Postdoc position in plant - virus interactomics

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
September 18, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Postdoc position in plant - virus interactomics

(ref. BAP-2023-567)

Last modification : Friday, August 18, 2023

About the Vanderschuren Lab The Vanderschuren Lab (KU Leuven Tropical Crop Improvement Laboratory) implements trait improvement approaches for important crops including wheat, banana, rice and cassava. The Laboratory has a strong focus on molecular biology, genetics and omics approaches to investigate crop responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. The Vanderschuren Lab has worked with several pathosystems including model and crop pathosystems to study both DNA and RNA viruses. The Vanderschuren lab also has significant expertise in bringing novel virus-resistance technologies to field-testing in non-model crops like cassava. https: // www. About the Division of Crop Biotechnics, Biosystems Department and Leuven Plant Institute The Division of Crop Biotechnics performs cutting-edge research on crop and model plant species, integrating knowledge at the cellular, tissue, plant, environment and agro-systems level. The Division consists of several research groups developing various molecular tools and having a strong expertise in molecular biology, plant pathology, tropical crops, genomics, plant hormones, plant nutrition and soil. The Division of Crop Biotechnics provides a very international working environment with opportunities to collaborate with top- ranked universities and international research centers. The division is part of the Biosystems Department at KU Leuven and the Leuven Plant Institute which offers a unique platform to interact and collaborate with plant research groups across various disciplines (https: // www. About KU Leuven KU Leuven offers a competitive and international working environment with access to cutting-edge technologies and expertise. KU Leuven is the best internationally ranked university in Belgium and ranks amongst the best European universities for research and education. KU Leuven also ranks as the most innovative university in Europe, building on a very strong tech transfer office. https: // www.

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Identifying host proteins interacting with viral genomes is key to study virus biology. The discovery of host factors that support virus replication and movement also enables the development of novel strategies for engineering virus resistance in plants. Several approaches have recently been successfully implemented to profile the host proteins physically interacting with the genomes of RNA viruses (i.e., RBPome, RAP-MS and pre-purification of UV cross-linked RNA-protein complexes (RNP complexes)). Recent advances in protein proximity-labeling (TurboID) are also opening new opportunities to study protein-protein interactions in-vivo.

In this project, the team will collaborate with Geuten Lab and Mehta Lab (KU Leuven) to study the interactome of selected model and crop pathosystems (TRV – Nicotiana; CbLCV – Arabidopsis BYDV – wheat; BYV – sugarbeet). The selected candidate can expect to draw upon the extensive plant virology expertise of the Vanderschuren lab and gain experience in cutting-edge mass spectrometry-based proteomics through collaborations with the Mehta lab (www. The project will also take advantage of genome editing approaches in order to validate the candidate interactors and further study the role(s) played by specific molecular interactions during infection. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to acquire a range of skills suitable for both academic and industrial research careers.


We seek a candidate with a PhD degree in Bioengineering, Bioinformatics, Biology, Biotechnology or other relevant degree for the abovementioned project. The successful candidate should have demonstrated knowledge/experience in bioinformatics, biochemistry, virology.

The successful candidate will have the following profile:

• good academic performance at the MSc and PhD level

• demonstrated capacity to write (scientific writing) and communicate in English

• demonstrated capacity to write project proposals

• eager to learn and develop new molecular techniques

• able to integrate in an international working environment


• We offer a full-time postdoc position for 3 years with a possibility for extension

• Excellent guidance by a dynamic multidisciplinary team

• Training for scientific leadership

• Support to submit and lead research proposals

• Opportunities for research stays in partner laboratories abroad

• Opportunities to network with reference laboratories in top-ranked institutions

• State of the art research infrastructure

• Stimulating scientific environment with six laboratories specialized in molecular biology, climate and latitudinal adaptation, genetics and meiosis, phytopathology, physiology and plant hormone.

• A challenging job in a young, dynamic environment

• High level scientific training at a top-ranked university

• Remuneration according to the KU Leuven salary scales


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Hervé Vanderschuren ([email protected]).

The position will remain open until suitable candidate is identified. You can apply via the online application tool.

The successful candidate is expected to start late 2023.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected].

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