Postdoc position in Plant Oxygen Sensing and Stem Cell Maintenance (1.0 FTE)

Postdoc position in Plant Oxygen Sensing and Stem Cell Maintenance (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
4 Apr 1 May Utrecht

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Join us as a Postdoctoral researcher to investigate the role of plant oxygen sensing in stem cell maintenance and DNA protection.

Job description

Are you excited to use your experience in plant biology and contribute to our research in a relatively under-explored but highly relevant area? Then join our team as postdoctoral researcher (PD). You will be working on an ERC Starting Grant funded project investigating how oxygen distribution acts to guide plant development and stem cell protection.

Serving as final electron acceptor in respiration, the availability of oxygen in our planet’s atmosphere provided the efficient energy metabolism to drive evolution of complex multicellular organisms, including plants. The other side of the coin is that oxygen is the starting point for the production of toxic radicals which can lead to the accumulation of mutations negatively impacting fitness. Recent research, including ours, shows that the shoot apical meristem and lateral root primordia are paradoxically maintained under constant hypoxia, opening the way to discover how local hypoxic niches regulate plant development and stem cell protection.

You will work within Daan Weits’s team to study if low oxygen conditions in the meristems represent a protective microenvironment to promote stem cell maintenance. As a PD, you will be helping us in answering the following questions within this research project:

  • Does endogenous hypoxia contribute to reactive oxygen species balance and DNA integrity?
  • How does low oxygen connect to cell division rates?
  • Can we discover new targets of the oxygen sensing pathway with novel functions? 

You will use a variety of techniques and tools, including proteomics, ROS imaging, fluorescence microscopy (laser-scanning confocal microscopy), transcriptomics (RNA-seq), molecular biology (gateway/goldengate cloning, ChIP-seq, transactivation assays), and meristem dissection. You will be in charge of developing and executing experiments, data analysis and presentation, and writing manuscripts. You will have the opportunity to develop your teaching skills and be involved in outreach activities.

You will be directly supervised by dr. Daan Weits and join a team of three enthusiastic PhDs working on other aspects of low oxygen sensing and regulation. Our team is embedded within the vibrant chair group of Plant-Environment Signaling. A collaborative, international and fun group working on various topics related to how plants sense their environment and adapt their development accordingly. We also organize various casual activities outside the lab such as after-work drinks (‘’borrels’’), dinners, bouldering, yearly lab outings, and more!

We currently also have a vacancy for a PhD position within our group. Check out our website to read more about this interesting opportunity.


Utrecht University


We are looking for a committed, creative and collaborative candidate with a keen interest to learn and the motivation to work in a vibrant and international research environment.

You also bring the following essential requirements:

  • a PhD in the area of molecular plant biology; plant biotechnology, or any plant science-related field;
  • expertise in meristem maintenance, ROS imaging, DNA damage detection and/or biochemistry;
  • experience with molecular biology techniques;
  • strong communication and English language skills;
  • proactive, ability to think independently and creatively;
  • you work in an organized and efficient way.

We would like for you to have:

  • experience in Arabidopsis research;
  • experience in plant development, transcription factor functions, microscopy or evo-devo;
  • affinity with plant-environment interactions.

Conditions of employment

  • an exciting project that will investigate a relatively under-explored but highly relevant research area;
  • a full-time position for 3 years, possibility for part-time employment (0.8 FTE) can be discussed;
  • a full-time gross salary depending on previous qualifications and experience ranging between €2,960 – €4,670 (scale 10 Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities (cao));
  • benefits including 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.

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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 strategic 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 within Daan Weits's research team, part of the Plant-Environment signaling group. We are a very diverse and international research group embedded within the Institute of Environmental Biology. You can expect to work in an inclusive, collaborative and motivating environment with a very creative, dedicated and international team of PhD candidates, post-docs, tenured staff and research assistants. You will have access to world class research facilities (including top notch growth facilities, an automated phenotyping platform and the bioimaging center) and will benefit from our extensive national/international ongoing collaborations (including those with industry), facilitating network building essential to future jobs.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2960—€4670 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1207510



Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht

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