The candidate should be passionate about research in plant pathology, detail-oriented, and a team player with strong organization and communication skills. An M.S. degree in plant pathology, breeding, genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, or related field is preferred.

    How to apply: Send a single pdf of your CV, unofficial transcripts, and a one-page letter of interest to Dr. Paula Agudelo at pagudel@clemson.edu. Applications must be received by March 1, 2022, for full consideration. In-person interviews will include a tour of the RECs with all fellowship finalists and advisors. Final offers will be made by April 1, 2022.

    Fellowship Advisors:

    Dr. Sandra Branham,  is an Assistant Professor of Vegetable Breeding and Genetics located at Coastal Research and Education Center, Charleston, SC.

    Instagram: branham_breeding; Twitter: @branhambreeding

    The primary goal of Dr. Branham’s research program is the improvement of vegetable crops for production in the Southeastern US. Her focus is on genomics-assisted breeding of vegetable crops through 1) development of genomic resources, 2) exploring the genetic and phenotypic diversity of the USDA germplasm repositories, 3) identifying QTL associated with resistance to heat and disease, 4) developing and testing molecular markers associated with phenotypes of interest, and 5) population development for marker validation, trait introgression and gene pyramiding. The fellowship project will use molecular breeding approaches to develop vegetable varieties with improved resistance to fungal pathogens.

    Dr. Hehe Wang is an Assistant Professor of Plant Bacteriology, located at Edisto Research and Education Center, Blackville, SC.

    Dr. Wang’s lab conducts both basic and applied research to study the epidemiology, ecology, and/or genetics of bacterial pathogens in different crop production systems (e.g. peach, brassica greens, tomato) and develop sustainable and information-driven strategies for disease management. She also studies interactions between different plant pathogens, explore beneficial bacteria for plant health management, and conduct molecular diagnosis for pathogens and pests. The fellowship project will study the mechanisms of bactericide resistance in bacterial pathogens, identify environmental factors that affect pathogen inoculum and population dynamics, and/or develop improved disease management strategies.

    Dr. Joseph Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Pathology and Nematology located at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence, SC.

    Dr. Roberts’ lab works at the interface of fundamental and applied research to better understand pathogenic nematodes, fungi, and bacteria that infect turfgrasses. Current projects are aimed at identifying relationships within the plant, environment and microbiome that translate into sustainable management tools that enhance turfgrass survival. The fellowship project will study nematode diversity and population development in grasses managed in the southeastern U.S.

    Dr. Elizabeth Cieniewicz is an Assistant Professor of Plant Virology, located at the main campus in Clemson, SC and working at the Piedmont REC, particularly at the Musser Fruit Research Center

    Lab Website: Plant Virology at Clemson University 

    Twitter: @ejcieniewicz, 

    Dr. Cieniewicz’s research program is focused on understanding virus disease ecology in several systems including peach, grapevine, and berries. Current projects include pathogen-pathogen interactions and coinfection synergism, virus diversity and ecology at the agro-ecological interface, and understanding the molecular and ecological mechanisms underlying transmission of viruses through pollen. This fellowship project would be focusing on coinfection synergism (virus-virus and/or virus-bacterial interactions) or investigating the risk of transmission from wild alternative hosts of peach viruses.

  • Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship in Soil Biogeochemistry at Clemson University

    Description: Clemson University is seeking a Ph.D. graduate student in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. The position is available starting May (Summer) or August (Fall) 2022. The Ph.D. student will work on a NIFA project to investigate the distribution, transformation, and fate of nitrogen in organic vegetable system, and to estimate their responses to soil health management practices. Microbial communities associated with nitrogen cycling will be studied as well. The research has field, greenhouse, and laboratory components. Working under potentially hot and humid climate condition is expected. Major responsibilities include data collection and analyses, publications in academic journals, and presentations in professional conferences. The assistantship provides competitive stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance.

    Qualification: Applicants must have an M.S. degree in soil sciences, agriculture sciences, or relevant soil disciplines. A strong background in soil nutrients and/or clearly demonstrated laboratory skills is ideal. Applicants with knowledge and skill in stable isotope, soil microbiology, and molecular biology are encouraged to apply. Demonstrated ability in peer-reviewed publications is a plus.

    Application: To apply, please contact Dr. Rongzhong Ye (rongzho@clemson.edu) with your CV, unofficial copy of transcript, GRE and TOEFL scores (if applicable), and contact information for three references. Review of applicants starts immediately and continues until the position is filled.

  • M.S. Graduate Research Assistantship - Dr. Rick Boyles, Cereal Grains Breeding and Genetics

    Position: M.S. Graduate Research Assistant, Cereal Grains Breeding & Genetics

    Program: Cereal Grains Breed and Genetics Program

    Location: Plant & Environmental Sciences Department
    Pee Dee Research & Education Center
    Florence, SC 29506

    The student will reside in Clemson, SC in the first year of the graduate program to fulfill course requirements. Primary field and laboratory research will take place at the Clemson Pee Dee Research & Education Center, which is a 2,300 acre site located in Florence, SC that is positioned in the heart of SC agriculture.

    Job Responsibilities: The student will be working on a thesis topic related to improvement of genomic prediction accuracy to increase the efficiency of the wheat cultivar development program. The student will gain valuable knowledge in conventional plant breeding and will work closely with a postdoctoral researcher to learn computation genomics. Conventional breeding training and experience will consist of field trial research design and management, hands-on breeding activities, and statistical analysis. Publishing results and presenting at national meetings are both expected.

    Qualifications: A B.S. degree in breeding, genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, biology, or related field. Prospective students should have a strong interest in plant breeding and genomics to support cultivar and hybrid development.

    Stipend & Fees: An annual stipend starts at $22,000. Tuition is covered.

    Additional Details: Optional graduate student housing is available on-site at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center upon request and approval. Lodging offsite in or near the Florence area is allowed. City of Florence City of Florences Facebook

    How to Apply: Email Rick Boyles (Ph.D., Assistant Professor) at rboyles@clemson.edu. For full details, visit the Online Graduate Application.

  • Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship - Dr. Buphinder Farma, Soil Fertility

    Position: Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) for a full-time M.S./Ph.D. student is available at Clemson University. Various research projects are available with the focus on soil fertility and nutrient management for Southeastern US crop production systems. Student will have his/her own project to work on and in addition, will assist with other projects. The candidate will present his/her research work as oral presentations and posters at scientific meetings, seminars, and workshops. In addition, the candidate will be required to publish peer-reviewed journal articles.

    Location: Student will complete the coursework on Clemson’s main campus or virtually, but the research will be conducted at Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville, SC, one of Clemson’s off-campus research sites.

    Qualification sought: We are looking for a highly motivated applicant with strong interest in field plot research and enthusiasm to work and interact in an international scientific environment. The applicant should have excellent writing and oral communication skills and the ability to work independently and as a part of a team. Ideal candidate will have prior degree(s) in agriculture or related discipline. Candidate with field and lab research experience in soil chemistry, agronomy, or microbiology will be preferred. The applicant should be a quick learner, have good time management skills, and pay attention to details. Pro-activeness is an asset.

    Application details: Send a single pdf of CV, GRE & TOEFL scores, a summary of relevant experience and career goals, and contact details of three references to Dr. Bhupinder Farmaha. Screening of applicants will start immediately and the search will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. The start date is negotiable but preferred in the Summer/Fall, 2021 semester. The GRA includes tuition waiver, health insurance and an annual stipend.

    Dr. Bhupinder S. Farmaha

    Assistant Professor, Nutrient Management Specialist
    Department of Plant & Environmental Sciences, Clemson University

    Edisto Research & Education Center
    64 Research Road Blackville,
    South Carolina 29817

    bfarmah@clemson.edu

    Soil Fertility

    Candidates will be required to formally apply to and be accepted by the Clemson University Graduate School.

  • Ph.D. position - Dr. Rick Boyles, Cereal Grain Breeding and Genetics

    Position: Breeding & Genetics Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistant

    Program: Cereal Grains Breed and Genetics Program

    Location: Plant & Environmental Sciences Department
    Pee Dee Research & Education Center
    Florence, SC 29506

    The student will reside in Clemson, SC in the first year of the graduate program to fulfill course requirements. Primary field and laboratory research will take place at the Clemson Pee Dee Research & Education Center, which is a 2,300 acre site located in Florence, SC that is positioned in the heart of SC agriculture.

    Job Responsibilities: The student will have flexibility to select a dissertation project of interest within the scope of cereal grains breeding & genetics, preferably working on wheat cultivar development strategies that involve genetic mapping and/or genomic prediction. The student will design and conduct field research trials, assist in seasonal breeding activities, and analyze large phenotypic and genomic datasets. Publishing research results and presenting at national meetings are both required.

    Qualifications: A B.S. degree in breeding and genetics, genomics, computational biology, bioinformatics, or related field. Prospective students should have a strong interest in conducting applied research in breeding and genomics to support cultivar and hybrid development.

    Stipend & Fees: An annual stipend starts at $22,000. Tuition is covered.

    Additional Details: Optional graduate student housing is available on-site at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center upon request and approval. Lodging offsite in or near the Florence area is allowed. City of Florence City of Florences Facebook

    How to Apply: Email Rick Boyles (Ph.D., Assistant Professor) at rboyles@clemson.edu. For full details visit the Online Graduate Application.

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences | 171 Poole Agricultural Center Clemson, SC