Phd Offer: Dissecting Chromatin Mechanisms Of Tomato Drought Priming

Universities and Institutes of France


July 30, 2022


  • Organisation/Company: Université Clermont Auvergne
  • Research Field: Biological sciences › Biology
  • Researcher Profile: First Stage Researcher (R1)
  • Application Deadline: 30/07/2022 17:00 - Europe/Athens
  • Location: France › Clermont-Ferrand
  • Type Of Contract: Temporary
  • Job Status: Full-time
  • Hours Per Week: 35
  • Reference Number: GTCE-2022-AP
  • Supervisor

    Dr. Aline PROBST (CNRS UMR6293 - INSERM U1103 – iGReD, UCA)

    Email addresses: &


    Dr. Serena Varotto, Plant Genetics and Breeding laboratory, University of Padova, Italy

    Scientific question

    The aim of the project is to investigate the molecular mechanisms that underpin environmental stress memory, specifically drought stress memory, at the level of chromatin and nuclear organization.


    Water scarcity, which is exacerbated by climate change, is one of the major constraints to global agriculture. Plants, as sessile organisms, can cope with water limitation and avoid negative consequences for their growth and development by activating physiological and biochemical stress responses and adaptations at the cellular and organismal levels. During stress response and adaptation, chromatin regulatory mechanisms and epigenetic memory mechanisms play a critical role in integrating environmental conditions and appropriate developmental programs.

    Objectives and methodology

    This thesis project will rely on tomato as semi-model system, using both a drought-sensitive cultivated tomato genotype and a drought-tolerant introgression line. Tomato plants will be subjected to a recurrent drought stress protocol and the impact of the stress evaluated by quantifying biometric, physiological and biochemical parameters after a first (priming) and a recurrent stress. How nuclear and chromatin organization are affected by drought stress and in response to priming will then be assessed at three levels combining the expertise of the two host laboratories: i) nuclear organization by microscopy and specific image analysis methods, ii) transcriptome changes by mRNA and small RNA-seq and iii) chromatin organization using Chromatin Immunoprecipitation and Assay for Transposase- Accessible Chromatin coupled to sequencing.

    We expect to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the response of tomato plants to water stress to develop more accurate predictive models of how tomato adapts to single and recurrent water stress in the context of a changing climate and to identify alleles and epialleles that can be exploited to optimize agronomic management of water stress.

    Eligibility criteria

    Master Degree in Biological Sciences, grades equivalent to at least 12/20 in the French system.

    This PhD research will be conducted in close collaboration with Dr. Serena Varotto. The candidate must be willing to travel to Italy in order to work with Dr. Serena Varotto at the University of Padova.

    Selection process

    Clermont Auvergne University, Clermont-Ferrand, France and its Clermont Auvergne Project Graduate School (CAP GS) programme offer a PhD opportunity that will be conducted in partnership between Clermont Auvergne University and a foreign research Institution. The associated Changing Environments Graduate Track presents three PhD proposals published on EURAXESS, of which one only will be funded. The selection process will take all applications into consideration. The best fitting candidate will be invited to an audition in September. The laureate will do her/his research on the selected topic at the PhD supervisor's research laboratory at Clermont Auvergne University in Clermont-Ferrand in co-tutelle with the university of Padova.

    Applicants who have earned their higher educational qualifications outside Europe or in Greece must attach to their application a certificate of equivalence of the diploma (Master degree). The certificate can be obtained following the procedure indicated here: https: //

    Applicationn deadline: 30th of July, 5 pm Paris time, 2022. Applications arriving after the application deadline will not be taken into consideration.

    Additional comments

    Applications should include a cover letter indicating your motivation and relevant research experience, a detailed curriculum vitae, academic transcripts and contact information for at least two referees. Please send the application via Email to : Dr. Aline Probst (

    PhD studies will start in November 2022. A salary will be paid for 3 years (36 months).

    Additional funding of 15,000 euros for travel expenses between Clermont- Ferrand and the foreign co-supervisor's research laboratory is available.

    Offer Requirements Skills/Qualifications

    Applicants should have obtained a Master degree (or equivalent) in Biological Sciences/Biotechnology/Agriculture. Experience in molecular biology and bioinformatics would be appreciated.Master 2 or equivalent, grades equivalent to at least 12/20 in the French system

    Specific Requirements

    Master 2n year or equivalent, grades equivalent to at least 12/20 in the French system.

    As the PhD will be conducted between France and Italy; applicants should at least have an excellent English level.

    Biological Sciences / 1-4 months research experience

    Contact Information
  • Organisation/Company: Université Clermont Auvergne
  • Department: Institut Sciences de la vie, Santé, Agronomie, Environnement - Changing Environments Graduate Track
  • Organisation Type: Higher Education Institute
  • Website: https: // www.
  • E-Mail:
  • Country: France
  • City: Clermont-Ferrand
  • Postal Code: 63001
  • Street: 49 bd François Mitterrand
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