Job Opportunities


Job Summary

Indiana has a diverse vegetable industry, is 2nd in the US for processing tomato production, and 5th to 6th in cantaloupe and watermelon production in most years. Most of this production occurs close to Vincennes, IN.  Diversified vegetable production has increased greatly over the past several years and has expanded into new crops. There is increasing interest to manage disease problems while improving productivity and sustainability for growers.  

The incumbent is responsible for vegetable pathology Extension and applied research across Indiana. Extension programming includes direct interaction with growers through farm visits, walk-ins at the research station, answering phone calls/emails and presentations to grower groups, including contributions to the Indiana Horticulture Conference and Expo and the Indiana Small Farm Conference.  Diagnostic activities conducted at the laboratory at the Southwest Purdue Ag Center are coordinated with the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Lab located on the Purdue main campus in West Lafayette.  Publications include Purdue Extension bulletins and contributing to regional publications such as the annual Midwest Vegetable Production Guide. Applied research to inform the candidate’s Extension work includes field and greenhouse trials for cultivar evaluation, fungicide efficacy, basic etiology of pathogens and their epidemiology.

 This position is located at the Southwest Purdue Ag Center located just north of Vincennes, IN. Facilities include 220 acres of land (including organic certified), several warm season greenhouses, 3 high tunnels, a research greenhouse with heat and evaporative cooling, and laboratory facilities (e.g., growth chamber, microscopy, autoclaves, etc.).


Qualified candidates must have a Ph.D. in plant pathology or a closely related field, a record of scholarly publications, and strong communication skills. Preference will be given to candidates who have either significant training or experience in the different aspects of plant pathology and interactions with growers, and demonstrated collaborations across academic disciplines and with industry.

 Application Instructions

Interested applicants must submit an application packet that include separate statements on research interests, Extension philosophy, and diversity/inclusion, as well as a complete curriculum vitae that includes a summary of academic and other professional experiences, and the names and contact information for four references. Purdue University, the College of Agriculture, and the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology are committed to free and open inquiry in all matters. Candidates are encouraged, but not required, to address in their cover letter how they are prepared to contribute to a climate that values free inquiry and academic freedom. All materials must be combined into one pdf and submitted electronically via this site – Review of applications will begin on October 16, 2023, and continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Address questions to the chair of the search committee, Dr. Janna Beckerman ( A background check will be required for employment in this position.

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job summary

The Purdue University Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory works to diagnose plant diseases and identify insects, plants and weeds and other plant and pest problems. This service is provided for the specialists and county extension educators of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service and Purdue University's research faculty, staff, and students as well as for private businesses and citizens of Indiana. This position supports the work of the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory within the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology with a combination of laboratory and clerical/administrative duties.

This position performs laboratory work, including plant pathogen isolation, media preparation, conducting ELISA tests, DNA/RNA extraction, PCR testing and keeping lab safety information updated. This position will also be responsible for clerical/administrative work, including email, spreadsheets, data entry, covering phone calls, ordering supplies, taking photos of samples and responding to questions from the public.

What We're Looking For:

Bachelor's degree in biological science area
2 years of experience in laboratory work
Equivalent combinations of education and experience will be considered (Associate's + 4 years; HS diploma/GED + 6 years)
DNA/RNA extraction, PCR, real-time PCR, Pathogen isolation, media preparation skills

Nice to Have:

Experience working with databases, spreadsheets and Microsoft software

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Job Summary

The Research Technician is a highly motivated, fully competent and productive individual contributor that will serve in the lab of Dr. Janna Beckerman – Extension plant pathology of specialty crops. This is an applied research position that entails work in both the field and laboratory, with a diversity of cropping system (fruit, ornamentals, etc.). You will be responsible for routine maintenance of plants and fungal cultures, general laboratory support and management, and assisting graduate and undergraduate students. Additional duties will include: 

  • Contributing to ongoing lab projects which may include manipulating, computing and/or analyzing data
  • In field, shade house, greenhouse and growth chamber
  • Transplanting, watering and monitoring plant growth; infection and evaluation of disease; fungicide trials
  • Recording accurate data and observations
  • 4Lab organization and maintenance (inventory, orders, dishware, prepare solutions and reagents)
  • Training and supporting of undergraduate or graduate students
  • Following and enforcing basic safety and cleaning protocols
  • Data entry and basic statistical analysis

What We're Looking For:

  • Bachelor's degree in horticulture, agronomy, biology or related field
  • Desire and ability to work with other lab members are essential
  • Consideration will be given to an equivalent combination of related education and required work experience. (Associate's + 2 years of related experience; HS/GED + 4 years of related experience)
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to multitask and be flexible to accomplish daily tasks as needs arise
  • Ability to work independently under minimal supervision once trained

Nice to Have:

  • Prior laboratory experiences, especially with plant growth, field trials, pesticide applications
  • Data analysis experience


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The Department

The Department of Botany and Plant Pathology has a diverse and creative faculty that conducts research in weed science, plant pathology, and plant biology. The department is part of a dynamic research community of scientists in the College of Agriculture and across the university, including SWPAC. The department is primarily located in Lilly Hall on the Purdue main campus in West Lafayette, with research labs, instructional spaces and teaching labs, greenhouse complex, and plant growth facilities.

 The College

The Department is an integral part of the College of Agriculture, one of the world’s leading colleges of agricultural, food, life, and natural resource sciences and ranked fifth in the world in the 2023 QS World University Rankings. The College is deeply committed to the three land-grant missions (teaching, research, and extension), to international activities and perspectives that span all missions, and to excellence in all we do. The College has 11 academic departments and includes 302 faculty, 2823 undergraduate students, and 689 graduate students. The College’s current strategic plan can be accessed at Strategic Plan (