PhD Position; Diversity and functions of the phyllosphere microbiome - NIOO-KNAW - Wageningen

PhD Position; Diversity and functions of the phyllosphere microbiome - NIOO-KNAW - Wageningen

Published Deadline Location
5 Jun 5 Jul Wageningen

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Job description

Diversity and functions of the phyllosphere microbiome

Project description:
The MATRIX (Microbiome Assisted Triticum Resilience In X-dimensions) is a multidisciplinary research program between the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO), University of Copenhagen and North Carolina State University, which aims at developing a scalable system-based strategy to harness the functional potential of plant microbiomes for improving crop resilience. In this project, we will study the microbiome of the wheat phyllosphere, more specifically, the microbial communities inhabiting the surface and the internal tissue of the wheat flag leaf. The overall goal of the PhD project is to characterize the phyllosphere microbiome composition and identify key microorganisms and mechanisms involved in protection against biotic and abiotic stresses. The obtained fundamental knowledge will contribute to the development of new microbiome-assisted approaches to quantitatively and predictably improve crop resilience management strategies.

Job description:

  • Isolate and characterize endophytic bacteria from the wheat leaves
  • Screen isolate collections for improving plant tolerance to (a)biotic stresses
  • Develop tools and markers to monitor endophytic colonization
  • Present your work at (inter)national meetings and publish scientific articles
  • Supervise students



Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


  • MSc degree in plant-microbe interactions, microbiology
  • Hands-on experience in data mining and microbiome analyses, molecular microbiology, plant bioassays, mutational analyses of microbes
  • Experience in bioinformatics (R and Python) and/or (bio)chemistry will be of added value
  • Experience with fluorescence/confocal laser scanning/electron microscopes is a plus
  • Willing to participate in exchange program/field trials abroad (USA, Denmark)
  • Language skills: fluency in English writing and speaking required

Conditions of employment

The PhD position will be hosted at the Department of Microbial Ecology of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and we will work closely together with the Microbial Ecology & Biotechnology group at Copenhagen University. We offer the research environment of a dynamic group with a strong international profile; state-of-the-art laboratory and greenhouse infrastructure; close national and international collaboration with other PhD students and researchers; and the possibility to further develop your scientific education with courses, training and conferences. The position is full-time (38 hours/week), initially for 1 year, after which a go/no-go decision will be taken on extension with another three years. The gross salary in the first year is € 2.325,00 per month rising to € 2.972,00 in the fourth year for a full-time appointment, according to scale P, Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten), excluding 8% holiday pay and a year-end bonus.

Starting date:
September 2020

Principal supervisors:
Prof. Jos M. Raaijmakers (NIOO-KNAW, Leiden University);
Dr. Viviane Cordovez (NIOO-KNAW);
Prof. Lars Hestbjerg-Hansen (Copenhagen University)


Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO)

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. It conducts ecological research on land, in the ocean and in fresh water and studies how living organisms interact with one another and their environment. NIOO stimulates biodiversity and sustainability in nature and society through its worldwide network of researchers, policymakers, conservationists and other stakeholders.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2020-068 - ME-20-009


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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Droevendaalsesteeg 10, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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