Postdoctoral Researcher in Plant Cell Biology

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

07 Aug 2019


VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

Daniël Van Damme Lab



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 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. By combining 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 and internalized. 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 proximity biotinylation), modeling, recombinant (sub)complex as well as protein domain purification and XL-MS to gain insight into how this complex is built, what its interaction partners are and how it functions.

 Job description

The laboratory ( is looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to investigate and characterize the interplay between endocytic events at the plasma membrane and autophagosomal degradation in Arabidopsis. Recent observations show that over-expression of AtEH1 or AtEH2, both members of the octameric TPC, induces an autophagy pathway in planta.  In addition, several players of the endocytic machinery, including AP-2 and TPC subunits, as well as clathrin, are recruited to these autophagosomes and delivered to the vacuole (Wang & Pleskot et al., under revision at Nature Communications).

The current project aims to characterize this newly identified degradation route in detail as well as mechanistically elucidate the role of the TPC and the endocytic machinery in this pathway (e.g. as cargo and/or as machinery).  This will also include combining high-end interactomics and cell biological approaches to determine the cargo proteins as well as their origin.

The position is immediately available, with the exact start date to be negotiated with the suitable candidate.



  • PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Bio-engineering, or equivalent
  • A publication record in peer-reviewed journals showing clear expertise in the areas of plant cell biology, confocal microscopy and plant biochemistry
  • To take initiative, to be a team player, and to possess a critical mind, determination and perseverance
  • Proficient in the English language for both oral and written communications

Desirable but not required

  • Expertise in plant autophagy

We offer

  • A 2-year postdoctoral position with possibilities for prolongation
  • A vibrant working climate, in which 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 in plant cell biology, please use the online VIB application tool.

Make sure your application includes:

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

Applications by e-mail 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.