Postdoc position on Physiology of immunity in lettuce (1.0 FTE)

Postdoc position on Physiology of immunity in lettuce (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
2 Nov 1 Dec Utrecht

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Discover immunity in lettuce with the help of Big Data and natural variation to enable design of future-proofed crops. Check the profile for more information.

Job description

If you want to advance the general understanding of plant immune responses and make a difference in how this knowledge can be used to breed resilient crops, join us!

In this postdoctoral research position, you will investigate the immune system of lettuce within the public-private partnership LettuceKnow. Our consortium includes a team of 18 PhD students, post-docs and technicians working in Utrecht, Wageningen and Leiden.

This position is a unique opportunity for you to apply your talent and use state-of-the-art technologies to study and explore the immune system and physiology of lettuce. Through curiosity-driven academic research fuelled by Big Data and related technologies, you will gain fundamental knowledge on the regulation of gene expression upon defense activation and its effect on growth. You will develop a research line within a well-connected team of researchers within LettuceKnow and within the growing Translational Plant Biology group at Utrecht University.

In this position you will:

  • investigate signaling by the defense hormone salicylic acid and its effects on lettuce physiology;
  • identify crop traits using large-scale gene expression and phenotypic data and test them in cooperation with other researchers and partners of LettuceKnow;
  • actively communicate and discuss research with your colleagues and industry partners;
  • demonstrate and promote high standards of academic research;
  • write publications and prepare data releases with LettuceKnow colleagues.

You will have access to a rich set of tools and resources available for your research:

  • Genetic resources - ~500 lines from four Lactuca species;
  • RNAseq data for >1,200 samples for ~400 lines of lettuce and its close relative;
  • Established transformation and CRISPR-Cas9 protocol;
  • Extensive collaboration network with four academic and seven industry partners;
  • Expertise in large-scale bioinformatic analysis and machine learning;
  • High throughput phenotyping within the Netherlands Plant Ecophenotyping Centre (NPEC).

You will have the opportunity to gain experiences that can further enhance your next career move, like close contact with industry partners and teaching and supervision activities. We are committed to your success in making an impact on science, the breeding industry and society.

The position would be available to you to start as soon as possible in 2023.


Utrecht University


You, as our ideal candidate, possess a proactive, curious, and hands-on attitude. We would also like you to bring:

  • a PhD degree in Biology or bioinformatics (finishing PhD candidates are also welcome to apply);
  • experience or interest to research fundamental aspects of plant immunity and physiology;
  • motivation to combine work on the computational cluster and in the molecular biology laboratory;
  • willingness to develop project management skills and learn new methods of computational data analysis;
  • communication and collaboration skills that ensure and are vital for optimal exchange of knowledge and ideas between the academic groups and the seven breeding companies;
  • working proficiency in English.

Conditions of employment

  • A position for a year, that can be prolonged after a positive evaluation for 16 months.
  • A full-time gross salary, depending on previous qualifications and experience, ranging from € 2,960 to € 4,670 in scale 10.
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • A pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.

For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

At the Faculty of Science, there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about us.

You will be working in the vibrant and growing Translational Plant Biology group within the Department of Biology of Utrecht University. You will collaborate intensively with other PhD candidates and post-docs on the LettuceKnow programme.

LettuceKnow (a NWO-TTW perspective programme) started in 2019 to investigate key resilience and architecture traits of lettuce. The project aims to identify molecular mechanisms and genes for resilience and architecture. The LettuceKnow team brings together leading scientists in the areas of plant biology, genomics and data science to enable the optimal use of big data and discover the genes/alleles underlying important traits. It comprises a diverse research community with a strong focus on resolving major challenges for Dutch lettuce breeders to develop resilient and sustainable varieties.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2960—€3413 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1199513



Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht

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