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ERC-funded postdoc position on inter-organelle communication during plant biotic stress responses

Closing date
18 Dec 2023

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Life Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time
Professional certification

Job Details

The VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB) is a world-leading plant science institute located at the heart of a renowned Plant Biotech campus in 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 us at for more information. 

Within the framework of an ERC Starting Grant, the lab of Prof. Inge De Clercq ( aims to understand how plant cells perceive environmental signals (e.g. from attack by pathogens) and translate this into appropriate defence responses. We focus on studying the central role of intracellular organelles (mitochondria, chloroplasts, and the ER) in stress signal transduction, and uncover the mechanisms of how these organelles communicate with each other through stress-induced contact sites. To this end, we use interdisciplinary approaches by combining high-end cell biology (confocal and super-resolution microscopy), proteomics, proximity labelling, various omics approaches and bioinformatics.

Job description An ERC Starting grant-funded postdoc position is available in the group of Prof. Inge De Clercq at the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB) and Ghent University, Belgium.

You will study inter-organelle (between mitochondria, chloroplasts, and the ER) communication during the plant’s interaction with fungal and oomycete pathogens. Your project is embedded within the ERC-STG grant, entitled “COSI: Understanding organelle communication through COntact SItes in plant stress responses”, which studies the direct association between organelles through stress-induced contact sites by implementing state-of-the-art cell biology and proteomics approaches. With this exciting project, we seek to provide new mechanistic and functional insight into how stress signals are perceived and transduced between intracellular organelles and how they are translated into appropriate defence responses in the nucleus. You will design and implement tools to detect the dynamic (or reversible) association between organelles and characterize the dynamic proteome at their contact sites. Using the established tools, you will study inter-organelle contact sites during various stress conditions, focussing on biotic stresses. You will also be involved in guiding Ph.D. projects focusing on this topic.



  • You have a Ph.D. degree in Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Biology, Bio-engineering, or equivalent.
  • You can plan and conduct research independently and accurately.
  • You have a keen interest in intracellular signal transduction, organelle/cell biology, proteomics, and plant-pathogen interactions.
  • Excellent English communication skills are required.

Desirable but not required

  • Experience from Ph.D. and/or postdoc in plant cell biology, confocal microscopy, proteomics, and plant-pathogen assays is a plus as well as a publication record in peer-reviewed journals showing clear expertise in these areas.
  • Experience in supervising Ph.D. students is not required but is considered a plus.

Key personal characteristics

You should work well in a team as you will be integrated into the international research environment of the VIB-UGent Center of Plant Systems Biology and participate in international collaborations.

We offer
  • A 2-year postdoc position with possibilities for prolongation.
  • An exciting and innovative project embedded in the ERC-STG 2020 grant ‘COSI’, covering an interesting combination of state-of-the-art techniques including cell biology (confocal microscopy, monitoring dynamic protein-protein interactions and (inter-)organelle dynamics, and high-resolution microscopy), proteomics (proximity labelling based on TurboID, protein pulldown), biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, plant stress assays with a focus on pathogens and various omics approaches.
  • A multidisciplinary and highly stimulating and supporting international research environment.
  • Access to state-of-the-art tools and infrastructure.
  • Various training opportunities are organized at VIB to broaden your expertise and skills (
How to apply?

Interested candidates are asked to apply online.

Additional requirements:

  • A 1–page motivation letter expressing interest in and suitability for the project
  • A 1-page summary of past research activities and how they are in line with those of the research topic
  • Detailed CV including publication list
  • Contact information of 2-3 referees

in one pdf document.

The first review of applications will start immediately. A shortlist of applicants will be selected and invited for interviews.

The position remains open until a suitable candidate is found.


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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Rijvisschestraat 120

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