Faculty Hire- Aquatic Epidemiology

Faculty Hire (Global Food Venture)
Veterinary Population Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota
Aquatic Epidemiology
Job ID: 328738


The University of Minnesota, Veterinary Population Medicine Department (VPM), College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), is seeking to hire a 100% Assistant/Associate/Full Professor (tenure-track) position as part of the University of Minnesota Global Food Ventures (GFV) initiative. The GFV is a public-private partnership committed to answering the global imperative of safe, nutritious and affordable food, through the application of innovative discovery and next generation workforce development. Minnesota commodities and citizens expect 21stcentury interdisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, veterinarians and public health communicators to protect the safety and to preserve quality nutrition of foodstuffs. These positions will contribute to the GFV research program related to Food Safety Innovations and will leverage existing and proposed GFV investments in informatics. This CVM position will focus on Aquatic Epidemiology.


Collectively, this position as well as the other MN-Drive positions will directly leverage internationally recognized programs at the CVM and School of Public Health (SPH) and bolster research opportunities related to the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS), the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), and the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP). The specific description of the proposed faculty position in Aquatic Epidemiology is as follows:


AQUATICS AND AQUAPONICS: In Minnesota, we are faced with protecting the health and sustainability of both farmed and wild aquatic animal populations, often with the end goal of human consumption. For decades, aquaculture has been the fastest growing animal agriculture sector in the world with an expansion of marine and freshwater environments. Minnesota has a long history of fish production and has seen increasing investments in intensive indoor aquaculture and aquaponic facilities. The health of wild fish and other aquatic animals support a multi-billion dollar recreational industry in the State and are at the core of Minnesota’s natural resource culture. There are mounting risks (both biotic and abiotic) to the sustainability of these populations including emerging contaminants, infectious diseases and food safety concerns Thus, there is a need for the development of a program that is able to connect aquatic animal food system development and sustainability with environmental and infectious disease threat detection and mitigation. This will include areas of veterinary diagnostic medicine, food safety, and epidemiologic modeling of disease transmission including risk analysis. The complexity of the problems to be addressed will inherently involve multiple disciplines, commodities, and sectors, and intersect with public, environmental, and animal health. Thus, there is a need for research and outreach combining “systems thinking” with applied and theoretical quantitative analytical tools. This need aligns with the fact that University of Minnesota is a global leader in forming highly collaborative teams of faculty to proactively address grand challenges in the areas of research, outreach, and education.
Over the last decade, the volume and complexity of agricultural and livestock data to support disease prevention, disease control, and production has grown to levels never seen in history. This rapid increase in the quantity of data has not necessarily resulted in an ability to improve the quality of aquatic animal food systems and the necessary policies to support the development of these industries. There is a need to strengthen the University’s capacity to quantitatively identify and respond to emerging challenges on aquatics applied to production and environmental health, with a strong focus on informatics and big data analysis, working in
collaboration with the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute and Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. Immediate practical application would include analysis of Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, environmental, and aquaculture data.


We are seeking an accomplished scientist for this position with demonstrated collaborative and interpersonal skills, effective oral and written communication skills, and recent efforts/innovations in teaching. This person should be committed to: 1) working effectively in a
transdisciplinary team environment; 2) developing and submitting research proposals to obtain extramural funding for cutting-edge research; 3) conducting and managing research studies; 4) publishing articles in well-recognized scholarly journals; 5) conveying study results and recommendations to stakeholders and decision makers; and 6) developing and presenting relevant courses and seminars.

The VPM department has internationally recognized programs in infectious disease ecology, prevention and management, animal genetics and microbiome metagenomics, and preventive medicine relevant to animal (poultry, swine, dairy, wildlife and aquatic species) and public health. This basic research is translated into applied outcomes for the support of food systems through outreach programs in aquaculture, food safety, foodborne pathogenesis and zoonosis, disease surveillance and control, and development of innovative platforms for vaccines and gene delivery. For instance, the Center of Animal Health and Food Safety and traditional
commodity divisions (swine, poultry, etc.) support scholarly partnerships with both state and federal governments and Minnesota food industries; while the Ecosystem Health Division supports the integration of environmental and human/animal health sciences toward the
sustainable use of natural resources that support human and animal health. Finally, the MN Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory provides support to both human and animal health for all of the above.


RESPONSIBILITIES: The person in this position would have a research, teaching, and outreach focus. He/she is expected to interact with faculty from College of Food, Agricultural and Natural
Resource Sciences (Horticulture, Animal Science, Fisheries and Wildlife, Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center), School of Public Health, other departments in College of Veterinary Medicine, Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety. It is expected that this position will develop nationally recognized, independent sustained research programs in sustainable aquaculture and ecosystem health that complement our existing infectious disease and food safety programs, and can provide expert advice to industry related to aquatic animal health. This position will also have major
teaching responsibilities in the DVM curriculum including teaching in epidemiology, advanced epidemiology and veterinary public health rotations. They will also teach in undergraduate and graduate (PhD, MPH, and MS) courses.


REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates must have a doctoral level degree (e.g., DVM, MD or PhD) and publication record demonstrating experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases. The candidate is expected to have advanced knowledge of the biology of agents, hosts, vectors,
and reservoir systems of aquatic animal population health and/or advanced knowledge of food safety related to seafood. The ability to develop an independent and sustainable scholarly research program, teach in the classroom and mentor graduate students, and participate in
outreach and service is required. Successful applicants will also contribute collaboratively to multidisciplinary efforts as part of their scholarly work. Demonstrated experience in preparing research grants, publishing in quality peer-reviewed journals, and presentations at national, professional meetings is necessary. Candidates at the associate professor or professor level are expected to demonstrate sustained success in funded scholarly activities and candidates at the full professor level will be expected to also have a substantial, currently funded research portfolio.


PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS: While a doctoral level degree and commensurate track record of peer reviewed research output is required, a DVM degree plus graduate (MS, PhD) level research degree is preferred since this combination is likely to support the development of both
aquatic animal health and epidemiological research tracks within the College. Thus, candidates with a record of funded programmatic research, teaching and outreach in aquatic animal health and epidemiology will be given preference. In addition, candidates with applied data science
skills (Big Data) related to population fish production and public health are encouraged to apply.

SALARY AND START-UP PACKAGE: Highly competitive and commensurate with experience and qualifications. The University offers an excellent benefits package. For example, the University pays 100% of the premium for Faculty Basic Life Insurance as well as 100% of the premium for
Faculty Group Income Disability Insurance. Faculty contributes 5.5% of their annual salary and the University contributes 10% toward the Faculty Retirement Plan. There are also two Optional Retirement Plans available. For more benefits information see https://humanresources.umn.edu/benefits.

START DATE: Negotiable, after July 2019.

APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted and reviewed upon receipt until the position is
filled. Qualified applicants should apply online https://z.umn.edu/aquaticepidemiologist Job ID: 328738 Required documents include a curriculum vitae, a statement of research, outreach and teaching interests, a letter of intent outlining professional record and academic career goals, and names and contact information of three professional references. Inquiries about the application process and the position should be directed to the chair of the search committee, Dr.
Sagar Goyal (goyal001@umn.edu; 612-625-2714).