A postdoctoral position is available for three years in the field of molecular biology of plant pathogen interactions with the Max Planck research group “Environmental Genomics” headed by Prof. Eva H. Stukenbrock. The Max Planck group is affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön and the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel in the North of Germany. The position is compensated at TV-L 13 (depending on qualifications), covers 38,7h/week and includes teaching.
Start of the position is January 2016.
We study the evolution and specialization of pathogens to new hosts and new environments, and integrate functional and experimental analyses with evolutionary genomics and transcriptome analyses to dissect the adaptive processes in plant pathogens. The project outlined for this post doc position aims at understanding the underlying molecular basis of host specialization of a fungal plant pathogen. As model system we use a group of closely related grass pathogens, Zymoseptoria spp., including the prominent wheat pathogen Z. tritici. Using evolutionary genomics and comparative transcriptome analyses, we have identified a number of candidate genes, which may have been instrumental for the specialization to distinct grass hosts. This includes genes, which have either diverged extremely between pathogen species, or genes, which show host-specific gene regulation. So far the functional role, of these genes as host determinants is unknown, but will be addressed in the research conducted by the post doc candidate. The post doc candidate will design and apply functional and experimental approaches to dissect the role of candidate genes in Zymoseptoria spp. The study will include the characterization of fungal mutants as well as the role of candidate proteins in host infection. A central goal will be to identify target proteins in the host to link protein function to evolutionary changes in sequences or expression patterns among pathogen species.
The candidate must have a PhD degree in molecular or cell biology or biochemistry and must have a proven record of independent research. Experience with functional genetic studies and fungal transformation are required. Experience in protein-protein interaction assays (e.g. yeast two-hybrid assays), confocal microscopy and phenotypic assays with plant pathogens are desirable. Good presentation, writing, computing and organizational skills and the ability to work independently are a must.
The selected candidate will have the opportunity to collaborate in an interdisciplinary team of biologists (molecular biologists, evolutionary biologists and population geneticists) as well as to pursue unique research in the field of molecular plant-pathogen interactions. For further information regarding the position please contact Eva Stukenbrock (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The University strives for a high proportion of women in research and teaching. Applications from qualified female scientists are therefore particularly encouraged. Applications from candidates with migration background are welcome. Disabled persons will be given preference in filling vacancies within the existing legal provisions if equally qualified.
Stukenbrock EH, Bataillon T, Duthei JY, Hansen TT, Li R, Zala M, McDonald BA, Wang J, Schierup MH (2011). The making of a new pathogen: Insights from comparative population genomics of the domesticated wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola and its wild sister species. Genome Research 21.12 (2011): 2157-2166
Poppe, Stephan, et al. “Rapidly Evolving Genes Are Key Players in Host Specialization and Virulence of the Fungal Wheat Pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici (Mycosphaerella graminicola).” PLoS Pathog 11.7 (2015): e1005055.
Dong, Suomeng, et al. “Effector specialization in a lineage of the Irish potato famine pathogen.” Science 343.6170 (2014): 552-555.
Application Interested candidates should send a motivation letter including a description of current research directions, an up-to-date CV (excluding photo), together with the names and the contact information of at least two references to Eva H. Stukenbrock as pdf. Application deadline is November 13th, 2015.