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Environmental Horticulture Graduate Program

Environmental Horticulture Graduate Program

A PhD graduate research assistantship is available at the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma, FL beginning in summer or fall 2021. The PhD student will conduct genetic and genomic research and breeding in lantana. PhD student selected for this position will perform genome and transcriptome sequencing, develop molecular markers for important reproductive traits (unreduced female gamete formation and apomixis), investigate the mode of inheritance and genetic mechanisms for these traits, screen germplasm for disease resistance, create desirable diploid and tetraploid breeding parents, and develop sterile, non-invasive, disease-resistant triploid lantana cultivars. The student will leverage existing lantana genetic and genomic resources and generate and analyze new genomic and transcriptomic datasets to find genes controlling the formation of unreduced female gametes and apomictic seeds. Additional research topics (including gene editing, gene cloning, genetic transformation, etc.) and/or ornamental crops may also be pursued, depending on the interests and abilities of the student.


The graduate research assistant will conduct laboratory/greenhouse/field studies, collect data, analyze research results, prepare reports, write journal articles, present research results, and prepare a dissertation. This half-time assistantship will provide an initial stipend ($25,000 per year) and a full tuition waiver for four years. Opportunities for additional income in the form of fellowship are also available at the UF/IFAS’ Department of Environmental Horticulture (, the home department of the faculty supervisor and the student selected.


Desired qualifications:

An MSc in horticulture, plant science, genetics, or a related field and experience in applied plant breeding and inheritance study are preferred. Experience with molecular marker development and analysis, genotyping by sequencing, and genetic mapping are all beneficial. Other desirable qualities include a strong work ethic, ability to work independently, advanced English language proficiency (verbal and written), and enthusiasm for plant breeding and genetic research. Candidates must also meet the admission requirements of UF's Graduate School and the Department of Environmental Horticulture ( Interested candidates that meet these qualifications are encouraged to inquire about the position by contacting Dr. Zhanao Deng at