Assistant Plant Pathologist


Salinas, CA


Quality Assurance

JOB SUMMARY: Under direction of the Plant Pathologist, initiate, coordinate, and lead existing and new projects in the development and implementation of disease screening protocols and pathogen isolate characterization to develop disease resistant vegetable varieties. Assist Plant Pathologist in evaluating cultivar disease reactions and provide documentation supporting confirmation of resistance claims. Responsible for providing technical and non-technical assistance to the Plant Pathologist. Assist in other pathology activities and collaborate with other departments requested.


  • Assist with or independently conduct disease resistance screens in greenhouse/growth chamber, laboratory and field conditions, and pathogen characterization as assigned by the Plant Pathologist.
  • Participate in the scheduling of disease screens, evaluation of routine disease screens, interpretation and recording/entry of data. Participate in the evaluation of cultivar reaction to diseases for the development of information necessary for product development and sales.
  • Independently perform day-to-day technical activities in greenhouse and growth chambers, including sowing, growing, watering and fertilization of plants, pest/disease control, and maintenance and housekeeping of these facilities.
  • Participate in the development of protocols, validate and troubleshoot protocols for new and existing disease resistance screens, and microbiological methods.
  • Participate in the Maintenance of pathogen collections, race-differential germplasm collection and breeder-support databases.
  • Develop and maintain professional partnerships with academia pathologists and other plant scientists outside of the company.
  • Adhere to all SAH and government safety regulations and procedures.
  • Supervise and/or train technicians, trainees, labor crews, and others as delegated by supervisor ensuring the safety protocols are followed by all non-pathology staff working in the department.
  • Other duties and responsibilities as assigned.


  • Basic knowledge of plant sciences, agronomy, microbiology, genetics, molecular biology, statistics.
  • Ability to develop excellent laboratory skills/knowledge in microbiology and plant care.
  • Ability to do routine and repetitive work in a greenhouse/field or at a laboratory bench for several hours.
  • Accuracy, efficiency, good dexterity and visual acuity are critical.
  • Ability to quickly adapt and be receptive to changing work demands, techniques, and/or approaches.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment.
  • Good oral and written communication, and organizational skills.
  • Competency in data management and use of computer applications.
  • Willingness to take on a wide variety of tasks and duties.
  • Ability to handle stress especially when encountering necessary projects, deadlines and/or high workload.
  • Must be able to work under strict time constraints and requirements.


  • Bachelor’s degree in biology/microbiology, agronomy, or related field, with 3-5 years work experience or Master’s degree in Plant Pathology or related field.
  • Experience in laboratory and/or greenhouse/field work desirable.


  • Must be willing to work overtime hours, including some weekends and holidays, as requested.
  • Must be able to work with chemicals, pesticides and other irritating substances.
  • Must be able to wear protective equipment when necessary and/or required (e.g., lab coat, gloves, respirator).
  • Must be able to stand or sit for several hours at a time (up to 70% of time).
  •  Must be able to do some lifting of lightweight items (50 lbs).

*To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty (as described above) satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

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