Our group at the Plant Health Institute of Montpellier (PHIM, France) is searching for a postdoc with experience in MOLECULAR GENETICS OF PLANT-MICROBE INTERACTIONS to join us on a project funded by an ERC starting grant on the role of fungal effectors during plant infection.

RESEARCH: Our group is interested in the molecular function of fungal effectors during infection of cereal species. We have discovered a large and diverse family of effectors in the blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae: the MAX (Magnaporthe AVRs and ToxB-like) effector family. These effectors possess various protein sequences but exhibit a conserved 3D structure. The MAX effector family is specific to ascomycete fungi and has undergone massive expansion in M. oryzae, suggesting its primary role in the infection process. Nonetheless, the cellular mechanisms they target in the host are largely unknown.

AIM OF THE ii-MAX PROJECT: Identify the host proteins targeted by M. oryzae MAX effectors and conduct a comprehensive study of the structural and functional interactions between these effectors and their target proteins in rice.

So far, we have identified numerous rice proteins interacting with MAX effectors though Y2H screening, IP/MS and TurboID/MS. In this context, the recruited Postdoc will pursue the following main objectives:

  • Validate the interaction of MAX effectors with their candidate targets.
  • Elucidate the virulence function of MAX effectors through functional investigation of their targets.

This work will contribute to answer the following questions:

  • What are the plant molecular processes targeted by MAX effectors during infection?
  • Can we improve resistance to blast in rice by mutating virulence targets of MAX effectors?


We are looking for a Postdoc with proven expertise in research topics related to plant-microbe interactions and/or plant molecular biology. Prior experience in in planta protein-protein interaction analyses (e.g. split-luciferase, Co-IP etc.), plant stable transformation and/or CRISPR-cas9 induced mutagenesis is required. Candidates must have obtained their PhD within the last 5 years and have published at least one first-author peer-reviewed research paper. Excellent English communication skills are expected.

Great emphasis will be placed on personal qualities such as creativity, motivation and ability to work in a team. Candidates should also have a good ability to conduct independent research and supervise technicians and students.


The initial appointment will be for one year, with the possibility for renewal for up to 3 years. The starting date is 1st of January 2023. Reviewing of applications will begin immediately and will continue until a suitable candidate is found. Please send your application by e-mail to Stella Cesari (stella.cesari@inrae.fr). Provide a single PDF containing a CV and a brief statement of research interests and qualifications, and arrange to have two letters of recommendation sent.


The PHIM offers an innovative and scientifically stimulating environment with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure, including plant and fungus growth facilities as well as equipment for molecular biology, protein biochemistry and cell imaging. Montpellier is a center for research in Life Sciences and a beautiful and lively city in the south of France, close to the Mediterranean Sea.

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