PhD position - Unravelling Plasma Membrane Structure in Response to Environmental Stimuli

PhD position - Unravelling Plasma Membrane Structure in Response to Environmental Stimuli

Published Deadline Location
17 Jan 19 Feb Wageningen

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Job description

Are you keen to unravel the physiology and molecular mechanisms responsible for plasma membrane adaptation to environmental stimuli? Are you looking to pursue a career in academia? We are looking for an inventive, creative and talented PhD student to join our team!

Much like the borders between countries, the plasma membrane (PM) functions as a natural boundary, delineating cellular constituents from their surroundings. Beyond its role as a protective barrier, the PM is instrumental in facilitating communication between cells and their external environment, positioning it as a pivotal site for studying this intricate interaction. Disturbances in the PM's function or composition have profound effects on cell survival, thereby adversely impacting the overall development and viability of plants. In our research group, our emphasis is on unraveling the intricate organization of the PM in response to various environmental cues. We strive to pinpoint both intrinsic and extrinsic membrane organizers crucial to these dynamic processes. To accomplish this, we employ plant-derived stress response peptides as a tool for our research.

The aim of the project is to characterize the spatio-temporal changes in plasma membrane proteome during the response to environmental stimuli focusing on the root of the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. The project will focus on characterization of the dynamic changes in the PM proteome using various state-of-an-art approaches e.g. biochemistry, high-end confocal microscopy, spatial transcriptomics and cell biology.

Your responsibilities include the following:
  • Unravelling the changes in PM proteome using mass spectrometry.
  • Characterization of sub-domain organization of PM proteome using various microcopy techniques.
  • Identification of ubiquitination machinery involved in the PM proteome degradation process.
  • Establishment of the techniques as expansion microscopy and spatial transcriptomics.
  • Contributing to writing of peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts on the project results.
  • Participating in teaching of Cell Biology courses and supervising BSc and MSc thesis students.

You will work here
The research is embedded within the chair Cell and Developmental Biology (CBD) which is led by Prof. Viola Willemsen and ‘Grones group’, a team within CBD led by Dr. Peter Grones. You will be co-supervised by Prof. Willemsen and Dr. Grones.


Wageningen University & Research


We are looking for result-driven team player. We ask for:
  • an MSc degree in Plant Sciences, Molecular Biology or a related discipline;
  • experience with plant physiology, cell biology or biochemistry;
  • a collaborative mindset, with good communication skills;
  • excellent communication skills as well as good proficiency in English (both oral and written).

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognized Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • Partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 19th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling. Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.


Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • P1411763-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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