Postdoctoral researcher: Unravelling jasmonate signalling through single cell technologies

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

09 Sep 2020


VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology

Alain Goossens 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.

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 balance between growth and defence, in particular those mediated by the phytohormone jasmonate and leading to the biosynthesis of bioactive specialized metabolites.

Your project

The candidate will be involved in an exciting project that will employ a set of single cell technologies to visualise and map the regulatory networks that modulate the response of the model plant Arabidopsis to the stress hormone jasmonate. We have already carried out a high-resolution scRNA-seq analysis on Arabidopsis roots treated with jasmonate, which provides a view on the action of this vital hormone at an unpreceded resolution. The candidate will take part in the follow-up of this exciting project, first by extensive mining of our scRNA-seq dataset, to define cell type-specific JA-modulated programs and networks, and their associated regulators. As part of the downstream analysis, the candidate will generate novel reporter, overexpression or genome-edited Arabidopsis lines, that will untangle how for instance specialized metabolism pathways are specifically regulated at the single cell level, thereby using cutting-edge fluorescence microscopy, metabolomics and interactomics technologies.

In parallel the candidate will participate in the generation of novel CRISPR/Cas based genetic tools (specifically for CRISPRi and CRISPRa) to unravel and modulate plant hormone signalling pathways and cellular programs, particularly those steering the growth-defence trade-off. Such tools will be of great value for the whole plant research community.

Together, this project will lead to the identification of jasmonate-modulated regulators that steer plant specialized metabolism in a cell-specific manner, which in turn will allow defining novel strategies to engineer sustainable plant-based production of high-value metabolites.


  • PhD in Plant Biotechnology, plant biochemistry or plant molecular biology
  • Strong interest or hands-on experience in bioinformatics, (single cell) RNA sequencing or other NGS workflows is an asset
  • 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
  • Experience in guidance of master and/or PhD students is an asset

We offer

  • A full time post-doc position in the Goossens lab for 1 year, with a possibility to extension to 2 years
  • 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 unravelling the jasmonate signalling cascade via single cell technologies, please complete the online application procedure and include a detailed CV (incl. list of publications), a motivation letter, and the contact information of three referees.

The position is immediately available. Applications are welcome until the position is filled.

Applications by email will not be considered.