Job Opportunities

Opportunities for a Postdoctoral Research Associate

Position Information

We are seeking a highly motivated, creative scientist for the position of Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Dr. Mary Ann Lila’s laboratory at the Plants for Human Health Institute, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Research Campus.  NC State’s Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI) is comprised of integrated research and outreach units centered on the health-protective, bioactive properties of plant-based foods. The North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) is a private and public venture, with the mission to advocate and validate translational strategies in the domains of nutrition and human health and longevity. The successful postdoctoral candidate will become part of a new Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) project on “Closing the gap in delivery of fruit & vegetable benefits”.

Duties & Responsibilities

The selected candidate will use elite plant germplasm and emerging natural ingredient and product platforms to integrate fruit and vegetable bioactives and micronutrients into novel colloidal protein-polyphenol colloidal ingredients and prototype food products, with the aim of enhancing stability, nutrient density and bioaccessibility.  Fruit/vegetable produce and waste streams will be mined as sources of value-added components. Colloidal particles will be analyzed for primary characteristics (size, solubility, composition) as well as functionality in prototype food products.  Processed food products formulated with novel ingredients will be screened in parallel to those created with simple, uncomplexed fruit/vegetable powders to compare micronutrient/bioactive concentrations, stability, bioavailability and consumer acceptability.

The postdoctoral research associate will handle general laboratory management, prepare technical reports, grant proposals, manuscripts and presentations, and show the capacity to help guide research trajectories.  The selected candidate will work in a multifaceted laboratory team, and will interact closely with partnering laboratories on the project.  Ability to manage multiple project aims in an efficient and reliable manner, as well as to interact, communicate and collaborate with scientists from other disciplines, is essential. Ability to analyze, present and troubleshoot data in a clear manner is also essential.

While driving a vehicle is not essential, we would prefer that the postdoctoral research associate have a valid NC driver’s license, as there may occasionally be a need to work in collaboration with partners on NCSU’s Raleigh campus.


PhD in Food Science, Bioprocessing or related field with no more than 5 years of previous post-doctoral experience.


Department prefers at least two years of experience in the field of food science/product formulation. The successful candidate will be able to evolve independently and develop new models of experimentation in cooperation with related research teams.

Application deadline: open

Start date – Fall 2017

For further information, contact:  Dr. Mary Ann Lila, Director, Plants for Human Health Institute, Department of Food Bioprocessing and Nutritional Sciences, North Carolina State University,

Opportunities for a PhD candidate 

Plant Pathways Elucidation Project – 

The Plant Pathways Elucidation Project (a.k.a. P2EP) is a dynamic, public/private, multi-institutional team approach which leverages plant systems biology (with platforms of genetic sequencing, annotation, association mapping, gene expression analysis, comprehensive breeding populations and metabolomics) to mine plant-based solutions for human health.

P2EP has three primary goals. First, to decipher the complex metabolic pathways by which edible plants biosynthesize the compounds (fibers, phytoactive chemicals, proteins) that uniquely protect human consumers from the ravages of chronic diseases. Second, to build a knowledgebase of these components and their intermediates that will lead to their utilization as a resource to the research community. Third, to leverage the P2EP forum to create unprecedented transdisciplinary educational opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate scholars, working in teams with academic PIs and industry leaders to resolve problems with significant, practical human health relevance.  Overall, the P2EP seeks to elucidate the metabolic pathways involved in the production of nutritionally – important phytochemical compounds (phytoactives) in economically important, functionally-relevant crops, in addition to other relevant traits of interest, such as disease resistance and drought tolerance.


PhD Candidate – Pineapple Genomics and Metabolomics 

The successful candidate will be enrolled in NC State University’s Department of Horticultural Science, and the PhD program will include a minor in Nutrition. The PhD program will be partially supported through the Dole Nutrition Research Institute.  Within the P2EP team, the PhD student will establish genomic resources and develop new genomic tools for the pineapple crop, and use these assets to: 1) characterize pathways that lead to important metabolites accumulated in pineapple and 2) determine the genetic basis of resistance to relevant fungal diseases and/or nematodes. Dole has access to a vast range of pineapple biodiversity to facilitate this research quest, and these plant materials will be fully available to the selected candidate.

PhD students entering the P2EP program immerse themselves in a multifaceted team environment unlike an average graduate assistantship. Selected candidates employ Horticulture, Nutrition, Food Science, Genetics, Statistics, Bioinformatics, Plant Science and Agronomic research techniques throughout their project. PhD students direct a team of four to five undergraduate interns assigned to their project during the summer months, who streamline the research by contributing to the investigative mission. This doubles as an educational outreach program, which exposes undergraduate students to high level research they would not experience at non-research based institutions. Individuals interested in this assistantship must be organized, have relevant research experience, be teamwork oriented, demonstrate strong leadership qualities, and be comfortable with learning new computer based technologies.

International students must have a GRE and TOEFEL exam to be admitted in the graduate school. See graduate admission for more information

See minimum course requirements for a Minor (Ph.D.) in Nutrition:

Visit the P2EP web page for more information:

Application deadline: open

Start date – Spring 2017

For further information, contact:  Dr. Massimo Iorizzo, Department of Horticultural Sciences, Plants for Human Health Institute, North Carolina State University,, or Dr. Mary Ann Lila, Director, Plants for Human Health Institute, Department of Food Bioprocessing and Nutritional Sciences, North Carolina State University,