Postdoctoral Fellowship to analyse miRNA function during embryo development in Norway spruce: A postdoctoral fellowship is available in Ulrika Egertsdotter’s research group at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), which is part of Umeå Plant Science Centre. The postdoctoral candidate is supported by a stipend for an 24-month period starting June 1st , 2023.

Project summary: The project aims at understanding the function of miRNAs during embryo development in Norway spruce by a reverse genetics approach. Gene expression data and expression data for miRNA from the corresponding samples from a developmental series of zygotic embryos, the associated gametophytic tissue and somatic embryos were generated under a previous project and are available in searchable databases at UPSC. Preliminary processing of the data suggests that miRNA may be involved in the regulation of key developmental steps in Norway spruce similarly to what have been shown in other conifer species.

In this project, we will further analyse the expression data to identify candidate genes and potentially associated miRNA; then test the hypothesis by a reverse genetics approach where we utilize the transformation platform for Norway spruce (based on somatic embryo-cultures) available at UPSC. An increased understanding of the regulation of embryo development in Norway spruce would be important to increase our understanding of gymnosperm embryo development, furthermore, support improvements of protocols for somatic embryogenesis-based plant propagation.

Work tasks: The suitable candidate will work with bioinformatic analyses to select candidate miRNA and associated targets. Further analyses follow to identify candidate associations with regulatory function by testing the interaction in a protoplast-based assay and generating transgenic tissue to conduct functional studies. The candidate is expected to perform all experimental work including construct design and manufacturing, protoplast preparation and generation of transgenic lines of Norway spruce (Picea abies).


A broad skillset and some experience is preferred including bioinformatics, molecular biology and methodology of genetic transformation. Strong documented background in plant developmental biology is required. Experience in conifer somatic embryogenesis methods is desirable. Fluent in written and spoken English. Good working knowledge for computer based data management.

About the Research Environment: The Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology is part of Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) which is a centre of excellence for experimental plant research and forest biotechnology in Northern Sweden. Our mission is to perform excellent and innovative basic research and generate knowledge that benefits forestry, agriculture, environment and society. We work across a wide range of disciplines in plant science reaching from cell biology to ecophysiology and from basic research to industrial applications. Our common goal is to understand the plants’ ability to grow, adapt and acclimate to a changing world and how we can breed better plants.

UPSC belongs to two universities, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Umeå University. About 200 people from more than 40 different nationalities work here. We host some 30 principal investigators, and our researchers have access to state-of-the-art analytical platforms, unique tree germplasm resources and plant growth facilities. We strive for a collaborative work environment and support our scientists throughout all career stages by providing professional training opportunities and individual career mentoring.

Umeå has a strong postdoc community organised in the Umeå Postdoc Society (UPS). UPS fosters networking amongst postdocs, organises social and career development events and works towards improving the postdoc experience in Umeå.


The application should contain:

  • CV with full publications and copiers of the relevant degree certificates,
  • Description of research experiences,
  • a statement of scientific interests as well as
  • contact information of three references.

Please send full application to Dr. Ulrika Egertsdotter (  not later than 1st of April. Contact; For questions, please contact

Last day to apply: 1st of April

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