PhD in metabolic flux analysis of pear fruit respiration

Updated: 10 months ago
Deadline: 05 Dec 2016

Job posted by KU Leuven (10/11/2016 03.00)
Marie Curie Actions. More
'HR Excellence in Research' logo awarded to institutions actively implementing the European Charter and Code for Researchers. More
European Research Council. More

For the Division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS) we are looking for a motivated PhD candidate to study the regulation of the central metabolism of pear fruit through metabolic flux analysis.


The lab of Prof. Nicolai consists of a team of young, dynamic and enthousiastic researchers that investigates the physiology of perishable fruits and vegetables after harvest. We offer a stimulating work environment for those who are interested in scientific research on the verge of fundamental and applied research, with a high relevance to making a more sustainable world. KU Leuven is a world-class university and ranked 35 on the Times Higher Eduction World University Rankings.
Pear fruit are often stored in low oxygen conditions to reduce their respiration and thus extend their storage life while avoiding fermentation. Recently we have found indications for the existence of a regulatory system at the transcriptomic or posttranslational level inducing a dynamic adaptation of the central metabolism that reduces respiration even more than expected from the obvious substrate inhibition mechanism at the level oft he oxidative phosphorylation.

The aim for your PhD will be to unravel the mechanisms responsible for the regulation of the central metabolism of pear fruit with experimental work on transcriptomics and metabolomics changes taking place during the conditioning of pear cell cultures and tissue disks. You will use 13C metabolic flux analysis to estimate fluxes in the main respiratory pathways, and carry out RNAseq to investigate changes in gene expression. From your data you will be able to develop more realistic and accurate kinetic pathway models for pear respiration.

Nr of positions available : 1

Please note that the full description may be available in the national language since some job boards have their own publication policy. Thank you for your understanding!

Research Fields

Biological sciences - Botany

Career Stage

Early stage researcher or 0-4 yrs (Post graduate)

Research Profiles

Not defined


The lab offers you a 4 year PhD position. The lab will support you in all aspects in order to successfully obtain a PhD degree and a proper scientific training. You will be given opportunities to participate at national and international meetings.Leuven is a small city in the heart of Europe close to Brussels with a rich historic background. With more than 40 000 students it provides a vibrant environment for both research and living.

Comment/web site for additional job details

Reference number BAP-2016-588
The lab is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with a strong background in plant science and molecular and biochemical techniques. You are eager to become part of a an international interdisciplinary team to perform cutting-edge research.You have a critical mind and you are willing to learn new techniques. You are required to have a Master degree (or equivalent) in Bioscience Engineering,Biology or Biochemistry.
For more information please contact Dr. Maarten Hertog, tel.: +32 16 32 23 76, mail:
You can apply for this job no later than 05/12/2016 via the online application tool

To better plan and organise their stay in a foreign European country, researchers and their families can also benefit of the free and personalised assistance offered by the EURAXESS Services Centres , a network of more than 200 centres located in 40 different European countries.

View or Apply

Similar Positions