Are you intrigued by the resilience and adaptability of plants under different environmental conditions? Do you want to explore the biological mysteries of how plants thrive at high altitude, where oxygen and other resources are scarce? Then, this position is for you!

Plants that grow at high altitudes face a range of environmental stresses, including low oxygen levels, high UV radiation, and extreme temperature fluctuations. Yet, plants have evolved remarkable strategies to grow and flourish ins such conditions. By studying the molecular mechanisms underlying their adaption, we can gain new insights into the fundamental principles of plant physiology and ecology.

Altitude adaption in plants is a rapidly evolving field that involves interdisciplinary research including genetics, biochemistry, physiology, ecology and molecular biology. By understanding the genetic and biochemical pathways involved  in altitude adaption, we can develop novel strategies to enhance crop productivity and mitigate the effect of climate change.

To join our Molecular Adaption research team we are seeking a highly motivated and talented PhD candidate to investigate the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying altitude adaption in plants.

You  have a strong background in plant biology or a related field, with a keen interest in plant adaption to environmental stress. You will work in a dynamic and collaborative research environment under the supervision of Dr. Mohamad (Moe) Abbas

Key responsibilities:

  • Design and execute experiments to investigate molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying stress adaptation.
  • Study the response of plants to low oxygen levels and other stress factors by using a range of techniques, including gene expression analysis, cloning, biochemical analysis, transformation and microscopy.
  • Analyse and interpret datasets, and present research findings in scientific journals and conferences.
  • Participate in collaborative research projects with other members of the research teams.
  • Participate in the training and mentoring of undergraduate students and other members of the research team.


To be considered for this position, the following qualifications are needed:

Essential competencies and skills:

  • Master’s degree in plant biology, molecular biology, genetics or a related field.
  • Experience in laboratory research, preferably in molecular biology, and familiarity with molecular biology techniques and methods.
  • Knowledge of plant biology and the ability to apply molecular biology concepts to study plant adaption.
  • Proficiency in data analysis and statistics.
  • Good communication skills both verbally and in writing.
  • Strong critical thinking with the ability to solve problems independently.

We consider it an advantage if you bring one or more of the following:

  • Research experience in plant biology and genetics.
  • Experience with bioinformatics tools and databases.
  • Prior experience in presenting research finding in scientific conferences and publications.


  • A position for 4 years;
  • A full-time gross salary ranging between €2,541 in the first year and  €3,247 in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities);
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development

We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow. Are you an international applicant? Find out more about what our International Service desk does and for more info about the what and how on living in the Netherlands

About the organisation

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

At the Faculty of Science there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about us by watching Working at the Faculty of Science

As our newest team member you will be part of the Department of Biology, Research within this department is organized in two institutes: the Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity (IBB) and the Institute of Environmental Biology (IEB).

The department of Biology coordinates the teaching of the Bachelor’s programme in Biology, as well as Master’s programmes and PhD courses that are offered through the Graduate School of Life Sciences, You will be working in the vibrant Plant Stress Resilience group in the Molecular Adaption team of Dr. Mohamad (Moe) Abbas

Additional information

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact Dr. Mohamad (Moe) Abbas at

Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to


  • Everyone deserves to feel at home
  • external link
  • at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

If you are enthusiastic about this position, just apply via the “Apply” button! Please enclose:

  • a max. 2 page letter of motivation detailing your interest in molecular adaption in plants and your understanding of the research objectives and questions we are exploring;
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • the names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two references.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them. Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them, The application deadline is 1 May 2023.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: