Postdoc in Biophysics of Photosynthesis

Published on
May 24, 2023
Location Wageningen
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Your job

Are you a postdoc candidate with a fundamental interest in photosynthetic light acclimation in plants? Do you have a background in protein biochemistry, fluorescence microscopy and/or biophysics? Would you like to work together in a multi-disciplinary team of researchers? We have a vacancy for a postdoc position on investigating light acclimation of plants with the use of advanced optical microscopy and mass spectrometry. 

You will be part of an NWO Vidi project, together with other researchers you will investigate how plants adapt their photosynthetic light-harvesting machinery to the ever changing light conditions. To answer this question you will:

  • analyze the thylakoid architecture and dynamics of Arabidopsis mutant plants, that have altered charges on the major light-harvesting complex (LHCII);
  • use spectroscopic (PAM, fluorescence spectroscopy), microscopic (confocal microscopy, electron microscopy) and biochemical methods (SDS-PAGE, differential centrifugation);
  • perform additional experiments with advanced microscopy setups in the Wageningen MicroSpectroscopy Research Facility (;
  • analyze complex data;
  • collaborate with other members of the Laboratory of Biophysics (more information on our team can be found at;
  • disseminate your results by writing articles for leading peer-reviewed journals and presenting at international conferences. 

Background information:
Light drives photosynthesis and as such powers life on earth. In the field plants need to cope with constantly changing light conditions. This requires a flexible photosynthetic machinery. Light energy is converted into chemical energy in the thylakoid membrane, composed of lipids, proteins and pigments. The thylakoid structure and organisation can dynamically switch to optimize light harvesting and maintain efficient photosynthesis under different light intensities and spectra. At present it is unclear how the thylakoid structure is regulated and which factors control the changes in its organisation and architecture. The research team will use a combination of microscopy, spectroscopy, molecular biology and biochemistry, to reveal how the thylakoid structure is controlled at the molecular level. The main focus of this postdoc project is to unravel the role of the major light-harvesting complex (LHCII) in dynamically structuring the photosynthetic thylakoid membrane.  The goal is to provide new key insights into the adaptation of the thylakoid machinery to different light conditions.

Your qualities

  • a PhD degree in biochemistry, biophysics and/or optical microscopy;
  • experience with designing and independently performing experiments;
  • experience in the field of advanced optical spectroscopy or protein biochemistry, preferably with applications to plants;
  • excellent skills in data analysis and analysis of complex problems;
  • excellent communication, presentation, and writing skills.
In our international working environment there is an increasing amount of communication in English. For this position it is about language level C2. If you do not yet have this level, we will of course help you and you can go to our language center Wageningen in'to Language
You can see that there are plenty of challenges ahead of you. These challenges can also be seen as development opportunities. So if you do not yet have the track-record required in the vacancy, but do have solid work experience, we would also like to invite you to apply.

We offer you

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between €2.960,- and €4670,- for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10).). Initially, we offer you a one-year contract, which will then be extended to an open-ended contract if there is mutual enthusiasm. Of course, we would be happy to discuss this with you if you have any questions.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.
Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Emilie Wientjes, Assistant Professor in the Laboratory of Biophysics. Telephone +31317485129 or by e-mail:
For more information about the procedure, please contact Rutger Voorrips, recruiter. Telephone: +31 317 480571 or by e-mail:

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including Wednesday June 14th 2023. We hope to schedule the first job interviews early July 2023.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

You will work here
Please have a look at the website of the Laboratory of Biophysics for more info about the department.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

Apply now