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[Arabidopsis] 2 PhD positions at the University of Amsterdam

Robert Schuurink via arab-gen%40net.bio.net (by R.C.Schuurink from uva.nl)
Mon Mar 2 11:25:18 EST 2009

2 PhD students in Molecular Plant Biology
1.0 FTE each
The projects emerged from a collaboration between 
the Plant Physiology and Population Biology 
research groups of resp. the Swammerdam Institute 
for Life Sciences and the Institute for 
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics.
PhD student 1 is funded by TTI GREEN GENETICS and 
ALW/NWO and is entitled: "Novel tomatoes that 
counteract herbivore-mediated suppression of 
plant defences" (vacancy number 09-1013).
When plants are challenged with herbivores they 
establish defenses but many herbivores are 
adapted to resist these defenses. Recently we 
showed that some herbivores, such as mites, can 
suppress plant defenses, i.e. they are 
'stealthy', although this ability varies between 
individuals within populations. To help tomato 
plants in coping with defense-repressing pests we 
will genetically modify tomatoes such that 
inducible defenses are restored. We will use 
high-throughput sequencing and qRT-PCR to 
identify tomato genes targeted by stealthy mites, 
focusing on regulatory genes involved in 
production of volatile metabolites and trichome 
toxins. New tomato lines invulnerable for 
stealthy-mite manipulations will be tested for 
resistance under greenhouse conditions. A 
post-doc researcher will start simultaneously on 
a parallel research line funded within the same 
PhD student 2 is funded by ALW/NWO and is 
entitled: "The role of E-2-hexenal and GABA in 
plant stress responses" (vacancy number 09-1014).
Plants are continuously exposed to various forms 
of (a)biotic stress and have developed an 
extensive repertoire of responses to cope with 
it. One of the first reactions is the oxidation 
of fatty acids in the plasma membrane from which 
several products can arise such as reactive 
electrophile species (RES). Evidence is 
accumulating that plants actively generate RES as 
signaling molecules. We will focus on the 
volatile RES E-2-hexenal which is, for example, 
generated by herbivory, wounding and heat. 
Earlier research has shown that E-2-hexenal 
increases g-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels and 
this prompted us to ask the question how these 
two molecules help the plant in dealing with 
stress. We will use genetic tools to manipulate 
E-2-hexenal and GABA levels in the model plant 
Arabidopsis and use various read-outs to 
determine this. For this research a variety of 
techniques will be used, including (transient) 
transgenesis, LC/MS analyses and disease 
Candidates must hold a Master's degree (or 
equivalent) in Molecular Biology or Biochemistry, 
have good communication skills, be able to work 
in a team and be highly motivated to conduct 
fundamental scientific research.
Further information
Information about the vacancies can be obtained from:
Dr. Robert C. Schuurink, Tel: +31 (0)20 525 7933 
or E-mail: r.c.schuurink from uva.nl
Dr. Merijn R. Kant, Tel: +31 (0)20 525 7793 or E-mail: m.kant from uva.nl
The appointment is full-time (38 hours a week) 
for a total of four years: an initial period of 
eighteen months, followed by a further two and a 
half years subject to a positive appraisal. It is 
expected to result in a PhD thesis. The gross 
monthly salary is fixed in accordance with the 
Dutch University regulations for academic 
personnel and ranges from ¤ 2.042 in the first 
year to a maximum of ¤ 2.612 in the fourth year.
Job application
Applications should include a letter of 
motivation, a curriculum vitae, and the names and 
contact information of three referees. Please 
indicate the position to which you are applying 
and quote the corresponding vacancy number in the 
subject line. Applications may be emailed to 
application-science from uva.nl, attn.: K. Tensen, 
Personnel Department, Faculty of Science, 
University of Amsterdam. Closing date: 14 March 

University of Amsterdam
The Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) is a 
university with an internationally acclaimed 
profile, located at the heart of the Dutch 
capital. As well as a world centre for business 
and research, Amsterdam is a hub of cultural and 
media activities. The Universiteit van Amsterdam 
is a member of the League of European Research 
The Faculty of Science at the UvA is one of 
Europe's foremost institutions of higher 
education and research in its chosen fields of 
specialization. It plays an active role in 
international science networks and collaborates 
with universities and industry. The Faculty has 
approximately 2,000 students and 1,500 staff 
members spread over four departments and ten 
research institutes. Each institute has its own 
research programme, a substantial part of which 
is externally funded by the Netherlands 
Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the 
Dutch government, the EU and various private 
In 2010, the Faculty will relocate to the Science 
Park Amsterdam. Ambitious building projects are 
paving the way for this relocation. The move will 
make the Park one of the largest centres of 
academic research in the Netherlands.


Robert Schuurink
Associate Professor
Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences
University of Amsterdam
Plant Physiology
Kruislaan 318
1098 SM Amsterdam
The Netherlands

tel. 020-5257933
fax. 020-5257934

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