PhD Candidate in Plant-Microbe Interaction

PhD Candidate in Plant-Microbe Interaction

Published Deadline Location
15 Nov 22 Dec Amsterdam

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Job description

Have you ever wondered how plants and fungi find each other? Root-colonizing fungi have a dramatic impact on plant health. Beneficial fungi such as mycorrhizal fungi and some Trichoderma species promote plant growth, supply nutrients, and improve plant stress tolerance. Soil-borne pathogenic fungi provoke devastating yield losses and are highly persistent and difficult to control. For example, Fusarium spp. and Rhizoctonia spp. cause vascular wilt disease and root rot disease, respectively, in a broad host range worldwide.

For a PhD project, we are looking for a highly qualified and motivated PhD candidate to conduct research activities, resulting in a doctoral dissertation under supervision of Prof. dr. Harro Bouwmeester. This PhD position is shared by the Plant Hormone Biology and Biosystems Data Analysis groups. The Plant Hormone Biology group investigates the role of plant hormones and other signaling molecules in the communication of plants with other organisms. The Biosystems Data Analysis group develops and implements advanced statistical and machine learning tools for integrating omics data. If you enjoy performing both lab work as well as data analysis and work in a diverse team of scientists, then this position is perfect for you!

What are you going to do?

In this PhD project, the objective is to study perception of plant signals by root-colonizing fungi and the fungal response mediated by the received signals, including colonization of roots and downstream systemic effects on the root/rhizosphere microbiome. You will identify the signals in plant root exudates, the perception mechanism in fungi of plant signals and/or nutrients involved in plant-fungi communication and the downstream influence on fungal colonization and the root/rhizosphere microbiome.

Tasks and responsibilities
  • design and perform experiments in plants and fungi;
  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • plan and perform scientific data analysis and experiments in an independent manner;
  • critically analyze and interpret results;
  • take a leading role in writing manuscripts;
  • present your results at (inter)national scientific meetings;
  • collaborate with international and local researchers;
  • participate in the Faculty of Science PhD training programme;
  • assist in teaching undergraduates and Master's students;
  • co-supervise junior scientists (technicians, MSc/BSc students).


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


You are passionate about biology with a particular interest in plant-microbe interaction. You feel comfortable performing experimental lab work, while simultaneously having an affinity for data analysis. As this project is housed within both Plant Hormone Biology and Biosystems Data Analysis group, you enjoy working in a multidisciplinary team. Hence, being a team player and having good communication skills is highly relevant as you will be expected to discuss your results in different (inter)national meetings.

Your experience and profile
  • MSc in molecular biology or related subjects;
  • experience with genetic engineering in microbes;
  • willingness to learn metabolomics data analysis and transcriptome/microbiome bioinformatics (experience with either is a plus);
  • affinity with plant experiments and metabolomics;
  • good analytical, writing and presenting skills;
  • fluency in English, both written and spoken.

Conditions of employment

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 for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is 1st February 2023. 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.

Your salary will range between €2,541 in the first year to €3,247 gross per month in the last year of employment, on the basis of a full working week of 38 hour. This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the '30% ruling', may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime);
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • a complete educational program for PhD students;
  • multiple courses on different topics and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you're moving from abroad.
Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.


Faculty of Science

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 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: 1) Cell & Systems Biology, 2) Neurosciences, 3) Microbiology and 4) Green Life Sciences. Within the Research Priority Area Systems Biology several of these groups are involved in the host-microbiome interaction.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?
Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact: T: +31 (0)205257545 T: +31(0)205256547


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2541 per month
  • University graduate
  • 10851


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam

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