May 5, 2023

Postdoctoral Research Scientist Opportunity at Penn State


Penn State’s Department of Plant Science ( is seeking a highly motivated Postdoctoral Scholar to conduct research and Extension activities on Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) within the framework of a collaborative interdisciplinary project funded by the USDA-NIFA OREI program and investigating the use of ASD for Enhancing and Advancing the Sustainability of Organic Crop Production. Read the full position description and instructions here before applying.

Using agronomic and laboratory procedures for soil and plant analysis, the primary goal of the research will be to optimize and evaluate opportunities for integrating ASD in organic vegetable and strawberry crop systems and assess the short- and long-term impact of ASD on nutrient dynamics, soil ecology/microbiology, soilborne pests and pathogens, soil health, crop physiology and yield and quality performance.

The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Francesco Di Gioia and will be working with an interdisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in horticulture, soil microbiology, plant pathology, nematology, biogeochemistry, ecosystem science and management, and agricultural economics.

Location: Primary work location will be Penn State, University Park located at State College, in Central Pennsylvania.

Education and Experience: Applicants are required to have a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate in Horticultural Science, Plant Science, or closely related field(s). Applicants must be able to provide evidence that all requirements have been met for completion of the Ph.D. and pass standard background checks prior to the effective date of hire. This position requires excellent written and verbal communication skills. The profile of the successful candidate for this position includes:

  • Strong background and research experience on organic/sustainable vegetable/strawberry crop production, plant nutrition and physiology, sustainable soil management practices, cover crops, management of soilborne pests and pathogens, soil health and microbiology, crop yield and quality.
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative skills in fields related to plant science, plant physiology, plant nutrition, soil health, soilborne pests and pathogens, and vegetable/strawberry quality.
  • Ability to formulate research hypothesis, design, and conduct experiments on organic vegetable and strawberry crop systems in open field, greenhouse, and/or protected cultivation systems, collect, interpret, and summarize data, and solve research issues.
  • Experience with laboratory procedures for the analysis of soil and plant samples using colorimetric/spectrophotometric/fluorescence assays and experience operating HPLC equipment.
  • Ability to use software, define and execute procedures for plant mineral and phytochemical analysis, image analysis, environmental monitoring, and statistical analysis.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with members of an interdisciplinary research team and ability to drive and travel within the state of Pennsylvania to work with Extension educators and grower cooperators.
  • Interest in mentoring students and conducting Extension and outreach activities.
  • A strong record of peer-reviewed publication.

Initially, this term appointment is funded for one year from the date of hire with the option of reappointment for additional years conditional on satisfactory performance and the availability of funds. This position includes competitive salary and benefits.

Click here for more information and application instructions

Feb 2, 2023

Join eOrganic for a new webinar on Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD)! The webinar takes place on February 21st at 11AM Pacific, 12 Mountain, 1 Central, 2 Eastern Time. It's free and open to the public, and advance registration is required. 

Register now at

About the Webinar

This webinar will provide a general overview of Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) as a biological solution for the management of soilborne pests and pathogens in specialty crops. Attendees will learn:

  1. how the ASD approach proposed today was developed;
  2. the principles and main mechanisms involved in ASD pest and pathogen suppression; and
  3. how ASD is applied.

Results of research conducted in Florida and Pennsylvania on sustainable and organic specialty crops will be presented.

About the Presenters

Dr. Francesco Di Gioia is an Assistant Professor of Vegetable Crops Science at The Pennsylvania State University focusing on the development of sustainable vegetable production systems. Dr. Erin Rosskopf is Research Leader and Research Microbiologist at the USDA-ARS U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, FL focusing on alternatives to the use of chemical fumigants.

Dec 12, 2021

To boost the profitability and sustainability of organic specialty-crop production, scientists at Pennsylvania State University are optimizing a method for controlling soil-borne pests and pathogens. Anaerobic soil disinfestation is the process of limiting oxygen from soil to reduce pests and pathogens. Read the article by Jeff Mulhollem in Agri-View from November 17, 2021 at

Dec 12, 2021

In an effort to boost the profitability and sustainability of organic specialty crop production systems, a team of scientists is improving and optimizing anaerobic soil disinfestation as a management approach to control soilborne pests and pathogens and promote soil health. Read the article from October 24, 2021 by Jeff Mulhollem in Morning Ag Clips at

Dec 12, 2021

In an effort to boost the profitability and sustainability of organic specialty crop productions, a team of scientists is improving and optimizing a method for controlling soilborne pests and pathogens and promoting soil health that prevents oxygen from entering the soil. Read more in the article from October 19, 2021 by Jeff Mulhollem on the Penn State University website here.