Our group at the Plant Health Institute of Montpellier (PHIM, France) and Center for Structural Biology (CBS, France)  is searching for a postdoc with experience in STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY 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. In this context, the recruited Postdoc will pursue the following main objectives:

  • Structural modelling of MAX effectors/host target complexes.
  • Resolution of the 3D structure of specific MAX effectors in complex with their targets.
  • Validation of the interaction surfaces in MAX effector/host target complexes.

This work will contribute to define the structural and biophysical properties governing the interaction of MAX effectors with their virulence targets in cereals.


We are looking for a Postdoc with demonstrated expertise in structural biology. Prior experience in modelling of protein structure (Ab initio and by homology), protein expression and purification, resolution of protein structure (e.g. by NMR, X-ray crystallography and/or Cryo-EM) and in vitro protein-protein interaction analyses (e.g. by gel filtration, ITC etc.) is required. Prior experience in research topics related to plant-microbe interactions or plant biology is advantageous.

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). Please 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.


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. The PHIM offers an innovative and scientifically stimulating environment with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure, including equipment for protein biochemistry, molecular biology and cell imaging. The CBS is a multidisciplinary protein biochemistry and structure biology laboratory, which is part of the French Infrastructure for Integrated Structural Biology (FRISBI) that includes NMR, X-ray crystallography, SAXS, bioinformatics, atomic force microscopy, single molecule fluorescence and other fluorescence correlation spectroscopy techniques.

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