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Quantitative Geneticist


Explore the World’s Largest Wheat and Maize Germplasm Bank using Novel Approaches to Discover Innovations for Breeding 

CTI Executive Search has been retained by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT) to identify experienced candidates for a unique position as Quantitative Geneticist for Wheat and Maize discovery research. CIMMYT seeks an innovative scientist, keen to work with breeders, geneticists, statisticians and others, to provide technical leadership in the area of quantitative genetics.

CIMMYT holds the world’s largest collections of wheat (150,000) and maize (28,000) accessions, most of which have been sequenced at high density using DArTSeq technology, and with selective phenotyping of core sets and derived breeding lines as well. There are many unrecognized patterns of gene expression in this resource that may lead to new and innovative traits, which CIMMYT breeders will use to develop future varieties.

CIMMYT is a not-for-profit research organization working on two of the world’s most important field crops, with partners in over 100 countries. As staple foods, maize and wheat provide vital nutrients and health benefit for millions of people in low- and middle-income countries. CIMMYT project leaders and scientists tackle food insecurity through improved nutrient-rich, high-yielding varieties and sustainable agricultural practices,  helping to ensure  that  those  who  most  depend on agriculture make a fair living and feed their families. The U.N. projects that the global population will increase to more than 9 billion people by 2050, which means that the successes and failures of wheat and maize farmers will continue to have a crucial impact on food security globally.

This position will aggressively explore and develop methods to use genomic data and available tools, including on-line data and bioinformatics resources, to enhance the efficiency of using genetic resources in applied wheat and maize breeding programs.

The initial focus of the work will be on CIMMYT’s wheat germplasm bank materials, with maize coming in shortly thereafter. CIMMYT will encourage a great deal of collaboration across the public and private divide for this work, and the scientist chosen for this role and his/her collaborators will have ample opportunity to publish their findings.

Quantitative Geneticist – Wheat and Maize

The position is based at CIMMYT’s campus in Texcoco, State of Mexico, located 45 km northeast of Mexico City, Mexico, and will report to the Director of the Genetic Resources Program, with resources across the CIMMYT universe to support the new technologies or innovations that this scientist will require to thoroughly examine the huge resources built at this center over more than five decades.

CIMMYT is the most ideal location to do this kind of quantitative genetics; the center offers a unique opportunity to not only work with this huge resource of data, but to have the opportunity to go into the field as well and learn from and work with the world’s top breeders. He or she will be in partnership with those scientists to get plants into the field, which will lead to new varieties that have a positive impact on the world’s small farmers and large growers.

Specific duties:

  • Undertake high-quality research on quantitative genetics and partner with breeders and others to enhance the effective use of CIMMYT’s extensive genotypic and phenotypic data in breeding decision making.
  • Develop or modify and validate innovative approaches, to “mine” CIMMYT’s genomic and associated phenotypic data for improved understanding of allelic and haplotype diversity for stress tolerance, nutritional quality, and more.
  • Develop and validate approaches that use genomic and associated phenotypic data to improve the efficacy of exotic or elite parent selection for use in pre-breeding or breeding.
  • Develop and — in collaboration with breeding IT — implement analytical pipelines and user-interface tools to enable the mainstreaming of quantitative genetic analyses, including biometric and bioinformatics analyses, in active consultation with CIMMYT’s worldwide breeding team.
  • Use CIMMYT breeding data to simulate, critically assess and make recommendations to modify breeding methods and strategies to increase genetic gain through the application of genomic information.
  • In-field travel to see phenotypic response and functional trait output from genetic data mapping and genotyping.
  • Develop materials and activities for capacity building and mentorship for scientists and students.
  • Establish global collaborations and develop projects with international partners aligned with CIMMYT’s overall strategy in the further development of innovations from this huge resource.
  • Rigorously document and publish research findings in high impact journals and contribute to the dissemination of results. 

Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • D. in quantitative genetics, population genetics, evolutionary biology, or a related discipline.
  • Significant experience applying genomic, epigenetics or pertinent biological data to breeding decision making.
  • Knowledge of big data exploration; allele, gene, haplotype discovery.
  • Excellent command of the computer programming and statistics work required for quantitative genetics programs.
  • The ability to formulate and validate novel hypotheses, working effectively with colleagues from complementary disciplines.
  • An ability and attitude enabling exploration of the relevance of new analysis paradigms – for example, machine and deep learning for breeding decision application.
  • Excellent skills in verbal and written English. Knowledge of Spanish is desirable but is not required.
  • The personality and cultural understanding required to work in a multicultural setting.
  • Some international travel will be required, which may grow to moderate as international recognition for this program grows.
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Proactive and self-motivated, Scientifically Creative and Innovative, Problem Solving, Achievement Orientation and Teamwork.

If you are interested in this role or can provide suggested contacts for CTI on this search, please contact us in confidence. Our search is not confidential and this document may be redistributed. 

Dave Jensen, Founder and CEO

CareerTrax Inc. (www.careertrax.com)

(928) 282-5366 Office

(928) 274-2266 Cell (Preferred)


On Skype at: daveproactive

Ryan Raver, PhD Managing Director

(928) 282‐5366 Office

(507) 272-2846 Cell (Preferred) ryanraver@careertrax.com

Skype: ryan.raver