Are you an enthusiastic researcher in search of an interesting PhD project in the area of plant-insect interactions? Within the framework of an ambitious collaborative project, we aim to develop sustainable virus resistance in crops following a multi-layered strategy to reduce the rate of evolution and transmission of tospoviruses. We are looking for a PhD candidate with an interest in molecular plant research and the interaction of host plants with insects that vector plant viruses. Are you intrigued by how thrips uses RNA-effectors to manipulate plant defences and how the virus infection affects this interaction? In this PhD project we aim to determine the smallRNome involved in the plant-insect interactions and determine whether manipulation of the plant targets alters the success of thrips proliferation and virus transmission. This project will be executed in close collaboration with three PostDocs and with industry. You will be embedded in an interdisciplinary team that aims to provide breeding solutions for devastating plant diseases by studying the underpinning mechanisms at the molecular level, using state-of-the-art technologies.
What are you going to do
You are expected to:
- work independently yet in collaboration on complementary projects;
- work with plants, insects and viruses and to perform bioassays;
- develop the analysis pipelines to identify the plant targets of insect small RNAs (SRNAs) and vice versa how the host plant employs sRNAs to target the insect;
- invesitgate the molecular interaction based on small RNAs in detail, using molecular tools;
- to be active and eager in research and construbtive in collaborations;
- to take part in scientific and social activities with other members of the research departments and the institute.
What do we require
- A MSc degree in molecular biology focused on Plant sciences, with a research thesis in that direction.
- Trained in molecular biology experimental work including, PCR and cloning, microscopy.
- Affinity for bioinformatics and sequence analysis and preferably master (R-based) scripting.
- Knowledge and experience in epigenetics and post-transcriptional regulation is valued.
- Experience or willingness to work with plants and insects is key.
- The candidate should have affinity towards implementation of findings and is willing to work in collaborations between academic and industry partners.
- The PhD candidate should have excellent communication skills, excel in teamwork and is highly motivated to conduct scientific research.
- The candidate exhibits curiosity, drive and enthusiasm and displays a readiness to learn and participate in scientific discussion.
- Fluency in English, both written and spoken, as evidenced in MSc theses.
A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting on 1 March 2022, for the duration of four years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended to a total duration of four years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and Masters students.
Based on a full-time contract (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,434 in the first year to €3,111 (scale P) in the last year. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.
Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.
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The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.
The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the largest institutes in the Faculty of Science that performs research on four different themes: Microbiology, Neurobiology, Cell and Systems biology and Green Life Sciences (GLS) The research in the GLS departments aims at understanding, at a molecular level, of how plants deal with biotic and abiotic constraints, how they interact with insects, microbes and other organisms and how plants diversified in evolution. The position adverted here is to take part in a collaborative project between four PIs of two research groups within GLS: Molecular Plant Pathology and Plant Physiology. The PhD position is embedded in the department of Plant Physiology. The mission of the Plant Physiology department is to elucidate signal transduction pathways employed in biotic interactions focusing on the role of metabolites. With an omics toolbox we aim to identify metabolites, genes and proteins in plants and insects that are important for their interactions.