PhD Student - Unravelling Temperature Signalling in Wheat

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

05 Dec 2018


VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

Ive De Smet Lab


About the Lab or Description

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. 

The Functional Phosphoproteomics group, led by Prof. Ive De Smet at PSB, tackles early temperature signalling in plants, such as the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the crop plant wheat. To unravel this, we focus on dynamic changes in protein phosphorylation status, since temporary and reversible phosphorylation of proteins is essential in regulating various processes. Through a phosphoproteomics approach, the lab has identified potential key regulators of thermomorphogenesis in A. thaliana and wheat, which are currently being functionally characterized.

Job description

The De Smet lab is looking to recruit 1 highly-motivated PhD student, who will be involved in elucidating the underlying signalling mechanisms that (1) play a role in balancing growth and physiological responses or (2) are associated with fertility at low and high temperature in wheat. 

The successful candidate will use a multidisciplinary approach, combining biochemistry (phosphoproteomics), cell biology (confocal microscopy), and plant genetics (functional characterization of key regulators). Overall, the PhD project will contribute to our understanding of how an environmental signal (temperature) is perceived by the plant and converted into developmental and physiological responses.



  • a master degree in bio-engineering, biochemistry/biotechnology or molecular biology
  • 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:

  • master thesis in protein biochemistry, cell biology and/or plant genetics will provide you with an advantage
  • experience with a monocot crop, ideally wheat, will be in your benefit
  • 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 temperature signalling in plants, 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 is available from February 1, 2019 on. Reviewing of applications will start 01/01/2019 and the position will be allocated as soon as a suitable candidate is found.