Category: PhD Position

Fungal genetics PhD position at University of Minnesota (Zhang Lab)

University and Department: Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota

Location: Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN

Job Category: PhD Student

Last date to apply: September 30, 2022



Zhang’s Lab is recruiting PhD students at the department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at University of Minnesota ( Students who are interested in working on fungal systems biology and gene-editing are welcome to apply in this coming fall in the year of 2022 and 2023 spring. The students will join Dr. Zhang’s team to work with wood decay fungi to understand and harness their basic molecular mechanisms used for wood decomposition (see the lab intro at the bottom).

Applicants should finish the undergraduate program before starting graduate school, with a GPA record of more than 3.5 and with backgrounds/interests in molecular biology, fungal biology, or related fields. Publication records will be preferred, but not necessary. Applicants can submit application materials to Dr. Zhang ( and our Student and Program Support Officer Erik Joerres ( in the department, or contact Erik to acquire the specific procedure for application.

PhD position at Middle Tennesee State University (Walker Lab)

University: Middle Tennessee State University

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

Job Category: Graduate Research Assistantship (PhD)

Salary: $30,000/year plus tuition remission

Start date: January 18, 2022

Last date to apply: December 18, 2021



The Microbiome Ecology Lab at Middle Tennessee State University is seeking an outstanding PhD student beginning January 2022 in the Molecular Biosciences program. Research expertise in the Microbiome Ecology Lab is in the areas of molecular evolution and molecular ecology of microorganisms with an emphasis on pathogenic fungi of animals. We use a variety of molecular and microbiological techniques to understand host-microbiome-pathogen associations and the synergistic to antagonistic interactions within these systems. Emerging infectious fungal pathogens are threatening wildlife species world-wide, therefore, we are interested in answering questions that inform management of species of greatest conservation need in the southeastern US. 

Understanding the biodiversity and function of microbes that are present in the digestive tracts of reptiles and amphibians is critical for insight into their role in host health. The PhD student’s project will focus on the filamentous fungus Basidiobolus as an important member of reptile and amphibian gut microbiomes. Preliminary evidence suggests that this fungus influences what types of bacteria are present in the digestive tract. Genomic sequencing of the Basidiobolus fungus shows that genes have been transferred to the fungus from the gut bacteria. This transfer of genes between bacteria and fungi results in novel metabolism in the fungus that we propose plays important roles in regulating the reptile/amphibian host’s immune system, iron metabolism, and chemical communication with the gut bacteria. An interdisciplinary scientific approach will be used to understand the functional roles that specialized metabolites play in microbial interactions between fungi and bacteria in gut microbiomes of animals and also other natural microbiomes. The PhD student will have the opportunity to participate in field and outreach activities with zoos and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Interdisciplinary training of the PhD student will occur with Dr. Jason Stajich at University of California, Riverside and Drs. Joey Spatafora and Kerry McPhail at Oregon State University.  

To apply: Submit a single pdf that includes a cover letter summarizing your qualifications and interest in the position, followed by CV, unofficial transcripts and GRE scores (if available), and contact information for three references to Dr. Donny Walker (


  • MSc in community ecology, microbiology, molecular biology, microbial ecology, wildlife disease or a closely related field.
  • Excellent quantitative skills and substantial experience in R.
  • Ability to perform field work.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills including a demonstrated ability to publish in peer-reviewed journals. 
  • Motivated with an excellent work ethic.

Contact person: Donny Walker

Contact email:

Graduate Student at Whitman Lab

The Whitman Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are recruiting a new graduate student (MS or PhD) to join their Soil Ecology lab starting as soon as summer or fall of 2021!

“Students will work with Dr. Thea Whitman as an advisor to develop a project investigating the effects of wildfires on soil microbial ecology and organic matter biogeochemistry. The ideal candidates would have a strong interest in soil ecology and experience in at least some of the following: field or laboratory research, microbiology, soil science, biogeochemistry, ecology, statistical analyses, or bioinformatics (Python or R).

Students will be enrolled in the Soil Science graduate research program (or can potentially be advised through Plant Pathology, the Microbiology Doctoral Training Program, Agroecology, Environment and Resources, or Environmental Chemistry and Technology) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the position will be a 50% Research Assistantship that will include a stipend of $2,068/month. Health care benefits are included in the appointment. UW- Madison has a strong culture of collaboration across fields, and the selected graduate students will interact with researchers from diverse fields, including microbiology, geography, forest ecology, agronomy, and environmental studies.

Applications should be submitted to by February 26, 2021, and include a letter describing your interest in the position, a CV, a record of grades (e.g., copy of transcript), and the name and contact information for three references. Successful applicants will need to apply to the Soil Science graduate program through the UW Madison graduate school and be accepted (requires TOEFL scores (if applicable), official transcripts, and letters of recommendation; does not require GRE scores).”

Check Dr. Whitman’s lab website for more info!

PhD Fellowships Plant Pathology at Purdue University

The Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue has a new PhD training program in Quantitative Plant Pathology (QP3), funded by the USDA and Purdue Research Foundation. QP3 provides funding for students to earn their PhDs in one of 13 plant pathology labs at Purdue: We are searching for talented students who are eager to make a difference through plant pathology.

Plant pathogens cause over $75 billion in crop loss worldwide and threaten to further impact food supply as climate variability and agricultural intensification worsen.  Plant pathologists need skills to analyze big data, develop epidemiological models, or develop models of plant-pathogen interactions on a cellular and molecular scale. The QP3 program will comprehensively train the next generation of plant pathologists in basic studies of molecular plant-microbe interactions as well as applied areas in disease diagnosis, epidemiology and disease management.

First semester students work in three different plant pathology labs to gain experience prior to choosing the laboratory in which to do their PhD. Students can take coursework across a range of plant pathology and quantitative biology courses and participate in a peer-mentoring program. In addition to scientific training, QP3 provides leadership and internship opportunities to prepare students for a variety of scientific careers. With a range of plant pathology faculty and unique imaging and diagnostic resources, Purdue University is uniquely positioned to offer this innovative doctoral training program.

To be eligible, applicants must have:

1.    Undergraduate GPA higher than 3.0

2.    Experience in plant pathology or plant biology (lab, field, academic or industry)

3.    Letter of recommendation from advisor of plant pathology/biology experience

4.    Not previously enrolled in BTNY graduate program at Purdue

The application deadline for QP3 is Dec. 15. Applicants apply to the BPP department through the Purdue Graduate School:, and list ‘plant pathology’ as their area of interest.

Questions can be directed to Dr. Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi,

Diversity Advancement Graduate Assistantship

BPP Diversity Advancement Graduate Assistantship 

Oregon State University – Department of Botany and Plant Pathology

“The Department of Botany and Plant Pathology (BPP) is pleased to invite applicants for the BPP Diversity Advancement Graduate Assistantship. BPP provides funding for a graduate assistantship to increase the ethnic and cultural diversity in plant sciences, to promote diversification of the academic environment in BPP and OSU, and to prepare students for their future careers in academics and industry. This assistantship is intended to create opportunities that enhance the inclusion of graduate students from nontraditional backgrounds who have expressed interests in a career in the plant sciences.”

Check information about qualifications, assistantship details, application requirements and deadlines at

For more information contact the BPP Graduate Studies Committee at 541-737-5362 or Bruce McCone at

Grad Student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Dr. Stephanie Kivlin

University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Dr. Kivlin is an Assistant Professor and a microbial and ecosystem ecologist at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is currently recruiting graduate students for Fall 2021. Her current research interests include (1) altitudinal gradients in fungal phytobiomes and resulting consequences on plant fitness and soil carbon storage, (2) the role of fungi and bacteria in above- and belowground ecosystem response to disturbance in the nearby Smoky Mountains, and (3) global patterns of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal distributions and diversity (her website).

Feel free to check her website and contact her to discuss about fungi, biogeography and global change before the Dec 1st (deadline to apply for the program).

Grad Student at NC A&T

Dr. Omoanghe Isikhuemhen 

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Dr. Omoanghe is at a LandGrant University in North Carolina ( and is in the College of Agriculture. His background is in mycology, and his research is in the area of applied mycology. He is seeking graduate students for MSc now or PhD students (our PhD program is scheduled to come on in Fall 2021). The area of interest is Mushroom Science and Biotechnology. Specific research areas could be in truffle biology and cultivation; Mushrooms for food and feed; Plant pathology in emerging crops. Assistantship of up to 24k per year is available. The tuition waiver is difficult, but it is available sometimes.

Check out this cool story Made in Greensboro wrote about him and his research at NCAT:

if you are interested, please reach out to Dr. Omoanghe at

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