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Wheat Quantitative Geneticist


The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT®, is a not-for-profit agricultural research for development organization with partners in over 100 countries. Please refer to our website for more information: www.cimmyt.org

CIMMYT seeks an innovative scientist, keen to work with breeders, geneticists, statisticians and others, to provide technical leadership in the areas of quantitative genetics and machine learning. 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. Selective phenotyping of core sets has been done and will continue based on agreed priorities.

CIMMYT conducts large, globally impactful wheat and maize breeding programs, focused on ensuring sustainable food and nutrition security, and especially addressing constraints of resource-poor farmers. The advanced products of these programs are evaluated at hundreds of locations, providing extensive data for deep learning.

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 position is based at CIMMYT’s campus in Texcoco, State of Mexico, located 45 km northeast of Mexico City, Mexico.

Specific duties:

  • Undertake high-quality research on quantitative genetics, including effective use of CIMMYT’s extensive genotypic and phenotypic data to enhance the progress of breeding programs.
  • Initial focus will be on CIMMYT’s wheat germplasm bank materials, developing and validating innovative approaches, e.g. machine learning, to “mine” CIMMYT’s genomic and associated phenotypic data for improved understanding of genetic diversity and use of alleles or haplotypes in breeding for stress tolerance, nutritional quality, etc.
  • Develop and validate approaches that use genomic and associated phenotypic data to improve the accuracy of exotic or elite parent selection for use in pre-breeding or breeding.
  • Develop and implement analytical pipelines and user-interface tools to enable the mainstreaming of analyses of genomic and phenotypic data, including biometrics and bioinformatics analyses, in active interface with the breeders.
  • 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.
  • Develop materials and activities for capacity building for scientists and students.
  • Establish collaboration and develop projects with international partners aligned with CIMMYT’s overall strategy.
  • Rigorously document and publish research findings in high impact journals and contribute to the dissemination of results.

Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • Ph.D. in quantitative genetics, plant biology, bioinformatics or a related discipline.
  • Three or more years of experience applying machine learning to genomic, epigenetic or pertinent biological data.
  • Knowledge of big data exploration; allele, gene, haplotype discovery.
  • Excellent command of computer programming and statistics essential for this work.
  • Ability to formulate and validate novel hypotheses working effectively with colleagues from complementary disciplines.
  • Excellent skills in verbal and written English. Knowledge of Spanish is desirable but not required.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a multicultural setting.
  • Limited international travel will be required, which may grow to moderate as international recognition grows.
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Proactive and self-motivated, Scientifically Creative and Innovative, Problem Solving, Achievement Orientation and Teamwork.

The position is for an initial fixed-term for three (3) years, after which further employment is subject to performance and the continued availability of funds. CIMMYT’s internationally competitive salary and benefits include housing allowance, car, comprehensive health and life insurance, assistance for children’s education, paid vacation, annual airfare, contribution to a retirement plan, and generous assistance with relocation shipment.

Candidates must apply here for IRS18113 Wheat Quantitative Geneticist. Screening and follow up of applications will begin on Thursday February 15, 2018. Applications must include a CV and a letter of interest. Incomplete applications will not be considered. For further information on the selection process, please contact Yessica Castillo, at y.castillo@cgiar.org. For further reference about the position, please contact Dr. Kevin Pixley, at k.pixley@cgiar.org
Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.
This position will remain open until filled.

CIMMYT is an equal opportunity employer. It fosters a multicultural work environment that values gender equality, teamwork, and respect for diversity. Women are encouraged to apply.