Faculty/Staff positions

Research/Graduate Student positions

The Master’s candidate in Computer or Plant Sciences position is a full-time two- to three-year term. The start date of the position is the spring (May 1) or fall term (Sept. 1) 2020 at the University of Saskatchewan. The Master’s candidate can choose to apply the graduate program at Computer or Plant Sciences.

Salary Information:

The M.Sc. candidate will be funded at the rate of $25,000/yr. In addition, the M.Sc. candidate will be encouraged and supported to apply for additional grants.

Primary Purpose:

The Global Institute for Food Security is recruiting for a M.Sc. candidate in Computational or Plant Sciences in the Seed and Developmental Biology research group. The incumbent will perform computational and statistical analyses in the frame of a pre-breeding project (Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) program funded research on “Preserving hybrid vigour through a novel apomixis breeding strategy in Brassica crops” (# 20180141)) in order to detect all genetic factors that are fundamental for the expression of the apomixis trait. for the Apomixis Breeding research team in the laboratories of Prof. Dr. Timothy F. Sharbel, GIFS Research Chair in Seed Biology, University of Saskatchewan campus.

Typical Duties/Accountabilities:

The incumbent will be part of the Apomixis Breeding team under the direction of the lead postdoctoral fellow/research scientist. Overall supervision will be provided by Prof. Dr. Timothy F. Sharbel. The research project aimed to trace the structural transformation of a sexual genome upon the induction of diplosporous apomixis via homoploid hybridization. The M.sc. candidate will use whole genome sequencing libraries of sexual and synthetic hybrid apomictic parental and established backcrossing lines and will apply genotyping and other bioinformatics pipelines and statistical analyses to generate maternal and paternal markers and explore hot spots and patterns of segregation distortion across and within various generations of backcrossing lines and will examine the level of translocation of heterozygosity to non-homologous chromosomes. The comparison of a wide array of phylogenetically distant backcrossing lines will facilitate the understanding whether the transfer of genomic fragments of the apomictic donor into the sexual maternal background occurs as random or distinct pattern. The M.Sc. is expected to support the publication of research result a minimum of one but up to three publications in high impact factor, peer-reviewed journals as co-author and participate at international conferences. In addition, the M.Sc. candidate will support the generation of a candidate apomixis factor database (CAFD) which will increase the scientific standing and reach of our SDB research group, of GIFS and the UofS. The CAFD will facilitate the functional testing of those novel candidates with the final goal to synthesize a functional apomixis gene cassette for the induction of the apomixis trait in any desired crop plant. The research objectives in brief:

  • Localization and dynamics of Segregation Distortion (SD) across several independent back crossing lines
  • Identification of all fundamental apomixis factors and establishing an apomixis candidate factor database
  • Dynamics of apomixis factor introgression in sexual genomes across different back crossing lines and generations


Education and Experience:

A Bachelor’s degree in bioinformatics, plant biology or agricultural biology is required. Prior experience or coursework in bioinformatics, quantitative genetics and statistics in breeding are desirable. 


The successful candidate will have the demonstrated ability to work in a team-oriented, multidisciplinary research environment and the desire to solve complex problems. The familiarity with next-generation sequencing data structures, large dataset handling, genome analyses and skills in batch scripting, phyton and R is mandatory. They will possess excellent written and verbal communication skills in the English language, solid skills in statistics, and attention to detail and willingness to learn.

This position is not in scope of any bargaining unit.

To Apply: Applications will be accepted online only at careers.usask.ca and must include a cover letter and resume and be submitted as a single PDF document.

Inquiries regarding this position can be directed to Megan Paul at megan.paul@gifs.ca.

Two M.Sc. and 1 Ph.D. positions are available immediately for work within the area of plant protein ingredients and food chemistry. The demand for plant-based protein alternatives around the globe is on the rise as consumers and the food industry search for non-dairy non-soy alternatives that are low cost, abundant, nutritious, functional and environmentally sustainable. However, significant ingredient innovation is required in order to bring new oilseed, cereal and pulse derived ingredients to the marketplace, and be competitive. The three research projects are as follows:

[1] Evaluation of the effects of germination on the physicochemical, functional and nutritional properties of Navy bean and red lentil flours.  This M.Sc. project examines changes to seed composition and morphology during germination overtime, and then accesses the functional attributes of their resulting flours (solubility, water/oil holding capacities and, foaming, emulsifying and pasting abilities). The project will also access changes to in vitro starch and protein digestibility.

[2] Examination of the impact of particle size on the wet extraction process for protein isolates from yellow pea, red lentil, Navy bean and Kabuli chickpeas, and their resulting physicochemical, functional and nutritional properties. This M.Sc. project examines the impact of particle sizes on the ability to extract proteins from a range of pulses for purposes of developing an isolate. The formed ingredients will be evaluated based on their composition, protein profile, interfacial properties functionality and nutritional value.

[3] Evaluation of the protein quality and functionality of flour and protein isolates from a variety of advanced pea breeding lines. This Ph.D. project examines the nutritional value, interfacial properties and functional attributes of flour and isolate ingredients derived from advanced pea lines bred for their amino acid profile and total protein content. Protein quality, will involve measuring amino acid profiles using multiple methods, and in vitro digestibility for determination of PDCAAS values).

Ideal applicants will: have a B.Sc. or M.Sc. degree in Food Science or related discipline; have hands on experience in food chemistry or material science; have excellent oral and written communications skills; and have a publication record (in the case of Ph.D. applicants).

Funding for these opportunities is available at the University of Saskatchewan (Dr. Michael Nickerson) at a level of $20,000/yr for 2 years (M.Sc.) and $24,000/yr for 3 years (Ph.D.).

How to Apply*: Send your Curriculum vitae, transcripts, any recent publications, English test scores and a covering letter stating how your background and qualifications match the position to Dr. Michael Nickerson

*Only qualified matches will be asked to submit a formal application and interviewed.

Area: Metatranscriptomics of Sulfur Oxidizing Bacterial Consortia in Soil

A Master’s of Science position is available immediately for work on a project focusing on microbial sulfur oxidation processes for enhanced sulfur uptake by plants. Sulfur deficiency in soil is becoming increasingly common in Canadian prairie regions, and oilseeds, and particularly canola, have a higher S-requirement than cereal crops. The commercial demand for canola, along with increasing crop yields, causes a further depletion of bioavailable sulfur in these regions. Chemical oxidation of elemental sulfur into a plant-available form (SO42-) occurs slowly, thus S-limited soils may require direct application of sulfate fertilizers in order to maximize yields. Microorganisms that promote sulfur fertilizer oxidation through the various oxidation states to sulfate accordingly have potential biotechnical application in agronomic systems, and are the focus of this degree opportunity.

Accordingly, the successful candidate will employ transcriptomic/metatranscriptomic molecular techniques, in concert with chemical sulfur oxidation assays, to delineate sulfur oxidation pathways/potential of organisms of commercial importance. Application and use of bioinformatics tools and algorithms, as well as experience working with model systems, will be an asset. Applicants will be considered that ideally: have a B.Sc. or M.Sc. degree in microbiology/geomicrobiology along with hands-on experience in biotechnology and molecular techniques, possess a strong interest in microbial ecology, have excellent oral and written communications skills, have a publication record, and are eligible and competitive for national and regional scholarship support. Working in close-collaboration with the industrial sponsor, the student will gain industrially-relevant theoretical knowledge and hands-on expertise for employment in the rapidly-evolving field of biologics, and particular, for microbially-enhanced plant growth promotion.   

Funding for this opportunity is provided by Lallemand Plant Care in conjunction with NSERC-CRD, and will be housed at the University of Saskatchewan (Dr. Darren Korber). Stipend support is $18,000/yr over 3 years.

How to Apply: Send your Curriculum vitae, transcripts, recent publications, and a covering letter stating how your background and qualifications match the position to:

Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences
University of Saskatchewan
51 Campus Drive, 4E16
Saskatoon, SK
S7K 5A8
Attn: Dr. Darren Korber

For Further Information contact Dr. Darren Korber at Darren Korber (ph. 306-966-7786)

Undergraduate Student and Summer term employment

The Breadwheat breeding program in the Department of Plant Sciences/Crop Development Centre is currently accepting applications for summer student positions. The program hires students for various summer positions in field research related work.

Pay Range:   $14.95 to $19.26 per hour

Qualifications: U of S or other post-secondary students planning to attend classes in September. Preference is given to students with an agricultural background, but is not mandatory. Must be willing to do manual labor (including some heavy lifting up to 25 kg), work as directed within a group environment, practice safe work habits and possession of a valid driver's license would be beneficial. Previous experience in field work would be an asset. Must be able to work flexible hours, including some weekends, during seeding and harvest.

Duties and Responsibilities: Vary but could include: seeding, plot maintenance, field data collection, field work (weeding, hoeing), harvest help and other various field related duties.

To apply:      Send via email to Mark Halliday at mark.halliday@usask.ca include cover letter, resume including name and contact information of three (3) references, unofficial transcript of marks and application from the Plant Sciences General Office, 4D36 Agric).

on-line version currently not available


The Pulse Crop Breeding and Genetics Program in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Saskatchewan requires summer student research help who will work as part of a research team to support a large lentil genomics project. Students will have to opportunity to learn modern plant phenotyping techniques and participate in a range of research activities.

Job description and duties: Under the direct supervision of Research Staff, the student’s responsibilities will likely include: setting up seed for planting, planting, care and maintenance of plants in the field, data collection, harvesting, and sample processing. 

Qualifications:  Must currently be enrolled in an undergraduate program and eligible to work on campus.  Must be capable of physical tasks such as lifting and repetitive work in the outdoor environment.  Successful candidates should have a good working knowledge of computers (both desktop and tablet) and software such as MS Excel and Word.  Farm/greenhouse background and/or previous experience in a crop production/crop research environment would be a definite asset.  The successful candidate must be willing to work flexible hours when required and travel within Saskatchewan.  Overtime work is expected during critical times such as harvest.  Must be able to lift up to and including 25 kg and should have or be willing to obtain WHMIS training.  A valid class 5G driver’s license would be useful.  This position requires a motivated, reliable and well organized person, able to work in a multi-disciplinary group environment.  Candidates must possess very good oral and written communication skills in the English language.

Term:  Salary commensurate with qualifications and experience as per the Department of Plant Sciences summer student policy.

Submit a completed summer student application form (can be obtained at the Department of Plant Sciences office, Ag 4D36, or download from https://agbio.usask.ca/work-here.php#UndergraduateStudentandSummertermemployment), along with your resume and unofficial transcripts by February 18th, 2019 to: Ms. Crystal Chan (email: crystal.chan@usask.ca).

No phone calls. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Each summer the department and the CDC will hire up to 60 University of Saskatchewan or other post-secondary students for various summer positions in either laboratory or field settings. 

Qualifications: University of Saskatchewan or other post-secondary students planning to attend classes in September. 

Requirements: Minimum one year of post secondary education.  Preference may be given to students with an agricultural background but it is not necessary.  The ability to do manual labor, ability to work as directed and to practice safe work habits and posession of a valid drivers license would be beneficial.

Applications forms cand be downloaded, or picked up in the Plant Sciences General Office located in Room 4D36 Agriculture Building.  Please attach a current resume. 

summer student application form