The Corn Host Plant Resistance Research Unit addresses research problems with a multi-disciplinary team approach. This team includes scientists with training in agronomy, entomology, genetics, plant pathology, and plant physiology. The agronomist determines the effects of various crop management practices. The plant pathologist investigates infection with pathogens and disease progression. This information is used to develop methods for evaluating corn for levels of damage from disease and identifying potentially useful resistant corn germplasm. The entomologist develops methods for artificially rearing insects, infesting plants with insects, measuring damage, and quantifying resistance. The plant physiologist studies the effects of physiological stresses caused by heat, drought, flooding, and other environmental factors on disease development, insect damage, and manifestations of resistance. The geneticists identify potentially useful corn germplasm for plant breeding programs. They use both conventional breeding methods and molecular marker assisted breeding procedures to combine pest resistance and good agronomic qualities in corn breeding lines. They also identify genes associates with resistance and determine the effects of genes and their locations on the chromosomes. Technicians in the research unit are trained in primarily biological sciences, but also have expertise in data management, statistics, and biochemistry.
The links below are to current ARS job openings listed at the official job site of the US Federal Government, USAJOBS.