PhD seed desiccation tolerance

PhD seed desiccation tolerance

Published Deadline Location
19 Jan 26 Feb Wageningen

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Job description

Do you want to investigate how seeds survive losing water from their cells?
Are you curious to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying seed desiccation tolerance?
Are you interested in performing research that combines plant physiology, molecular biology and bioinformatics?
We are looking for a talented, motivated, and proactive PhD student who is interested in unravelling the regulatory basis of desiccation tolerance in developing seeds to join us at the Laboratory of Plant Physiology.

Most seeds survive losing almost all their cellular water during development. This interesting ability, called desiccation tolerance, forms the basis for long term seed storage and it is critical for plant biodiversity conservation, agriculture and food security. During drying the seed cells are efficiently protected against irreversible damages by important compound such as Late Embryogenesis Abundant (LEA) proteins. Interestingly, most LEA genes are expressed during maturation but the proteins accumulate much later during drying. In this project you will investigate how gene expression and protein translation are regulated during the acquisition of desiccation tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana seeds by combining 'omics' experiments (e.g. RNA-seq and Ribo-seq), data analysis and physiological, molecular and biochemical investigation of LEA protein function.


Wageningen University & Research


  • You have a MSc degree in plant physiology, molecular biology, (plant) biotechnology, or equivalent study.
  • You have knowledge of or are familiar with seed physiology experiments, molecular cloning and protein biochemical assays.
  • You have affinity with or have interest to learn how to perform 'omics' experiments and data analysis (RNAseq and Ribo-seq).
  • You have good teamwork abilities and are willing to contribute to an open and interactive lab culture.
  • You have good organizational skills, work reliably and are enthusiastic for the project.
  • You have a very good level of oral and written English. You are required to show us a certification of English skills. For more information about the required level please take a look at:

Conditions of employment

The PhD candidate will be supervised by dr. Mariana Silva Artur. You will become a member of the Wageningen Seed Science Center (WSSC) coordinated by Prof. Leónie Bentsink, embedded in the Laboratory of Plant Physiology. We are interested in the mechanisms by which seeds sense the environment and adjust their development to maximize the probability of survival. The WSSC carries out fundamental research with potential application for society, including knowledge implementation in crops.

We offer you a challenging PhD position at the Laboratory of Plant Physiology with a gross salary per month of € 2.395,= in the first year, building op to € 3.061,= in the 4th year for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities. At first you will receive a contract of 1 year with extension of 3 years after successful evaluation.

In addition, we offer:
  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.
We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.


Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is "To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life". Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 6,000 employees, and 12,000 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen.

For further information about working at Wageningen University & Research, take a look at thespecial career site.

Equal opportunities
WUR is an equal opportunity employer. We are keen to receive applications from all sufficiently qualified people, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, functional impairment, religion/life philosophy, sexual orientation, or age.


  • PhD
  • Agriculture
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 687572


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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