PhD position 'the hormonal regulation of mitotic re-activation of differentiated plant cells'

Published on
January 12, 2021
Location Wageningen
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We are looking for

Are  you the biologist with interest in plant development potentially in response to the environment? Do you have affinity with plant hormones? Do you want to contribute to our fundamental research with potential impact on societal challenges and knowledge implementation in crops? Then we are looking for you!
We are looking to recruit a biologists with experience in plant science to join us at the laboratory of Molecular Biology of the Plant Science Group at Wageningen University.
Within the Laboratory of Molecular Biology of the Plant Science Group at Wageningen University, we are looking for a PhD student who is interested in unravelling the hormonal regulation of mitotic re-activation of differentiated plant cells. You will be part of a project funded by an NWO-VIDI grant starting from the first of April. 
More about the project
Plants have the remarkable capability of continuously re-activating organogenesis throughout their life. This can be seen in newly formed branches in shoot and root. However, this plasticity is still predetermined, as the site of new branches is already decided at an earlier stage of development when cells are still in an undifferentiated state. Remarkably, some plants show an even greater level of plasticity. Herein new axes of growth originate de novo from differentiated cells that regain mitotic activity. Root nodule formation in legumes is a good example of this de novo organ initiation. Here, fully differentiated cortical cells are mitotically re-activated to form a nodule.
You will use Medicago truncatula. In this model you will investigate developmental processes on a cell-type-specific level by combining highly-sensitive hormone profiling and high-throughput RNA sequencing technologies with cell-type-specific marker lines. Together we will pioneer generating the spatiotemporal hormonal-transcriptional network of de novo organ initiation and will provide novel insights into the processes controlling mitotic re-activation of differentiated (cortical) cells. 
More about the Laboratory of Molecular Biology 
The Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the Wageningen University is part of the newly formed cluster Plant Developmental Biology (PDB). The research of PDB focuses on plant development potentially in response to the biotic and abiotic environment. PDB brings together a group of highly motivated  international scientist with a broad spectrum of expertise that study plant development at various levels ranging from molecular interactions and signalling, cellular dynamics, stem cell development till organ formation and the response of plants to their environment. PDB carries out fundamental research with potential impact on societal challenges and knowledge implementation in crops.

We ask

The candidate is expected to:
  • Hold a MSc degree in Molecular Biology, Plant Physiology, Biotechnology or equivalent study,
  • be familiar or have affinity with mass spectrometry (Chromatography, HPLC, UPLC-MS/MS),
  • be a motivated team player with excellent research skills,
  • have very good communication skills and proficiency in English (a mininum of CEFR C1 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.

We offer

The PhD candidate will be supervised by Dr. Wouter Kohlen. The position will be embedded in the Plant Developmental Biology Cluster which will give access to a highly social, collaborative and scientifically stimulating work environment. Moreover, state-of-the-art tools and technologies will be available to the candidate as well as a broad spectrum of expertise ranging from plant developmental biology, molecular biology, cell biology, bioinformatics, and plant physiology. In addition, Dr. Kohlen is part of a larger international scientific network focussed on nodule organogenesis in which you will be able to participate. Together with various seminars and courses this will provide ample opportunity for scientific and personal development.

We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1 year with extension of 3 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2.395,- in the first year rising up to € 3.061,- per month in the fourth year. We not only offer a competitive salary but also good (study) leave and a pension of the ABP Pension Fund.

In addition, we offer:
  • 8% holiday allowance,
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%,
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions,
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible,
  • excellent pension plan through ABP,
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan,
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus.
  • A place where education, research and business are represented,for a small fee, make use of the sports facilities on campus.
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. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. 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, and other issues.

More information

Do you want more information?
For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Wouter Kohlen, Project manager, telephone: 0317 482 036 (secretary) or by email:
For more information about the procedure, please contact us by 
General information about the Laboratory of Molecular Biology  
Do you want to apply?
You can only 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. 
Please upload the following documents:
• Letter of motivation (including a brief outline of your research ideas related to the PhD project),
• Your CV, including two references and/or support letters.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including 29 January 2021. For this position we plan on having the interviews on the 20th and 22nd of February. We ask you to take this into account already.
Equal opportunities 
WUR is an equal opportunity employer. We are keen to receive applications from all sufficiently qualified people, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, functional impairment, religion/life philosophy, sexual orientation, or age. 

We are

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University and 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, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.
These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR: read the 6 reasons to come work at WUR
We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

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