Faculty/Staff positions

For faculty and staff positions please visit careers.usask.ca.

Research/Graduate Student positions

Position Summary

Drs. Anas El-Aneed (Pharmacy), Lipu Wang and Randy Kutcher (Agriculture) are looking for a Ph.D. student to conduct analytical research examining mycotoxins within wheat crops that may impact grain quality and marketability as well as the health and safety of animals and humans. The mycotoxins are produced by multiple Fusarium spp. (fungi) causing Fusarium head blight (FHB) a destructive disease of small grain cereal crops.

A common Fusarium-produced mycotoxin found in North America is deoxynivalenol (DON); however, mounting evidence suggests that there are many DON-related structures, which are being discovered and characterized. The main goal for the Ph.D. student is to develop targeted analytical methods to detect and measure DON-derivatives that have authentic standards. In addition, a screening method should be established for DON-derivatives that do not have authentic standards.

The successful applicant will conduct their research within the laboratory of Dr. El-Aneed with an expected start date of September 2024.


  • MSc degree in life sciences, such as chemistry, biochemistry, agriculture or relevant sciences (received in the past 3 years) or undergraduate degrees with at least 3 years relevant work experience.
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication skills.

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant work experience
  • Scientific presentations and publications
  • A cumulative weighted average of at least 80%
  • Interpersonal and leadership skills
  • Eligibility for tri-council funding in Canada

Formal requirements

The successful applicant will enroll as a PhD student in Plant Science at the University of Saskatchewan according to the rules stipulated in the guidelines for the Graduate Program at the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Financial Support:

The candidate will be provided with a stipend and will be expected to apply for internal and external scholarships.

How to Apply

Candidates must submit one single application document (pdf file) that includes (1) a cover letter, (2) a complete curriculum vitae (CV), (3) a copy of transcripts, (3) language proficiency test results if applicable, and (4) contact information for two academic/professional references.

Submit your application to Dr. El-Aneed: anas.el-aneed@usask.ca. Review of applications will begin immediately; however, applications will be accepted and evaluated until May 31, 2024. We thank all applicants for their interest; only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

We are looking for one PhD student interested in how biodiversity influences grassland carbon stocks. This position will be co-supervised between Dr. Hongjie Zhang at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Swift Current Research and Development Center (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hongjie-Zhang-2 ) and Dr. Jon Bennett at the University of Saskatchewan (https://research-groups.usask.ca/bennett-lab/).

Time will be split between AAFC in Swift Current and the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, SK. The successful individual will join a set of highly collaborative and well-funded projects on grassland ecology and identifying management interventions that can enhance grassland ecosystem services, including carbon storage. This PhD position will take advantage of multiple ongoing large-scale surveys and experiments to explore how changes in grassland biodiversity at multiple trophic levels affects organic, inorganic and total carbon stocks via temperature-dependent combustion on a brand new SoliTOC autoanalyzer.

There will be considerable opportunity to collaborate with researchers across an array of fields (ecology, plant breeding, soil science, entomology, and artificial intelligence), and to integrate data generated by other groups into wholistic analyses. While there are defined deliverables for these projects, student positions can be shaped to some extent by the interests of the successful applicant. We are looking for individuals who excel in both team environments and independent roles. Strong oral and written communication skills are essential.

We would like to fill this position as soon as possible but start dates as late as January 2025 will be considered.

Minimum qualifications:

  • Master’s degree, or equivalent, from a recognized university in a relevant academic discipline such as environmental science, soil science and so on.
  • Language Proficiency Requirements: Proof of English proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English. A minimum overall TOEFL score of 86 is required with a minimum score of 20 in each area, or a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.5 in each area.
  • A cumulative weighted average of at least a 70% (USask grade system equivalent) in the last two years of study (i.e. coursework required in master’s program)


Minimum of four years of funding at $29,000/year

To Apply:

Interested candidates must submit the following documents electronically to bahati.chisala-nyekanyeka@usask.ca

  • A cover letter outlining past research experience and career goals
  • An updated curriculum vitae
  • A copy of your undergraduate/graduate transcripts
  • Contact information for two individuals willing to provide reference letters

Project description: We are looking for a highly motivated candidate to work on a project aiming to initiate whole genome sequencing of the perennial legume, cicer milkvetch. The successful candidate will be required to work effectively as a team member in the context of lab, greenhouse, and computer-based work, and will carry out research involving plant tissue harvesting, DNA, RNA extraction, library preparation for sequencing and bioinformatics related to whole genome assembly, annotation, comparative genomics and database creation.

Qualifications: Applicants should have a M.Sc. in the areas of molecular biology, plant genetics/genomics, and bioinformatics or a related field. Ideally, the successful candidate will have experience with molecular biology techniques and the bioinformatic analysis of ‘omics data. Excellent organizational, written and verbal communication skills and the ability to collaborate with others are essential. Candidates must pass the minimum requirements for admission into the Ph.D program at the University of Saskatchewan (https://grad.usask.ca/admissions/admission-requirements.php#Minimumadmissionrequirements )

Funding: Includes an annual stipend of approximately $27,000 (CAN)/year for three years, travel to conferences (if applicable) and research costs. Students may also apply for a number of departmental and university scholarships.

Location: The student will conduct genomic research at Dr. Bill Biligetu’s lab at the Crop Development Center and Dr. Andrew Sharpe’s lab at the Global Institute for Food Security at the University of Saskatchewan.     

How to Apply: Interested students should submit an updated resume to Dr. Bill Biligetu at Bill.Biligetu@usask.ca.

Start date: September, 2024 or earlier.

This position is a joint opportunity with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon Research and Development Centre and Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences, University of Saskatchewan.

Conventional canola oil and the high oleic (HO) specialty oils are high quality vegetable oils very well suited for human consumption, food preparation and biofuel production. They offer the lowest saturated fatty acid content of any commodity oil with total saturate levels ranging from 7% to as low as 4.5% in some “Low Sat HO” varieties. The undesirable very-long-chain fatty acid (VLCFA) erucic acid has been reduce to essentially zero. With these attractive characteristics it is tempting to think that there is nothing more to be done to improve this oil. A close look at seed oil fatty acid composition, and consideration of the limited genetic diversity behind the oil improvement traits suggests that there is opportunity for some additional improvement.

The project will focus on the characterization of an induced diversity population of canola quality Brassica napus (EMS mutagenesis) to identify lines with improved oil composition and content. Targets of particular interest are reduced saturated fatty acid levels and modified seed lipase expression. Both forward and reverse genetic approaches will be applied. The genetic basis of traits of interest will be investigated to identify new resources for canola improvement. The student will be trained in the chemical analysis of seed lipids for plant phenotyping and will learn and apply a range of molecular biology techniques. Working with canola plants in greenhouse and field conditions will be required and meticulous attention to detail will be expected. The student will be given opportunities to attend scientific conferences and publish their work.

The M.Sc. student will be appointed through the Government of Canada Research Affiliate Program (Search: Gov Canada Research Affiliate Program) and will need to set up a GC Jobs account. The student will be paid a stipend at a level determined by Government of Canada rates and will be encouraged to apply for scholarship opportunities.

Interested students should contact Dr Mark Smith at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for further details (Mark.Smith2@agr.gc.ca).  The start date for the position is expected to be May 2024.

MSc in SWINE NUTRITION (Precision Feeding)

The Prairie Swine Centre, Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan is seeking passionate, bright, and highly motivated individuals interested in a fully-funded position as an MSc graduate student in the disciplines of swine nutrition – precision feeding. The successful candidates will join a strong, multidisciplinary academic and research team with expertise in non-ruminant nutrition, feed processing, management, welfare, metabolism, and physiology. The anticipated start date is January 2024.

The successful candidates will lead and assist with projects involving both classical swine nutrition (e.g., growth performance, nutrient utilization) and advanced (e.g., immune status) techniques.  Our current nutrition research program is focused on the impact of early-life nutrition on growth, impact of nutrition on health, and factors affecting nutrient requirements and utilization.  The successful candidate’s research program will focus on:

Application of precision feeding techniques using blend-feeding technology

Qualifications: The desire and ability to lead research projects and work within a team of other highly motivated individuals are of critical importance to this position.

All applicants will be required to meet criteria for acceptance as a graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan as outlined by the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements before applying.

A vehicle and driver’s licence is required. For international applicants, ability to obtain the necessary documents for travel and work in Canada will be required upon offer of admission.

Candidates must hold, or will have completed, a BSc in a related discipline such as animal science, animal physiology, nutrition, or veterinary science. Previous experience with livestock, especially swine, and knowledge of nutrition, nutrient utilization, and feed formulation will be considered an asset.

Information on graduate studies in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science, including stipend levels, can be found at https://agbio.usask.ca/students/graduate/ansc-handbook-2021.pdf

Prairie Swine Centre (www.prairieswine.com) is a non-profit swine production research corporation affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan and located 10 km southeast of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It offers nationally and internationally recognized research programs in nutrition, ethology, and engineering with knowledge transfer and education directed towards the efficiency and sustainability of pork production.

The University of Saskatchewan (www.usask.ca) is located in Saskatoon, a city with a diverse and thriving economic base, a vibrant arts community and a full range of leisure opportunities. The Department of Animal and Poultry Science is well-recognized nationally and internationally as a research-intensive department. The department’s highly-trained and enthusiastic faculty members and adjunct professors have extensive, high-quality applied and basic research programs that cover a wide range of topics in animal science and related areas.

The Prairie Swine Centre and University of Saskatchewan believe equity, diversity, and inclusion strengthen the community and enhance excellence, innovation and creativity. We are dedicated to recruiting individuals who will enrich our work and learning environments. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. We are committed to providing accommodations to those with a disability or medical necessity. If you require an accommodation in order to participate in the recruitment process, please notify us and we will work together on the accommodation request.

For more information or to apply please contact Dr. Dan Columbus. Interested candidates are asked to include in their application package a cover letter including their career interests, their curriculum vitae, and copies of transcripts.  Screening of candidates will continue until the positions are filled.  Only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted. 

Dr. Dan Columbus

Email: dan.columbus@usask.ca

PhD Student Position Now Available to Study Occupational Health in Agricultural Machinery Operators

Join an interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Dr Stephan Milosavljevic (Faculty, Primary Supervisor) and Dr Dena Burnett (Post-Doc, Co-supervisor) with the School of Rehabilitation Science at the University of Saskatchewan. In conjunction with the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, this highly practical team offers personalized mentorship and the opportunity to work both in-field and in-lab with agricultural producers in the field of occupational health. We currently have an opening for one PhD student to study the effect of noise and whole-body vibration exposure on the health of agricultural machinery operators through smart device app validation, in-field data collection, participant interviews and focus groups, statistical modeling, and knowledge translation.

Farm machinery operation is one of the most dangerous occupations in Canada. During daily tasks, machinery operators are exposed to high levels of occupational whole-body vibration and noise often exceeding safe occupational exposure limits, and contributing to the risk of equipment-related injuries, collisions, accidents and possibly death. Negative health effects related to vibration and noise exposure include low back and musculoskeletal pain, cognitive impairment, loss of concentration and reaction time, and disturbances to balance and body awareness. These health deficiencies, and associated injuries and accidents, may be preventable if operators have accessible tools to measure and monitor exposure levels, as well as practical evidence-based in-field strategies to aid in reducing these exposures. The overall aim of our work is to develop practical, evidence-based, feasible, and producer-demonstrated strategies to reduce the negative health effects of on-farm vibration and noise exposure related to agricultural machinery use.

The applicant should have a Master’s Degree in Physiotherapy, Health Sciences, Community Health and Epidemiology, Public Health, Agriculture, Biological or Biomedical Engineering, Kinesiology, or a related field. Familiarity in research in one or more of the following areas will be considered as assets: occupational health, ergonomics, health exposure risk assessment, rehabilitation science, industrial health and safety, and mixed-methods analysis. Knowledge of data analysis and interpretation using statistical software is required. This project will involve on-farm and in-field data collection; although not required, a farming or agricultural background will be considered a strong asset. The successful applicant will also require a Class 5 Saskatchewan Driver’s License (or equivalent), either currently obtained or in the process of obtaining upon position start.

The applicant should be independent, self-motivated, and will be expected to be able to perform tasks with minimal to modest supervision after receiving appropriate training. Applicants must be detail oriented, possess strong organizational and interpersonal skills, and be understanding of the flexibility and pragmatism required to implement methodological modifications during in-field data collection where necessary. Successful applicants will be expected to apply for external funding opportunities. Anticipated start would be either September 2023 or January 2024.

Applicants should send the following documents to Dr Stephan Milosavljevic, stephan.milosavljevic@usask.ca:

  • Current CV with list of publications and research experience,
  • Transcripts (unofficial accepted),
  • Contact information for 2 references, one of whom should be a previous research supervisor,
  • Short statement of how your interests and career goals may be a match for this position.

Applicants are required to apply and be admitted to the Health Sciences graduate program at the University of Saskatchewan to fill the position. Candidates whose first language is not English may be required to provide a certificate of English proficiency. Admission requirements can be found on the CGPS website (https://cgps.usask.ca/).

The University of Saskatchewan has acquired funding to support eight West African and two Canadian Early Career Researcher (ECR) / Postdoctoral Fellow (PDF) / PhD scholars (at dissertation stage) for an interdisciplinary exchange program between Canada, Ghana, and Senegal.

Please see the application for more details.