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Postdoctoral researcher: Dissecting TOR and SnRK1 signalling under limiting nitrogen supply

Closing date
16 Jun 2023

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Life Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time
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Job Details

About the lab The Functional Interactomics group, led by Prof. Geert De Jaeger at the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, is looking to recruit a  postdoctoral researcher. The De Jaeger lab ( develops technology to map protein interaction networks, protein complexes, and their post-translational regulation. These tools are applied to better understand carbon and nitrogen signaling in relation to plant growth, stress resilience, and crop yield.

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. Please visit for more information.

Job description Increased use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer and the selection of high-yield crops have sustained our growing world population. However, the associated environmental damage is high and N application needs to be restricted while maintaining yield. Despite significant progress in our understanding of nitrogen use efficiency, a strong yield penalty remains when N supply is limiting. To address this challenge, it is essential to obtain deeper molecular insight into how N is sensed and how low N restricts growth. Multiple studies have shown that N signaling is tightly coupled with carbon (C) levels, but how the interplay between C/N metabolism and growth is regulated remains an enigma. Nevertheless, there is a growing appreciation for the involvement of the TOR and SnRK1 kinases, two ancient master regulators that link nutrient sensing with growth.

The postdoc will be involved in this project with the aim of better understanding how TOR and SnRK1 are involved in regulating plant growth when C/N balance is disturbed. In previous years we have mapped the signaling networks around these two kinase complexes in relation to C and N availability. Through CRISPR screens we will now explore those networks for interesting new regulators of growth under limiting N supply. Finally, successful events will be selected for an in-depth molecular analysis exploring the function of the individual genes and their relation with plant growth, C/N assimilation, and TOR/SnRK1.

The postdoc will apply cutting-edge techniques in protein-protein interactions, gene editing, plant growth analysis, and microscopy. 



  • You have a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Bio-engineering, Plant Biotechnology, or equivalent.
  • You have excellent English communication skills (both oral and written).
  • You can plan and conduct research independently and accurately.
  • You can function well in a team as you will be integrated into the international collaborative research environment.
  • You can take initiative and have a hands-on mentality, perseverance, and critical mindset.
  • You’re fascinated by plant nutrient signalling, growth regulation, and stress responses.

Desirable but not required

  • Experience from previous research in nutrient signalling or plant phenotyping is an asset, as well as a publication record in peer-reviewed journals showing expertise in this area.
  • Hands-on experience in functional gene analysis is an asset.
  • Experience in the guidance of master and/or Ph.D. students is an asset.
We offer
  • A full-time post-doc position in the De Jaeger lab for 2 years, with a possibility of extension
  • 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

If you are interested, 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 a publication list
  • a one-page summary of past research activities (e.g. in your PhD project)
  • a letter describing your fascination for the topic
  • 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.


VIB’s core mission is to generate disruptive insights in the molecular underpinning of life and to translate these actively into impactful innovations for patients and society. VIB is an independent research institute where some 1,800 top scientists from Belgium and abroad conduct pioneering basic research. As such, they are pushing the boundaries of what we know about molecular mechanisms and how they rule living organisms such as human beings, animals, plants, and microorganisms. Based on a close partnership with five Flemish universities – Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Hasselt University – and supported by a solid funding program, VIB unites the expertise of all its collaborators and research groups in a single institute. VIB’s technology transfer activities translate research results into concrete benefits for society such as new diagnostics and therapies and agricultural innovations. These applications are often developed by young start-ups from VIB or through collaborations with other companies. This also leads to additional employment and bridges the gap between scientific research and entrepreneurship. VIB also engages actively in the public debate on biotechnology by developing and disseminating a wide range of science-based information. 

More info can be found on

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