Postdoctor in Composition of Mediator in A. thaliana in stress responses

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 27 Jun 2021

Project description

The Department of Medical Chemistry and Biophysics is looking for a postdoctoral fellow for 2 years to study the composition of the Mediator Complex in Arabidopsis thaliana in response to various types of stress. The research group is part of the Chemical Biological Center ( and is affiliated to the Umeå Plant Science Center (; two stimulating research environments at Umeå University. We are looking for a motivated candidate to do research within the project "Evolutionarily conserved mechanisms for stress that converge on Mediator and chromatin structure" funded by the Foundation for Strategic Research.

Mediator is an evolutionarily preserved multiprotein complex that is essential for transcriptional regulation and plays an important role in the acclimatization of plants to stress. Mediator integrates external signals from different receptors and signal transduction pathways, by transmitting signals from promoter-bound transcription factors to RNA polymerase II (Pol II), leading to a balanced transcriptional stress response. Mediator is also involved in structural changes in chromatin structure. Several aspects of the function of the Mediator are still unknown, in particular questions about how specific Mediator subunits integrate different signaling pathways and how they transmit these signals to Pol II to regulate the expression of specific target genes. To understand the regulatory mechanisms of Mediator and to define plant stress response at several organizational levels, we will construct a holistic model of plant stress response to generate a dynamic and overall model of the signaling networks that control plant stress response.

The postdoctoral project is part of a larger interdisciplinary project, "Evolutionarily preserved mechanisms for stress that converge on Mediator and chromatin structure”. The project provides the opportunity for a challenging postdoctoral training where you will solve problems by using methods from biology and physics, use advanced technical platforms in the environment and by conducting research with other scientists and students in a dynamic and multidisciplinary environment.

The general composition of Mediator is relatively well evolutionarily conserved in eukaryotic cells, from yeast to humans. However, it is still unclear whether its composition is static or whether modules and individual subunits are rearranged in response to different types of stress. The candidate will use a combination of biochemical and structural methods to investigate whether the composition and function of Mediator in Arabidopsis thaliana changes in response to stress signaling.


The tasks include:

·       Generation of Arabidopsis thaliana cell lines expressing epitope-tagged versions of various mediator subunits.

·       Generation of Arabidopsis thaliana cell lines lacking various mediator subunits.

·       Biochemical purification of the mediator complex from the above cell lines after application of different types of stress.

·       Structural determination of the mediator complex purified from the above cell lines after application of different types of stress using cryo-electron microscopy.


The candidate must have a doctoral degree or equivalent in biochemistry or a related discipline. Eligible to be employed as a postdoctoral fellow is a person who has completed a doctoral degree or a foreign degree that corresponds to a doctoral degree. The degree should not be older than three years before the end of the application period. If there are special reasons, a candidate may be considered even if the doctoral degree is older than three years.

We are looking for highly motivated applicants with experience working with Arabidopsis thaliana. The applicant must also have documented experience of generating and characterizing different types of arabidopsis mutants, extensive laboratory experience using molecular and biochemical methods, of different types of biochemical purification of proteins, of work with abiotic and / or biotic stress in arabidopsis. Experience of purifying large protein complexes is an advantage. Previous experience of working with cryo-EM is an advantage.

The applicant must also have the ability to do research independently as well as in groups. Good knowledge of the English language is important.


The application must contain:

·       A letter describing your scientific background (max. An A4 page),

·       A CV with a complete list of publications,

·       Copies of relevant diplomas,

·       Names and contact details of at least two reference persons.

The application must be received via our e-recruitment system Varbi at the latest on 27th of June 2021. We welcome your application!


The employment is full-time and limited in time to 24 months. Access from Oktober 1st 2021, or by agreement.


For further information about this project, please contact Stefan Björklund at

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