PhD Student Position / Ghent, VIB-UGent-Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB)

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  • Published date: June 7, 2019
    • Ghent, Belgium

The VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB) is a world-leading institute located at the Plant Biotechnology campus in Ghent, Belgium. Its mission is to unravel plant biological processes and translate this knowledge into value for society. To further unravel the molecular networks controlling meristemoid asymmetric cell division in the context of Arabidopsis leaf development, the Systems Biology of Yield group (Prof. Dr. Dirk Inzé) is looking for a PhD student.

The candidate will perform research on the PEAPOD-pathway focusing on Arabidopsis leaf development in collaboration with Dr. Alexandra Baekelandt, postdoctoral researcher in the group. Throughout the project, phenotypic analyses will be combined with transcriptomics, proteomics and genetic validation. For more information, contact Dr. Alexandra Baekelandt (

With the increasing world population, food resources become scarce and arable land area is decreasing. In addition, global crop production will need to increase to allow the required transition from a fossil towards a bio-based economy mitigating the effects of climate change. Leaves are a main source of plant energy and to increase crop productivity, a better understanding of the gene regulatory networks governing leaf growth is required. For leaf growth, a pivotal role is attributed to meristemoids, small triangular stem-cell like cells that are scattered throughout the leaf surface and differentiate into stomata. In Arabidopsis, a meristemoid cell produces up to 80% of the all cells constituting a leaf. The dicot specific PEAPOD-pathway is crucial to regulate the extent of meristemoid asymmetric division and therefore also cell number determination and final leaf size. Despite its importance for leaf development, the molecular players constituting the PEAPOD-pathway remain largely elusive. The aim of the proposed project is to further unravel and investigate the molecular players constituting the PEAPOD-pathway during plant organ growth and development, focusing on Arabidopsis leaves.

The candidate must hold a Master degree in Sciences: Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Bioscience Engineering or equivalent. The candidate should be highly motivated, self-critical, diligent and striving for excellence in research and should be able to work independently, as well as function as part of an international team. A good level of oral and writing skills (English) is required.

We offer a 4-year PhD position, starting from autumn 2019. The candidate will have access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure and will be part of a highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary and scientifically stimulating working environment. Various national/international conferences, symposia and courses will allow to broaden the candidate its expertise and skills.

Send your application by e-mail to Dr. Alexandra Baekelandt ( at the latest by July 7th. Your application should include a detailed CV, study grades, the names and contact details of at least two reference persons and a personal statement (English or Dutch). Potentially eligible candidates will be invited for an interview at the latest by July 15th. Applications are welcome until the position is filled.

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