PhD candidate in Plant Molecular Biology

Leiden University
March 15, 2023
Offerd Salary:€ 2541
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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The Faculty of Science / the Institute for Biology is looking for a :

PhD candidate in Plant Molecular Biology Vacancy number:23-129

Project description:

Transcription factors regulating drought-induced lignification in plants

Lignin is a plant biopolymer that is abundantly present in the cell walls of so-called lignified cells. Cell wall lignification occurs during cell differentiation and provides mechanical support to the plant body, facilitates long-distance water transport, or prevents water loss. Lignin molecules are most abundantly present inside the wood tissue produced by a layer of undifferentiated cells in the plant root or stem. The life cycle of woody species is generally much longer than that of herbaceous species, with slower growth and a more extended juvenile period before flowering. Thus, wood formation is linked to other developmental features, such as flowering time, but the genetic basis for the coupling of woodiness to other developmental aspects is yet unknown. Lignin (and wood) can also be induced by stress conditions, such as drought. However, the regulatory mechanisms underlying drought-induced lignification are mainly unknown.

The Ph.D. project led by Associate Prof. Dr. Salma Balazadeh aims to identify and study transcription factors and gene regulatory networks involved in drought-induced lignification/woodiness. Methods involve, besides others: yeast one-hybrid screens, the generation of transgenic and gene-edited (CRISPR-Cas9) plants, and omics-based technologies such as RNA-seq, ChIP- seq, and ATAC-seq. The Ph.D. thesis is embedded in WOODLIG, a consortium with six research groups that collaborate to study environmental and genetic drivers of wood and lignin formation in flowering plants.

Key responsibilities of the Ph.D. candidate:

  • Plan and conduct research activities (incl. establishing new molecular techniques)
  • Write manuscripts for publication of significant research results
  • Present research at workshops and international conferences
  • Co-supervise graduate students
  • Key criteria for the assessment of the PhD candidate

  • Master's degree in biotechnology, plant molecular biology, genome research, or related areas
  • Experience in working with plants
  • Profound theoretical knowledge and experience in molecular biology, plant abiotic stress biology
  • Experience in bioinformatics
  • Language skills: fluency in English writing and speaking required
  • Good organizational skills
  • Research at our faculty The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

    The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio- pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor's and twelve master's programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2800 staff and almost 6000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden's Bio Science Park, one of Europe's biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

    For more information, see https: // www. and https: //

    The Institute for Biology The research within the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL) aims to work on the science base of biodiversity and health, which is reflected in our leading principle Harnessing Biodiversity for Health. We perform innovative curiosity- driven research to answer fundamental questions, and solutions-driven research to help solving major societal challenges. The latter include protecting nature's biodiversity, creating sustainable biotechnology and agriculture and increasing good health. Our research focuses on four Research Themes: Bioactive Molecules, Host-Microbe Interactions, Development & Disease and Evolution & Biodiversity. Located in a thriving scientific environment with our Faculty of Sciences, Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, the Leiden University Medical Centre and the Leiden Bioscience Park, IBL offers an exciting, internationally oriented and inclusive place to work and study.

    Terms and conditions We offer a full-time 1 year term position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2541 to € 3247 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

    Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

    All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science https: // www. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

    Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

    Information Enquiries can be made to Salma Balazadeh ([email protected]). If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Sylvia Maas ([email protected]).

    Applications To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to [email protected] Please ensure that you upload a single pdf file containing the following documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • Cover letter (motivate your reason to apply for the position and highlight your background in plant molecular biology research)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Copy of higher education diploma
  • Two reference letters
  • Only applications received before 15 March 2023 can be considered.

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