Postdoc in plant-insect interaction

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
February 15, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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Department of Molecular Sciences

The department conducts research and education in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, food science and microbiology with a focus on fundamental biological processes as well as development of applications for a sustainable future.

Uppsala BioCenter brings together scientists and students from the Departments of Molecular Sciences, Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, Plant Biology, and Aquatic Resources. The Departments share advanced technological platforms and enjoy both basic and applied research across all kingdoms of life, thus offering a stimulating environment for scientific development and education.

About the position:

The main purpose for the position in this project is to find out additional substrate targets of metacaspases and explore the activation of other plant proteases during insect herbivory. The work will involve an exploration of the damage-activated protease-substrate network through proteomics in the economically relevant crop-pest interaction of maize (corn) and fall armyworm ( Spodoptera frugiperda ). Additional biochemical, genetic and cell biological approaches will be performed in the model organisms Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana benthamiana. The final goal is to use this newfound knowledge to reduce toxicity of insecticides for non-target (beneficial) insects, including pollinators and predators.

We are looking for a highly motivated plant-insect specialist with strong analytical skills and a keen interest in uncovering novel mechanisms of the plant wound response. Candidates are required to have a deep knowledge of plant and insect biology. Candidates with experience in proteomics, protein engineering, and pesticide formulation, are particularly encouraged to apply. Excellent communication skills in both oral and written english are expected. To be eligible for a postdoctoral position, the applicant must have a PhD degree in life sciences obtained within the last three years.

About us:

Insects numbers and diversity have rapidly declined in the EU and worldwide. Pesticides, and particularly the toxicity of insecticides to non-target insects, are one of the major drivers of insect declines. Apart from destabilizing natural ecosystems, pollinator disappearance directly threatens food security. The Stael lab pioneers the study of proteolysis in the plant wound response, following our recent discovery that physical damage activates a class of proteases called metacaspases (doi/10.1126/science.aar7486).

Read more about our benefits and working at SLU by visiting: https: // www.



Form of employment:

Temporary employment 24 months, with the possibility of extension.



Start date:

1st of April 2024, or soon thereafter.


Please submit your application before deadline 15 February 2024. You can submit your application by clicking the button below.

The application must contain: i) a cover letter explaining why you are applying for this position and what you would like to discover in this project (max 1 page), ii) CV, including a list of publications, and iii) contact information of minimum two references.

Union representatives:

https: // vid-rekrytering/

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) has a key role in the development for sustainable life, based on science and education. Through our focus on the interaction between humans, animals and ecosystems and the responsible use of natural resources, we contribute to sustainable societal development and good living conditions on our planet. Our main campuses are located in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, however, the university also operates at research stations, experimental forests and teaching sites throughout Sweden.

SLU has around 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and doctoral students and a turnover of over SEK 3 billion. We are investing in attractive environments on all of our campuses. We strive to provide a work environment characterised by inclusivity and gender equality, where different experiences generate conversations between people and pave the way for science, creativity and development. Therefore, we welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Contact person

Simon Stael

Associate Professor


[email protected]

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