PhD position to study protein-lipid interactions in plant cells

PhD position to study protein-lipid interactions in plant cells

Published Deadline Location
1 Jun 25 Jun Amsterdam

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Job description

4-years PhD position to study lipid-protein interactions in the plant’s response to cold stress.

Universally, cells use signaling lipids, like phosphatidic acid (PA) and phosphoinositides, to regulate responses to extracellular cues. These responses rely on specific lipid-protein interactions. While PA is recognized as a signal of environmental stresses in plants, little is known of its protein targets that transduce the signal. Our aim is to fill this gap by engineering light-controllable lipid probes to systematically map PA-protein interactions in living cells, using a combination of chemical biology, mass spectrometry, molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell biology.  

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to set up this innovative method and use it to study PA-binding proteins in the plant’s response to cold. The results will help to better understand essential lipid-protein interactions in cell signaling, and may ultimately guide breeding strategies for cold-tolerant crops.

The PhD research will be mainly carried out at the Plant Cell Biology group of dr. Teun Munnik, who will, together with dr. Steven Arisz, function as supervisors. The Munnik lab has a long-standing reputation in studying lipid signaling in plants. The research relies on a multi-institute collaboration within the UvA Science faculty.

What are you going to do?

In the first part of the project, you will develop and test chemically engineered-phospholipid probes. This will involve a range of state-of-the-art chemical, microscopic and other techniques, using in vitro and in vivo systems. In the second part, you will use the probes to map the PA interactome of Arabidopsis during cold stress using MS. Selected proteins will be further tested by biochemical/ genetic/physiological approaches. You will work in close collaboration with several disciplines at the UvA Science Faculty, including departments of organic chemistry, mass spectrometry and molecular cytology, and the project will provide excellent multi-disciplinary training opportunities.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


What do we require?

  • MSc in biochemistry/molecular cell biology;
  • strong background in protein/lipid biochemistry, and preferably also in molecular cell biology;
  • an outspoken interest and motivation to master new techniques and design, develop and test novel methods;
  • the ability to conduct a collaborative and multidisciplinary project, i.e. skills in communication, planning, organizing and coordinating your work;
  • excellent English writing and speaking skills.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 18 months.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended to a total duration of 4 years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,395 in the first year to €3,061 (scale P) in the last year. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.


University of Amsterdam

With over 6,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.  

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.


Faculty of Science – Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the Faculty of Science’s largest institutes. Its approximately 240 scientists and staff members work in 16 research groups that perform excellent research centred on four themes: Cell & Systems Biology, Neurosciences, Microbiology and Green Life Sciences.

At SILS, research focusses on understanding the functioning of living organisms, from the most basic aspects up to complex physiological functions. Biological processes are studied at the level of molecules, cells, cellular networks and organisms, from man to plant and microbes. This leads to a fruitful knowledge exchange between various disciplines. Within SILS, the cluster of Green Life Sciences (GLS) hosts five plant groups, including Plant Cell Biology, Plant Physiology, Molecular Plant Pathology, Plant Hormone Biology and Plant Development & (Epi)Genetics, which aim to understand at the molecular level how plants grow and develop and deal with biotic- and abiotic constraints.


  • PhD scholarship
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • University graduate
  • 21-414


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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