1. Vacatures
  2. Universiteit Utrecht (UU)
  3. PhD position – Plant-microbiome interactions (1.0 FTE)

PhD position – Plant-microbiome interactions (1.0 FTE)

Are you fascinated by how the root microbiome can boost plant health and would you like to contribute to making future agriculture more sustainable?

ongeveer een maand geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


Plants recruit and nurture billions of microbes on their roots, the so-called root microbiome. In return, the root microbiome supports the plant by improving nutrient uptake, enhancing tolerance to environmental stress, and by providing protection against pests and diseases. Host microbiome research has emerged as a new imperative in Life Sciences. The realization that thousands of microbial species are an integral part of the biology of plant hosts and expand their genomic potential comes with great new opportunities for microbiome assisted agriculture. Exciting breakthroughs in this novel research field revealed that plants can "cry for help" from their root microbiota in response to leaf pathogen infection, or other types of stress, therewith alleviating the stress through microbiome encoded functions. These discoveries sparked a number of vital questions in host microbiome research: Which plant genes/traits optimize microbiomes for host-supporting health functions? What microbiome functions are recruited by stressed host plants and how do they improve plant performance? As part of your PhD research, you will investigate the molecular mechanisms of how plants recruit beneficial microbes to their root system in response to pathogen attack, and decipher which plant traits are involved in optimizing root microbiomes for improved host supporting health functions.


We are looking for a highly motivated and creative PhD candidate with:

  • a Master's degree or an international equivalent in the relevant fields of Biology or Plant Science;
  • research experience within the field of plant molecular biology;
  • a strong interest in host microbiome research;
  • excellent research and scientific writing skills;
  • excellent collaboration and communication skills (written and orally) in English;
  • a strong motivation to work in a multidisciplinary, international research team.


We offer a position (1.0 FTE) for four years in an international and interdisciplinary working environment and you will be provided with funding for research and training costs. This will provide you with an excellent basis and a strong network for a future career in the field of plant science and sustainable agriculture, in academia and industry. The gross salary ranges between €2,325 in the first year to €2,972 in the fourth year (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions. More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

Additional information

Do you have any questions that you would like an answer to first? No problem. Please contact Prof Corné Pieterse via c.m.j.pieterse@uu.nl.


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