Postdoc chemical ecology of Streptomyces­­-plant interactions

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 04 Apr 2023

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The Faculty of Science / the Institute for Biology is looking for a:

Postdoc chemical ecology of Streptomyces¬¬-plant interactions 

Vacancy number: 23-189

Job description
Streptomyces bacteria produce a plethora of natural products, which we harness for clinical, biotechnological and agricultural applications.  Streptomycetes still have a vast reservoir of unexplored biosynthetic potential, but many biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) are not expressed in the laboratory. To bring the chemical dark matter to the light, we need to discover the keys to unlock the expression of cryptic BGCs. The project aims to understand and exploit the regulatory networks that control gene expression in Streptomyces bacteria and allow them to properly respond to major changes in the environment and to their plant host; we will then harness this knowledge to activate and identify novel antibiotics.  Chemical interactions between plants and Actinobacteria (in particular Streptomyces) will be analyzed as an approach to study how plant-derived molecules activate antibiotic production, suing state of the art systems biology and metabolomics approaches. This will provide insights into the regulatory networks that sense and respond to plant exudates.
You will study plant-Streptomyces interactions in vitro and in vivo, and to identify Streptomyces genes that respond to plant-derived signals, such as during infection by (fungal) pathogens. You will apply metabolomics and genomics technologies to identify bioactive molecules and their cognate biosynthetic gene clusters.

Qualifications and skills
•    PhD in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Chemical Ecology or similar
•    Microbiologist with proven expertise in plant-microbe interactions, metabolic analysis and an affinity for natural product chemistry
•    Affinity for systems biology, bioinformatics and regulatory networks
•    Excellent scientific writing and presentation skills
•    Team player with strong social skills, dedicated to innovative research combined with scientific curiosity
•    Excellent oral and written English communication skills

Research at our faculty
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future. 

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has almost 2800 staff and more than 6000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

For more information, see  and  

The Institute for Biology
The research within the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL) aims to work on the science base of biodiversity and health, which is reflected in our leading principle Harnessing Biodiversity for Health. We perform innovative curiosity-driven research to answer fundamental questions, and solutions-driven research to help solving major societal challenges. The latter include protecting nature’s biodiversity, creating sustainable biotechnology and agriculture and increasing good health. Our research focuses on four Research Themes: Bioactive Molecules, Host-Microbe Interactions, Development & Disease and Evolution & Biodiversity. Located in a thriving scientific environment with our Faculty of Sciences,  Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, the Leiden University Medical Centre and the Leiden Bioscience Park, IBL offers an exciting, internationally oriented and inclusive place to work and study.   

Terms and conditions  
We offer a 3 year full-time, fixed-term post. Salary range from € 2.960 to € 4.670 gross per month (pay scale 10, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. 

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Questions about this Postdoc position can be addressed to Gilles van Wezel  or to Mariana Avalos Garcia  

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to . Please ensure that you upload a single pdf file containing the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:
•    Motivation letter
•    CV
•    PhD diploma

Only applications received before 4 April 2023 can be considered.

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