PhD position: Discovery of novel regulators of the receptor of the plant stress hormone jasmonate

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

18 Oct 2017


VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

Alain Goossens Lab




The VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB) is a world-leading plant science institute located at the heart of a renowned Plant Biotech campus in 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 us at for more information.

The lab of Prof. Alain Goossens at PSB, also called the Specialized Metabolism Group, focuses on the characterization of plant signalling pathways that steer the biosynthesis of high-value bioactive metabolites in crop, medicinal and model plants.

Job description

The Goossens lab is looking to recruit 1 highly-motivated PhD student, who will be involved in a discovery program for novel regulators of the abundance and functioning of the receptor of the plant hormone jasmonate. This hormone plays a crucial role in the safeguarding of plant fitness and survival, by rapidly adapting developmental, growth, defence and metabolic programs to a 24-hour changing environment. Chemical and functional genomics screens will be employed to drive the discovery program and reveal novel insights in plant hormone perception and signalling. Simultaneously, this research aims to provide new tools for the engineering of jasmonate-modulated cellular programs, which include the engineering of plant growth and stress resistance and the production of high-value bioactive metabolites that are exploited by humans.

The ideal candidate will have a master degree in bio-engineering, biochemistry/biotechnology or molecular biology. The position is immediately available.



  • Master in bio-engineering science, (bio)chemistry, (molecular) biology or biotechnology with the equivalent of at least distinction (15/20 on the Belgian scale)
  • You can take initiative, function well in a team, and have a hands-on mentality, perseverance and critical mind-set
  • Proficient use of the English language for both oral and written communication

Desirable but not required:

  • A master thesis or past research activities in plant molecular biology will provide you with an advantage
  • A publication record in peer-reviewed journals in the field of ‘animal and plant sciences’ 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 performing high quality science on the jasmonate receptor, please use the online VIB application tool.

Make sure your application is a single pdf file, including:

  • A detailed CV
  • A one-page summary of past research activities (e.g. in bachelor or master projects)
  • A one-page letter of intent describing how your research experiences and interests are aligned with those of the lab and research topic.
  • The names and contact details of 3 referees.

The position will be allocated as soon as a suitable candidate is found.