Phd student at UPSC, Mechanics and Dynamics of Cell to Cell Adhesion in Plants

Updated: about 1 month ago

The Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology was founded in the late 1970s - when the College of Forestry moved to Umeå. The number of employees has since grown steadily is now around 100, including postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students. In the late 1990s it was decided to join with the Department of Plant Physiology at Umeå University to form a research center, Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC). The Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology moved into the premises adjacent to the partner department and together have developed a close and successful collaboration on research issues, technology platforms, and training of master's and doctoral level students. The international element within UPSC is large, with over 40 nationalities represented.

The department conducts introductory and advanced training in plant physiology, ecophysiology, plant molecular biology, forest genetics and forest biotechnology within the Forestry program and at the master level.

The department offers postgraduate studies in biology, specializing in plant physiology, ecophysiology, plant molecular biology and forest genetics. Postgraduate courses are generally held in cooperation with the Department of Plant Physiology.
For more information about the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology and UPSC visit


All living organisms experience physical stress, and notably tensions, as tissues grow. Adhesion between cells provides resistance to
such forces and maintains the integrity of the organism. In turn, adhesion can be modulated, e.g. to promote cell migration in animals or
organ shedding in plants. The relation between tension and adhesion is a fundamental question in the development of multicellular
organisms, yet it remains largely under-studied in plants.
The project builds on previous work on the genetics (Verger et al., 2016, Development, doi: 10.1242/dev.132308) and mechanics
(Verger et al., 2018, eLife, doi: 10.7554/eLife.34460) of cell adhesion in plants. It will extend to the role of mechanosensing,
cytoskeleton dynamics and cell wall secretion, integrating novel and interdisciplinary approaches, including live imaging, cell wall
analysis, genetics, biophysical tools and computational modeling, both on Arabidopsis and Poplar.

The long term goal of the project is to uncover the many implications of cell to cell adhesion in plant development, from the bases of
plant multicellularity, to the integration of supracellular mechanical cues in the molecular processes behind plant morphogenesis.


To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed
course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent
education from overseas, or equivalent qualifications. To fulfil the entry requirements the successful candidate also must have completed
90 ECTS credits with relevance to biology. Out of this, at least 15 ECTS credits has to be in a subject closely related to the research topic
of the graduate program as well as an independent project work of at least 15 ECTS credits in an area relevant for the project.
The applicant should have a strong interest for biophysics, a background in plant cell and molecular biology. Previous experience with
confocal microscopy, image and data analysis, and working with Arabidopsis is desirable.
The successful candidate is expected to have good social skills and the ability to do research independently, as well as in a team.
Furthermore, good oral and writing skills in English are essential qualifications.

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Employment 4 years

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We welcome your application no later than 2021-06-27, use the button below.

A person has basic eligibility for third cycle education if he or she has taken a second cycle qualification or has completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 higher education credits at second cycle education. Upper secondary school grades equivalent to English B/English 6 are a basic requirement.

Selection among applicants meeting the requirements is made with reference to written application including curriculum vitae, copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, one copy of the dissertation for masters or undergraduate degree, a list of at least two references familiar with the applicant's qualifications, certified knowledge of the English language and an interview.

Please observe that applicant/s chosen to participate in an interview shall hand in certified true copies of certificates, diplomas and transcripts from previous studies at an internationally recognized higher education institution (university or university college) and transcripts in connection to the interview. If the applicant is a foreign citizen we require a certified copy of the page in your passport with your personal data and photography.

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The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programmes in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science and landscape architecture.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala.

SLU is an equal opportunity employer.

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