Phd student, Molecular regulation of vascular development and wood formation in plants

Updated: about 1 month ago

The Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology is part of Umeå Plant Science Centre. Our main activities are academic research in experimental plant biology, where the major aim is to understand all aspects of plants in relation to the environment in which they live. 


Plant xylem tissues consist of vessel elements and fibers which deposit secondary cell walls as a part of their maturation. Lignin is an important cell wall component which reinforces the walls and confers a hydrophobic barrier that is crucial for water transport in the xylem vessels. We have recently shown that lignification is a cooperative process in which the lignin monomers are supplied to the lignifying cells by their neighboring cells. We have also identified parts of the molecular machinery that mediate the non-cell autonomous lignification of the xylem vessel elements. The PhD project will build on these results and focus on the role of two new genes in regulation of lignification with the help of various molecular, genetic and physiological methods. The project includes analysis of these genes on the DNA, RNA, and protein levels, functional assays in Arabidopsis, protein-protein interactions and transcriptional regulation. Many of the genetic tools are either already available or underway for the project. The results will be finally transferred to our Populus tree model in order to modify lignification in tree stems in a cell-specific manner. The applicant will be part of a larger group of PhD students and Post-Docs working in related projects. You as a PhD student will thus have great opportunities for collaboration with other researchers in related projects.


Successful applicant should possess a  Master's degree in biochemistry, biology, biotechnology  or equivalent. It is required that the applicant has previous experience in molecular biology and plants as an experimental system, knowledge of statistics in, for example, the programming language R, and excellent oral and writing skills in English. The applicant should show independence, ability to cooperate and function well in a strong research environment, interest in learning new things and willingness to individually develop the project in collaboration with the research group, and high motivation for postgraduate studies. Previous experience of lignification, Arabidopsis as a model system, cell cultures, genetics, genomics and bioinformatics are valuable merits.

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Employment 4 years

Starting date:

The start date is flexible but is expected to be between June and September 2020.


We welcome your application no later than 2020-04-30, 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.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at

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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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