PhD/PDF Student Opportunity , Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta

Parental Selection and Assessing the Potential Impacts of Elite Breeding in White Spruce

We are seeking a PhD or PDF student to test the hypothesis that gene expression of gibberellic acid in white spruce (Picea glauca) seedlings can be used as an indicator of trees with superior growth characteristics. Faster growing parents will be selected based on growth data and physiological markers for gibberellic acid and gene expression based on greenhouse trials. With identification of elite parents, an advanced breeding strategy will be designed and implemented using tools such as a differential evolution algorithm developed from animal breeding.

Qualifications: Preference will be given to prospective students that have:

  • An MSc/PhD degree in forest genetics or related field, and familiarity with ecophysiology.
  • An advanced understanding of tree breeding strategies.
  • Experience in field work and tree breeding.
  • A valid class 5 driver’s licence (or equivalent), and be eligible to drive UofA vehicles.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English.
  • Knowledge of experimental design and associated statistical programs (eg: R, SAS).

Funding: This project is fully funded (~$24,000/year, ~$45,000/year for PDFs) through an NSERC Industrial Research Chair program for 3.5 years (PhD) with additional scholarship funds available for Canadian students with a GPA of 3.7 or greater. We encourage students to pursue additional funding through internal/external sources.

Start date: Flexible start date in 2018.

Application: Prospective students must apply through UofA Graduate Studies; however, those interested should first email Dr. Barb Thomas ( and cc Morgan Randall the following:

  • a letter of interest (1 page)
  • a CV describing qualifications and experience
  • unofficial transcripts
  • contact information for three references

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Informal inquiries to gain more information about the positions are also welcome.