Postdoctoral Researcher in Plant Structural Biology

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

21 Jun 2018

Ghent

VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

Daniël Van Damme Lab

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About the 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 www.psb.ugent.be for more information.

Within the framework of an ERC Consolidator grant, Professor Daniel Van Damme’s laboratory at PSB focuses on elucidating the mechanism of endocytosis at the plasma membrane in plants. Using cell biological and structural approaches, we aim to identify and elucidate the recruitment of the endocytic players at the PM, map interactions among them, and investigate how cargo is being recognized. We largely focus on the TPLATE adaptor complex (TPC) as central player in plant endocytosis. The TPC has its evolutionary origin in between the emergence of COPI and the functional specification of the AP complexes. While the TPC remained essential for plants, it was evolutionary lost in yeasts and animal cells, indicating that endocytosis operates differently in plants (Gadeyne et al., Cell 2014: Hirst et al., Elife 2014).

We are combining cell biology, interactomics (tandem affinity, cross linking and bio-ID), modeling, (sub)complex as well as protein domain purification and XL-MS to gain insight into how this complex is built and what its interaction partners are.

 Job description

The laboratory (https://www.psb.ugent.be/advanced-live-cell-imaging) is looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher, who will be involved in characterizing the TPLATE complex at the structural level. The overall aim of the project is to advance our structural insight of the TPC as well as specific domains of this complex using crystallography, NMR and/or cryo-EM. The project will consist of setting up and/or optimizing production in various host systems (e.g. E coli strains or sf9 cells) of specific recombinant domains of TPC subunits as well as to use various tools to express and purify the complex from plant host systems such as plant cell cultures (Arabidopsis and tobacco BY-2) by combining tag-assisted purification with fluorescence-detection size exclusion chromatography (F-SEC).

The position is available from fall 2018, with the start date to be negotiated with the suitable candidate.

Profile

Essential

  • PhD in (plant) Biochemistry, (plant) Structural Biology, or equivalent
  • A publication record in peer-reviewed journals showing expertise in the areas of structural biology and biochemistry
  • Willingness to actively work with plants as host systems
  • Knowledge on working with advanced cloning strategies
  • To take initiative, to function well in a team, to possess a critical mind, to have determination and perseverance
  • Proficient in the English language for both oral and written communications

Highly desirable but not absolutely required

Expertise in and interest towards plant-based research

We offer

  • A 2-year postdoctoral position with possibility for prolongation
  • A working climate, in which trust and commitment are essential.
  • Access to state-of-the art tools and structural biology infrastructure including cryo-EM through collaborations with the Savvas Savvides lab (VIB/UGent) and the Rouslan Efremov lab (VIB/VUB) within our excellence-based research VIB institute as well as access via international collaborations with for example research groups of the CEITEC Institute in Brno, Czech Republic.
  • 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 in plant biology, please use the online VIB application tool.

Make sure your application includes:

  • A detailed CV
  • A one-page summary of your past research activities
  • A one-page letter of intent describing how your research experience and interests are in line with those of the laboratory and the research topic.
  • The names and contact details of two to three referees.

Applications by email will not be considered.

A first review of applications will start immediately. A short list of applicants will be selected based on the CV and motivation letter. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interviews. Applications are welcome until the position in filled.