The group of Specialized Metabolism led by Prof. Alain Goossens at the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, is looking to recruit 1 junior postdoctoral researcher. The Goossens lab focuses on the characterization of plant signalling networks that steer plant specialized metabolism within tightly regulated fitness programs, in particular, those modulated by the phytohormone jasmonate and leading to the biosynthesis of bioactive specialized metabolites in crop, medicinal, and model plants.

The Department of Plant Systems Biology (PSB) belongs to the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) and the Ghent University (UGent), both equal-opportunity employers. PSB is a world-leading plant science institute located at the heart of a renowned Plant Biotech campus in the lovely and lively city of Ghent, Belgium. Its mission is to integrate genetics, genomics, and bio-computing to unravel plant biological processes and to further translate this knowledge into value for society.

Job description: Wounding, touch, or herbivore attacks trigger systemic signaling cascades that lead to increased endogenous synthesis of the phytohormone jasmonate, which subsequently reprograms the plant cell to launch defense responses. Phosphorylation has emerged as an important step in the regulation of jasmonate-mediated plant defense, but our molecular understanding of this mechanism is still limited.

To fill this knowledge gap, our lab is currently generating a high-resolution phosphoproteomics network to pinpoint kinases involved in the modulation of mechanical stress and jasmonate signaling in the model plant Arabidopsis.

The Ph.D. student will be involved in this project with the aim to characterize the role of a set of candidate proteins derived from the phosphoproteome list. The student will learn cutting-edge techniques in protein-protein interactions, metabolomics, gene editing, and microscopy. We expect the results of this project to unravel the composition, dynamics, and functioning of phosphoproteins in jasmonate signaling, and eventually, in plant defenses.


  • You have a master’s degree in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Bio-engineering, Plant Biotechnology, or equivalent.
  • You’re fascinated by plant hormone signalling, stress responses, and defence mechanisms.
  • You can take initiative, function well in a team, breathe enthusiasm, and have a hands-on mentality, perseverance, and critical mindset
  • Proficient use of the English language for both oral and written communication is a must
  • Desirable but not required
  • A master thesis or past research experience with Arabidopsis is an asset

We offer

  • A full-time competitive stipend for 4 years, according to Belgian law.
  • Access to state-of-the-art   tools and infrastructure within an excellence-based research institute
  • A stimulating and supportive international research environment
  • Various training opportunities to broaden your expertise and skills, including training and mentoring in scientific writing
  • Opportunities to attend scientific conferences and workshops.

How to apply?

If you are interested in studying phosphoregulation mechanisms modulated by jasmonate, please apply online (applications by email will not be considered).

Please include a single pdf in your application that combines the following elements:

  • a detailed CV (including publication list if applicable)
  • a one-page summary of past research activities (e.g. in your Master project)
  • a letter describing your fascination for the topic and the Goossens lab
  • the contact information of two referees

The first review of applications will start immediately. A shortlist of applicants will be selected and invited for interviews. The position is available from September 2023 onwards. Applications are welcome until the position is filled.


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