Within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847585, University of Zurich is offering a 36-month PhD position for an early-stage researchers (ESR) in in the area of sustainable food systems.
We are looking for a PhD student to work on novel families of phytocytokines and test their potential use as biostimulants.
Our group has recently identified several novel families of plant peptides that act as phytocytokines (i.e. endogenous peptides that modulate stress responses). The project will involve the further characterization of these peptides, including deciphering the molecular basis of their perception and function(s) in immunity (and beyond).
Our laboratory if world-leading in the study of plant receptor kinases, their ligands, and downstream signaling processes [see Nature Reviews Immunology (2016) 16:537; Science (2017) 355:287; Nature (2018) 561:248; Nature (2019) 572:270; Nature (2020) doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2702-1] for recent references relevant to this topic. The successful candidate will join a dynamic, multidisciplinary and international research group: see https://www.botinst.uzh.ch/en/research/plantsensing/zipfel.html .
A planned secondment of a total of 12 months at Syngenta Crop Protection AG is part of this project. During this secondment, the ESR will test efficacy of synthetic plant peptides on crop tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. To achieve this, the ESR will be working closely with Dr. Kathrin Hermann and Dr. Dirk Balmer.
The anticipated results/outcomes of this project are a better understanding of the mode-of-action of plant peptides and an evidence-based assessment of their use as biostimulants to improve stress tolerance in crops. The results will be communicated with the scientific community, policy-makers and the general public in relevant formats.
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