Crop Trait Discovery Lead
Minneapolis , Minnesota
August 27, 2016
Job Title
Crop Trait Discovery Lead

Position overview:
  • PepsiCo is a major agricultural enterprise sourcing a variety of tuber, grain and fruit & vegetable crops around the world. A creative, results-oriented scientist with a passion for crop improvement is required to deliver trait technology breakthroughs on crop plants core to our business. This scientist will translate business priorities into genetically tractable solutions to innovate PepsiCo raw materials combining excellent agronomic, sustainability and consumer characteristics.
  • This discovery scientist will have an extensive knowledge of and demonstrated experience with systems approaches to pathway dissection using advanced molecular and biochemical strategies using high-throughput multi-omic approaches. This position will manage a small team of trait discovery scientists with 2-3 direct reports including PhD level scientists, technicians, lab managers and/or laboratory assistants.
  • This position will take accountability for activities in multiple crops as it becomes necessary based on the evolution of the portfolio. The position sits in the Agro Discovery research function within Nutrition R&D and will report to the Trait Discovery and Crop Data Sciences Lead.

Job Description:
  • Design and execute discovery projects aimed at transforming intractable raw material challenges into technology breakthrough solutions by uncovering plant biochemical pathway targets and interrogating genetic and agronomic strategies to impact those pathways.
  • Manage collaborative partnerships with external academic and industry partners, translate project deliverables and research results into defined target solutions for development and deployment through our Crop Improvement and Field and Postharvest Innovation pipelines.
  • Build a technical capability including designing and maintaining a plant molecular laboratory, managing data streams and interacting with breeders, agronomists and Bioinformaticians to ensure effective translation of research outputs while upholding strict adherence to budget and timelines that are tightly aligned with business priorities.
  • Maintain accurate records of all scientific activities in compliance with company standards.
  • Provide regular reports and data summaries to project teams and department leaders.
  • Adapt to unexpected delays and changes in workflows to maintain overall productivity.


  • PhD in Crop/Horticulture Sciences or related discipline with at least 5 years experience (including graduate school years) with modern genomic and biotechnology approaches for gene discovery is required. Significant experience in biochemistry and understanding of pathway dissection is highly desirable. Experience in vegetable, fruit and/or grain crops preferred.
  • Demonstrated research experience in designing advanced genomic discovery projects that delivered target genes impacting consumer-relevant crop attributes is highly desirable.
  • Excellent communication and networking ability with internal and external audiences that have a wide range of scientific expertise.
  • A proven ability to work closely with colleagues on complex projects with a high degree of flexibility and comfort with change
  • Ability to balance need to deliver aggressive business innovation goals with scientific excellence.
  • Demonstrated experience in team discovery with knowledge of both plant breeding practices and principles of agronomic investigation.
  • Personnel management experience required.
  • Position will be based in St. Paul, Minnesota at the University of Minnesota agricultural campus.
  • Must be willing to travel up to 25% of the time both domestic and International.
  • Must be willing to flex work schedule to accommodate video and phone conferences across multiple time-zones as an alternative to travel.
  • Must be willing to work by leveraging campus facilities flexibly.

Relocation Eligible

Eligible for Limited Relocation

A little about us:
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