The lab of Dave Crowder ( in the Department of Entomology at Washington State University is recruiting a postdoctoral scholar who is interested in insects as vectors of disease and plant-insect-pathogen interactions. This postdoctoral scientist will work as part of an interdisciplinary team to examine the ecology of a bacterial plant pathogen (Liberibacter solanacearum, Lso) that is vectored by the potato psyllid to potato crops. This devastating pathogen has caused widespread losses for potato growers throughout the Pacific Northwestern United States. Moreover, this is an interesting model system for studying plant-insect-pathogen interactions because Lso bacteria functions as a symbiont in the psyllid vector and as a pathogen in plant hosts. Thus,
studying the transmission dynamics of this pathogen has relevance for both basic and applied disease ecology. The postdoctoral scientist will work as part of a USDA-funded research team bridging landscape ecology, molecular biology, plant-insect interactions and disease modeling in the framework of agricultural systems. Potential areas of research include: (1) examining the ecology of the potato psyllid and pathogen across cropping landscapes, including but not limited to an examination of crop and non-crop host use and modeling spread of psyllids and pathogen across diverse landscapes in the Pacific Northwest; (2) plant-insect-bacteria interactions, including but not limited to investigating how psyllid fitness and behavior change when plants are infected with the pathogen, and examining how infection of plants with the pathogen influences host use and community dynamics; and (3) exploring how variation in insect and plant communities influence
psyllid-plant-pathogen dynamics. The postdoctoral scientist will be encouraged to conduct independent work within this broad system, and individuals with broad interest in disease ecology and plant-insect-pathogen interactions are encouraged to contact the PI with other potential areas of investigation. The project is in partnership with a large group of cooperating growers, and the postdoctoral scientist will have an opportunity to conduct outreach if desired. To apply send CV and statement of interest to Dave Crowder ([email protected]).

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