Postdoc researcher: Unravelling proteostasis machineries in jasmonate signalling in tomato

Updated: 5 months ago

About the lab

The group of Specialized Metabolism ( ), led by Prof. Alain Goossens at the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, is looking to recruit 1 junior postdoctoral researcher. The Goossens lab focuses on the characterization of plant signalling networks that steer plant specialized metabolism within tightly regulated fitness programs, in particular, those modulated by the phytohormone jasmonate and leading to the biosynthesis of bioactive specialized metabolites in crop, medicinal, and model plants.

The Department of Plant Systems Biology (PSB) belongs to the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) and the Ghent University (UGent), both equal opportunity employers. PSB is a world-leading plant science institute located at the heart of a renowned Plant Biotech campus in the lovely and lively city of Ghent, Belgium. Its mission is to integrate genetics, genomics and bio-computing to unravel plant biological processes and to further translate this knowledge into value for society. Please visit for more information.

Job description 

To survive in an ever-changing environment, plants need to constantly and adequately respond and adapt to numerous (a)biotic stressors. These responses are intimately related to the reprogramming of the metabolome and proteome landscape. During stress conditions, complex molecular mechanisms allow the cell to maintain and adapt the proteome and reach homeostasis. Equilibrium is reached by an interplay between biogenesis, folding, trafficking, and degradation of proteins. Autophagy, proteasomal, and vacuolar degradation routes, which involve a series of post-translational modifications, are pivotal protein degradation systems to ensure proteostasis within defence programs. 

Our molecular understanding of the proteostasis programs initiated within the signalling cascades modulated by the phytohormone jasmonate is still rather limited. To fill this knowledge gap, the candidate will be involved in a project that aims to study how and why jasmonate involves the unfolded protein response, endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation, and autophagy machineries. 

Through cutting-edge interactomics analysis and genome editing, the candidate will study these processes, using tomato as the model plant. The insights generated in this project will provide fundamental biological knowledge on the role and functioning of proteostasis in plant stress responses. Given the essential role of these molecular machineries in adaptation to heat, drought, and biotic stressors, this research will have a broad impact on the plant field and generate knowledge that will allow increasing plant climate resilience.



  • You have a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Bio-engineering, Plant Biotechnology, or equivalent.
  • You have excellent English communication skills (both oral and written).
  • You can plan and conduct research independently and accurately.
  • You can function well in a team as you will be integrated into the international collaborative research environment.
  • You can take initiative and have a hands-on mentality, perseverance, and critical mindset.
  • You have a keen interest in plant metabolism, protein homeostasis,   and hormone signalling.

Desirable but not required

  • Experience from Ph.D. research in hormone signalling, proteomics, and/or interactomics is an asset, as well as a publication record in peer-reviewed journals showing expertise in these areas.
  • Hands-on experience in proteomics, RNA sequencing, or other NGS workflows is an asset.
  • Experience in the guidance of master's and/or Ph.D. students is an asset.

We offer
  • A full-time post-doc position in the Goossens lab for 18 months, with a possibility to extend.
  • Access to state-of-the-art   tools and infrastructure within an excellence-based research institute
  • A stimulating and supportive international research environment
  • Various training opportunities to broaden your expertise and skills

How to apply?

If you are interested in studying complex proteostasis mechanisms modulated by phytohormones, please apply online (applications by email will not be considered).

Please include a single pdf in your application that combines the following elements:

  • a detailed CV including a publication list
  • a one-page summary of past research activities (e.g. in your Ph.D. project)
  • a letter describing your fascination for the topic and the Goossens lab
  • the contact information of two referees

The first review of applications will start immediately. A shortlist of applicants will be selected and invited for interviews.

The position is available from October 2023 onwards. Applications are welcome until the position is filled.

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