Conducts research and education in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, food science and microbiology with a focus on fundamental biological processes as well as development of applications for a sustainable future.

Uppsala BioCenter brings together scientists and students from the Departments of Molecular Sciences, Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, Plant Biology, and Aquatic Resources. The Departments share advanced technological platforms and enjoy both basic and applied research across all kingdoms of life, thus offering a stimulating environment for scientific development and education.

Duties: This position is part of the ambitious 5-year ERC Consolidator project DETOXPEST funded by the European Research Commission and is aimed at improving pesticide selectivity by exploiting the plant´s natural response mechanisms to insect herbivory. The successful candidate for this position will join the Stael Lab, a part of The Plant Catabolism Laboratories, at the Department of Molecular Sciences, Uppsala BioCenter, SLU.

Insects numbers and diversity have rapidly declined in the EU and worldwide. Pesticides, and particularly the toxicity of insecticides to non-target insects, are one of the major drivers of insect declines. Apart from destabilizing natural ecosystems, pollinator disappearance directly threatens food security. The Stael lab pioneers the study of proteolysis in the plant wound response, following our recent discovery that physical damage activates a class of proteases called metacaspases (doi/10.1126/science.aar7486).

The main purpose for the position in this project is to find out additional substrate targets of metacaspases and explore the activation of other plant proteases during insect herbivory. The work will involve an exploration of the damage-activated protease-substrate network through proteomics in the economically relevant crop-pest interaction of maize (corn) and fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda).

Additional biochemical, genetic and cell biological approaches will be performed in the model organisms Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana benthamiana. The final goal is to use this newfound knowledge to reduce toxicity of insecticides for non-target (beneficial) insects, including pollinators and predators.

Qualifications: We are looking for a highly motivated plant-insect specialist with strong analytical skills and a keen interest in uncovering novel mechanisms of the plant wound response. Candidates are required to have a deep knowledge of plant and insect biology. Candidates with experience in proteomics, protein engineering, and pesticide formulation, are particularly encouraged to apply. Excellent communication skills in both oral and written English are expected.

To be eligible for a postdoctoral position, the applicant must have a PhD degree in life sciences obtained within the last three years. Place of work: Uppsala, Form of employment: Temporary employment 24 months, with the possibility of extension. Extent: 100% Starting date: 1 April 2023 or according to agreement.

Application: We welcome your application no later than 2023-03-03, use the button below. The application must contain: i) a cover letter explaining why you are applying for this position and what you would like to discover in this project (max 1 page), ii) CV, including a list of publications, and iii) contact information of minimum two references.

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: Associate Professor Simon Stael +4618673187


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