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  3. PhD candidate in Plant Molecular Biology

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PhD candidate in Plant Molecular Biology

The research group Plant Physiology of the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS), the largest institute of the Faculty of Science, investigates the …

bijna 4 jaar geleden


Spui, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2266 - € 2897 per maand


The research group Plant Physiology of the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS), the largest institute of the Faculty of Science, investigates the molecular and physiological basis of plant signaling cascades in response to biotic stress . In this context we are seeking a PhD candidate for a project funded by TKI-U (Topsector Tuinbouw en Uitgangsmaterialen) and Rijk Zwaan to study the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of glandular trichomes and the regulation of volatile terpene production.

Glandular trichomes are multicellular structures, originating from epidermal cells that produce various food-, medicine- and agriculture-relevant chemicals. The glandular trichomes of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) are capable of making a diverse array of (specialized) metabolites. The type VI glandular trichomes of cultivated tomato make, amongst other metabolites, a bouquet of volatile mono- and sesquiterpenes, which are involved in the direct or indirect defense against herbivores. The biosynthesis of some of these terpenes is, upon herbivory, induced by the hormone jasmonic acid. How multicellular glandular trichomes develop is unknown and the regulation of volatile terpene biosynthesis remains enigmatic. We have identified a transcription factor from tomato that is, remarkably, not only involved in the initiation and development of type VI glandular trichomes but also in the regulation of volatile terpene biosynthesis.

You will be involved in elucidating the function of this tomato transcription factor further and to use the set of tools that we have developed to identify other molecular players of the network involved in regulating the development of type VI glandular trichomes and the biosynthesis of volatile terpenes. You will use transcriptome analyses, protein affinity assays, plant transformation, confocal microscopy and GC-MS analyses to identify and functionally analyse genes of interest. You will also test whether this knowledge can be used to improve resistance against herbivores. The position will be based in the lab of Robert Schuurink at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).


You should have an MSc in plant molecular biology and preferentially have experience in working with DNA, RNA, proteins and plant transformation. Affinity with specialized metabolites is appreciated but not essential. You should have excellent communication skills and be keen to work in collaboration with the breeding industry. You must be capable to work both independently and in a team and be highly motivated to pursue a scientific career.


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it can be extended to a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan, including attendance of courses and (international) meetings. You are also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduate students.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,266 in the first year to €2,897 in the last year. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Additional information

For further information about the position please contact:

Due to limitations in recruitment budget we will only consider candidates that are currently in Europe. Please do not respond if you are not in this continent.

Applications may only be submitted by using this link.

Your application must include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • the names and contact addresses of two academic referees from which information about the candidate can be obtained.

Please combine these documents in one single attachment and also mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

Applications will be accepted until 27 July 2018, interviews will be held in August 2018.