PhD position in systems biology of oxygen sensing in pome fruit

Updated: 12 months ago
Deadline: 05 Dec 2016

Job posted by KU Leuven (10/11/2016 03.00)
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For the Division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS) we are looking for a motivated PhD candidate to study the mechanism of oxygen sensing in apple fruit during storage.


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.

When the oxygen availability in a plant cell decreases, its respiratory activity decreases and the cell switches to a fermentation metabolism. Man has taken advantage of this when storing fruit and vegetables by trying to suppress the metabolism by low oxygen without inducing the detrimental stresses associated with fermentation conditions. While gas transport limitations inside the fruit tissue directly affects its metabolic activity, active regulation of the metabolism may also play a role. This implies the presence of an oxygen sensor response system which indeed has been recently discovered in Arabidopsis thaliana. Based on our own transcriptomics study we have evidence for this sensor protein also being expressed in apple fruit during postharvest storage. This creates a potential pivotal role for the oxygen sensor during the postharvest storage of apple fruit.

The aim of your PhD is to investigate the signaling mechanisms initiated by the putative oxygen sensor in pome fruit in response to low oxygen conditions.

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.

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Reference number BAP-2016-587
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

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