PhD position @ the group of Specialized Metabolism - Goossens lab

Updated: 3 months ago

PhD: Characterization of the composition, functioning and role of transcription factor condensates in jasmonate signalling
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. With the acquired knowledge the Goossens lab aspires to create novel tools for plant metabolic engineering.

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.

Your project

Plants continuously need to integrate multiple environmental and developmental signals in complex signalling networks to activate the fitness programs that safeguard plant survival. The jasmonate hormones are essential signalling molecules in these networks. The main players in the canonical jasmonate signalling machinery seem largely resolved, yet several mechanistic aspects of JA signalling remain limitedly understood. In this project, the PhD candidate will employ cutting-edge protein-protein and protein-DNA interactomics technologies to further advance our understanding of jasmonate signalling, using tomato as a model. The candidate will specifically investigate transcription factor complex condensates that dynamically assemble following jasmonate perception and that steer the possible distinct outputs of the jasmonate signalling cascade in a spatiotemporal correct manner. Unravelling the composition, dynamics, functioning and role of these condensates will allow revealing new mechanistic paradigms in jasmonate signalling, and eventually in plant hormone signalling in general.

Together, this project will not only advance plant biology but will also accelerate the rational design of jasmonate signalling, for instance for improving crop resilience in a changing climate and sustainable production of bioactive specialized plant metabolites. This project is a collaborative project together with the renowned research group of Prof. Chuanyou Li, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, with which the candidate will also closely interact.

  • A master degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, bio-engineering, biotechnology or equivalent
  • You’re fascinated by plant hormone signalling, stress responses and/or plant metabolism
  • You can take initiative, function well in a team, breathe enthusiasm and have a hands-on mentality, perseverance and critical mind-set
  • Proficient use of the English language for both oral and written communication is a must
  • A master thesis or past research activities in plant molecular biology is an asset

We offer
  • A four year PhD grant according to the Belgian system
  • A working climate where trust, international collaboration, and commitment are essential
  • 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 carrying out a PhD on jasmonate signalling in plants, please complete the online application procedure and include

  • a detailed CV
  • a one-page summary of past research activities (e.g. in bachelor or master projects)
  • a letter describing your fascination for the topic and the Goossens lab
  • the contact information of two referees

The position is available immediately. Applications are welcome until the position is filled.

Applications by email will not be considered.

View or Apply

Similar Positions