Research Technician - Soil DNA

Land O'Lakes
River Falls, Wisconsin, US
Closing date
Nov 30, 2021

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Join Land O'Lakes, Inc., and help us bring food from farmer to fork, building vibrant communities along the way. We're a global, Fortune 250 company and a farmer-owned cooperative, which means we work for one another-not Wall Street. We're proud to rank a Top Workplace. We offer:
  • Competitive compensation and rewards
  • Best-in-class healthcare for you and your family
  • Powerful savings programs
  • Training and career progression

Research Technician - Soil DNA

Summary: Responsible for the daily operations, maintenance, implementation of research experiments and data collection within the soil DNA laboratory for proprietary STAMPs and service projects as directed by a WFU research manager. Assist and work collaboratively with Product Development Research Managers to generate and interpret data for WinField United proprietary STAMPS projects and technologies provided by industry partners. Effectively communicate results to relevant stakeholders to meet timelines and goals.

Will also assist in other areas when project priorities change during the testing year. These areas will include spray analysis systems, seed care preparation, chemical formulation scale up for field and lab experiments and field research during peak work time as well as assist with Innovation Center tours.

DNA lab Operation - 40%
  • Daily operation of the soil DNA and other assigned laboratory operations. Includes proper maintenance, executing research protocol, good laboratory practices, experimentation preparation, and data collection.
  • Conduct assay work to accelerate identification of soil pathogens and measure impact of ingredients on biologicals, seed treatments, fertilizer efficiencies, and soil health.
  • Test new assays and methods that may be implemented in WFU SureTech laboratories as a fee for service.
  • Assist with laboratory and research reports documenting results and successful methods, as well as literature reviews associated with DNA testing in biological areas.

Project management work streams - 30%
  • Assist RM with the design, development, and implementation of trials for existing and innovative STAMPs and biological projects utilizing assets within the WFU Innovation Center (DNA soil laboratory, Phenospex, chemistry, Greenhouse, etc.). Collect data and assist with identifying insights. Communicate results to stake holders within Product Development to ensure technologies are properly moving through the BWUP.
  • Under guidance of Research Manager, consistent and frequent communication, and collaboration with all relevant staff to reach quality data goals.
  • Ensure all data are stored in the appropriate repositories.

Method Development and Instrumentation - 20%
  • Assist with the development of research methods and processes to ensure data generation within the soil DNA laboratory are repeatable and of high quality. Suggest process improvements and equipment needs to increase efficiency and/or effectiveness for product screening. Develop and maintain operating manuals. Complete work instructions on a timely basis.
  • Use Innovation center instrumentation and equipment as directed by Research Manager(s) team to help support the DNA and other laboratory assets to full capacity. Have a working knowledge of various instruments and equipment, including Greenhouse operations, Growth Chambers, seed treatment, relevant analytical equipment, and field research equipment.

Safety and cross functional support - 10%
  • Follow all laboratory and field safety rules and regulations, including health and safety policies, to guarantee the highest quality results. Read SDSs of raw materials and experimental products. Participate in monthly safety meetings with the Product Development team and complete all safety modules as assigned. Read and follow all lab SOPs. Assist in keeping all labs safe and clean.
  • Assist with other research initiatives when project require additional assistants. Work may include areas in field research, chemistry compatibility, greenhouse trials, seed care treatments and wind tunnel testing materials.

Required Qualifications:

Experience and Education
  • BS in agronomy, plant physiology, microbiology, horticulture, botany or closely aligned field with a minimum of 4+ years' experience in agricultural research and development or Masters degree in agronomy, plant physiology, microbiology, horticulture, botany or closely aligned field. Extensive knowledge in experimentation and developing appropriate data and support material. Experience in molecular biology techniques, nucleic acid isolation, high throughput methodologies, PCR/qPCR, DNA sequencing, etc. Demonstrated experience in research methodology to improve processes and meet quality standards. Experience with data management and familiarity with databases and data curation. Excellent organizational skills, interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to work in a fast-past, team environment.

Preferred Qualifications:

Experience and Education
  • Masters degree in agronomy, plant physiology, microbiology, horticulture, botany or closely aligned field

Land O'Lakes, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE) M/F/Vets/Disabled. The company maintains a drug-free workforce, including pre- and post-employment substance abuse testing pursuant to a Drug and Alcohol Policy.

Neither Land O'Lakes, nor its search firms, will ever contact you and ask for confidential information over the phone or in email. If you receive a call or email like this, please do not provide the information being requested.

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