Careers in the Plant Sciences

New Plant Development Research Assistant II

The Morton Arboretum - Lisle, IL, United States

Position Title: New Plant Development Research Assistant II
Position Type: Research Assistant
Application Review Begins: Friday, November 03, 2023
Application Deadline: Friday, December 29, 2023
Institution: The Morton Arboretum
Department/Division: New Plant Development
Field (e.g., systematics):
City: Lisle, IL, United States
General Information: The Morton Arboretum is seeking an in vitro biologist to join their plant development team, which focuses on studying horticultural crops, their taxonomy, stressors, and ways to improve their performance in urban environments. The successful candidate will primarily work with woody landscape plants for built environments, specializing in plant tissue culture, embryo rescue, and transformation technologies. They will collaborate closely with various experts in a cross-functional setting, contributing to project planning and long-term goals. Responsibilities include developing innovative approaches, maintaining thorough project records, and effectively communicating progress and results. This hybrid-eligible position with competitive benefits.

Position Summary: Contribute to the objectives of the Daniel P. Haerther Charitable Trust New Plant Development Program through the development of in vitro propagation and application of biotechnology to the breeding, selection, and research of woody landscape plants for built environments. Participate in and lead research projects by performing assigned research experiments and activities, managing necessary equipment and supplies, and collaborating with Center for Tree Science researchers to establish and expand molecular-biology-based tree improvement research capacity. Funding for this position is temporary with an expected duration of three years, with potential for extension.
Qualifications/Requirements: Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree preferred in plant tissue culture and biotechnology or a related science field, and 2+ years of related research or work experience required with a demonstrated knowledge of research design, implementation, and analysis and an ability to conduct independent research. In lieu of a graduate degree, 5+ years of equivalent scientific training in a research setting is required. Familiarity with molecular biology, plant gene expression, and transformation vector technologies is preferred. Experience overseeing research projects and laboratory operations, performing specialized and complex analytical and research techniques, and designing and implementing research studies in an area related to the required research. Experience with public disseminating research findings, including oral presentations or peer-reviewed publications preferred. It may require software experience specific to the area of study. Possessing a valid driver’s license, which is subject to insurability, and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report may be required. Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Google applications is necessary.
Success Factors: Ability and willingness to work in office, laboratory, and field environments. Self-motivated learner. Ability to solve problems with minimal supervision. Strong written and oral communication skills. Clear thought, visual acuity, and manual dexterity are needed.
Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here represent those that an employee must meet to perform the essential functions of this job successfully. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these important functions.

Physical Demands: May require physical activity: walking over varied terrain, bending, limited lifting and carrying (up to 50 lbs. assisted). The use of chemicals may be necessary. Some travel is required.

Work Environment: Office environment, Arboretum grounds, and off-site locations. Work is performed indoors and outdoors in a variety of weather conditions.

Equipment: General office equipment, field and laboratory equipment, including specialized equipment relating to the particular area of research, hand and power tools, Arboretum pick-up truck, and utility vehicle.

Schedule: Work may require occasional evenings and weekends.
Responsibilities: Essential Functions:
Oversee and coordinate research activities in the New Plant Development Program to meet assigned research goals of one or more projects.

Develop and implement novel approaches to embryo rescue and plant nuclear transformation.

Collect, record, and analyze results from discipline-specific studies to provide straightforward, well-documented methods and data for research projects.

Contribute to preparing and submitting research products, including reports, manuscripts, and articles for publication through literature synthesis, data analysis, and writing. Regular and clear communication of research progress and results to team members and Arboretum leadership, including oral/written reports.

Maintain detailed and organized records of project data and other materials as needed. Independently operate, calibrate, and maintain laboratory and office instruments and equipment to ensure proper functioning, accuracy, and compliance with written specifications. Create and update maintenance documentation as necessary.

Contribute to project plan development and long-range goals of the new plant development team.

Co-mentor and train temporary employees, students, interns, and volunteers, and communicate with external collaborators, including providing constructive feedback.

Establish, document, and implement quality control and safety procedures for assigned laboratory, field, or office research activities.

Demonstrate alignment with the Arboretum’s employee core values to be inclusive, take ownership, work together, keep learning and make the Arboretum exceptional.

Other duties as assigned.
Application Instructions (submission methods, etc.): For full consideration, please include cover letter and CV with application.
Compensation Range:
Contact Name: Holly Larson,