Post-Doctoral Position in Plant Defence Evolution – University of Toronto at Mississauga (with Prof. Marc Johnson)

Prof. Marc Johnson’s EvoEco Lab ( is seeking applications for a Post-Doctoral Researcher to study Plant Defence Evolution against herbivores and pathogens at the University of Toronto – Mississauga (UTM). The successful candidate will examine the mechanisms and evolutionary processes affecting adaptive and non-adaptive evolution of plant chemical and non-chemical defences. The specific topic of research will depend on the successful candidate’s interests, but could for example include the population genomics of defence, macroevolution evolution of defence, the effects of sexual reproduction on defence, and more. The Johnson lab uses many natural and agricultural systems to study plant defence evolution (Arabidopsis, Oenothera, Trifolium, Glycine, Brassica, etc.), and there is opportunity to use these systems or to develop a new system, depending on the candidate’s interests and expertise. The post-doctoral researcher will have the opportunity to integrate experiments, population genomics, evolutionary genetics, plant chemistry, and modeling approaches. This project is ideally suited to individuals seeking to perform productive cutting-edge research while building collaborations across traditional disciplines. We are interested in all outstanding post-doctoral applicants with an interest and expertise in plant evolutionary biology or the evolution of plant-animal interactions; previous work in plant defence evolution specifically is an asset but not a requirement.

To learn more about the Johnson Lab’s research on plant defence evolution please visit or see:

Anstett et al. 2016. Can genetically based clines in plant defence explain greater herbivory at higher latitudes? Ecology Letters 18:1376-1386.

Thompson, K. A., and M. T. J. Johnson. 2016. Antiherbivore defenses and natural selection on floral traits. Evolution 70:796-810.

Hollister et al. 2015. Recurrent loss of sex is associated with accumulation of deleterious mutations in Oenothera. Mol Biol Evol 32:896-905.

Johnson et al. 2015. Coevolution Between Plant Reproduction and Defense Against Herbivores. AREES 46:191-213.

Johnson et al. 2014. Macroevolution of plant defenses against herbivores in the evening primroses. New Phytologist 203:267-279.

Agrawal et al. 2012. Insect herbivores drive real-time ecological and evolutionary change in plant populations. Science 338:113-116.

Johnson et al. 2009. Plant sex and the evolution of plant defenses against herbivores. PNAS 106:18079–18084.

In addition to being a part of the EvoEco Lab (, the post-doctoral researcher will be a member of the Department of Biology ( and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (

The UTM campus has excellent facilities for plant-insect research (wet and dry lab infrastructure, growth chambers, greenhouses), housing, and 225 acres of fields, forests, many trails and a wild salmon/trout river for recreation. Toronto and Mississauga are world-class cities that are interconnected and culturally diverse. They boast an abundance of restaurants, excellent transit systems, a diversity of cultural activities (theatres, sports, bars, clubs), and an abundance of parks and water.

Starting salary: Commensurate with experience + benefits

Start date: Flexible, but preferably before Sept. 1, 2018

Duration: 1- 3 years (conditional on favourable annual performance review)

Application Deadline: Review of applications will commence Dec. 6. Please send applications to

Applications should include: i) a cover letter, ii) CV, iii) PDFs of top three publications, and iv) contact information for three references.

This job is posted in accordance with the CUPE 3902 Unit 5 Collective Agreement. The normal hours of work are 40 hours per week for a full-time postdoctoral fellow recognizing that the needs of the employee’s research and training and the needs of the supervisor’s research program may require flexibility in the performance of the employee’s duties and hours of work. The position will regularly require evening and/or weekend work.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

Contact information:

Marc T. J. Johnson, Ph.D.
Director, Centre for Urban Environments (CUE)
Associate Professor
Depts. of Biology & EEB
University of Toronto – Mississauga