PhD position in plant autophagy and genome editing research: Ref Department of Plant Biology: The Department of Plant Biology undertakes fundamental research on model organisms, agricultural crops, forest trees and bioenergy crops. Our main areas of research comprise the interaction of plants with microorganisms and other environmental stresses, plant growth and development, biotechnology and metabolic engineering, regulation of gene expression, population genetics, genome analysis and the development of breeding systems.

Species in use are model organisms such as Arabidopsis, Physcomitrella, tobacco, crops such as rapeseed, basket willow (Salix), potato and cereals, and pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and fungi/oomycetes.

The department is responsible for basic courses and advanced courses in general and molecular genetics; gene technology; cell biology; plant physiology, gene expression, plant breeding, plant biochemistry and biotechnology, and molecular interactions between plants and pathogens. Besides, the department contributes to various other courses together with other departments.


The position is associated with the group of Professor Daniel Hofius at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala, Sweden, and involves a close collaboration with the group of Assoc. Prof. Mariette Andersson and Assoc. Prof. Per Hofvander at SLU in Alnarp, Sweden.

Research in the Hofius lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms of autophagy, a conserved degradation and recycling process required for cellular homeostasis and stress responses. The PhD project builds on our previous findings in the Arabidopsis model system that autophagy plays a paramount role in plant growth, fitness, and immunity.

We now aim to investigate autophagy mechanisms and functions in a crop plant setting and explore whether autophagy modulation can be utilized to improve productivity and resilience traits. The work will apply genetic, cell biological, biochemical, and physiological approaches in potato and include the development and application of CRISPR gene-editing technology for autophagy manipulation. Parts of the project will be done in the Andersson/Hofvander lab, which provides leading expertise in genome editing as a research and breeding method for crop plants


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a higher university degree in molecular biology (Degree of Master or Master of Science) with emphasis on molecular genetics, functional genomics, plant physiology, or related topics that the employer considers equivalent. Documented abilities to manage a laboratory project and experience with molecular biology techniques in plants are required.

Methodological skills in genetic, biochemical, cell biological, physiological and/or CRISPR gene-editing approaches in plants are highly valued. Creativity, motivation and drive are important personal characteristics as is excellent proficiency in English since English is the working language in the research group. Candidates should also have an ability to conduct independent research, take initiative, ask pertinent scientific questions, and interact with other scientists.

Place of work: The PhD position will be based at the Department of Plant Biology, Uppsala BioCenter, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and involves an initial research period at the Department of Plant Breeding, SLU, in Alnarp. Forms for funding or employment: Employment (4 years). Starting date: According to agreement.


Click the “Apply” button to submit your application. The deadline is 2023-03-15. To qualify for third-cycle (Doctoral) courses and study programmes, you must have a second-cycle (Master’s) qualification. Alternatively, you must have conducted a minimum of four years of full-time study, of which a minimum of one year at second-cycle level.

Applicants will be selected based on their written application and CV, degree project, copies of their degree certificate and transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution, three personal references, and knowledge of English.

Please note that applicants invited to interview must submit attested copies of their degree certificate, a transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution. Applicants who are not Swedish citizens need to submit an attested copy of their passport’s information page containing their photograph and personal details.

Academic union representatives: The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is a world-class international university with research, education and environmental assessment within the sciences for sustainable life.

Its principal sites are in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, but activities are also conducted at research stations, experimental parks and educational establishments throughout Sweden. We bring together people who have different perspectives, but they all have one and the same goal: to create the best conditions for a sustainable, thriving and better world.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses. Contact person: Daniel Hofius, Professor in Molecular Plant – Pest/Disease Interactions


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