Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ)

Open postdoc position on meiosis and reproduction in tomato and wild relatives (m/f/div)

Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ)

Cologne, Germany


Open postdoc position on meiosis and reproduction in tomato and wild relatives (m/f/div)

A postdoc position is available in the “Meiosis in crops” group ( led by Dr Charlie Underwood in the Department of Chromosome Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPI-PZ) in Cologne, Germany.

We are interested in the factors that control reproduction in plant species. During sexual reproduction and the specialized cell division of meiosis, chromosomes recombine leading to new genetic combinations in gametes and, after fertilization, the next generation. In contrast, apomictic reproduction, asexual reproduction through seeds, leads to offspring that are genetically identical to the mother plant – they are clones. Understanding, and application of, genetic components that control these two modes of reproduction is the goal of our group.

Our current and past research has made use of diverse plant species, choosing the suitable model for each scientific question. In this project the focus will be the cultivated tomato and its wild relatives. In the Solanum family, the Lycopersicon section, of which S. lycopersicum (the cultivated tomato) is a member, contains thirteen species and approximately 3 million years of divergent evolution separates some of the species. Despite this, hybrids between the cultivated tomato and wild relatives are viable. This project will involve the latest genome editing and genomics approaches to understand, and control, meiotic recombination and reproduction in tomato hybrids.

Our offer:

  • a supportive and international working environment
  • access to cutting edge plant transformation, genomics, computing, microscopy, and greenhouse research facilities
  • the chance to pursue fundamental research on reproduction, meiosis, genome evolution, and chromosomes
  • a chance to develop yourself and a springboard for your own career

Your interests:

  • an interest in how genetic material is exchanged between related plant species
  • an appetite to develop novel approaches using genome editing and DNA sequencing to understand and control plant reproduction
  • a passion for research in the fields of genomics, evolutionary biology, meiosis, and/or plant breeding

Your experience / background:

  • a PhD in genomics, bioinformatics, plant reproduction, or plant biology
  • a strong track record in scientific research demonstrated by a first-author publication or pre-print
  • initiative to explore potential additional funding sources (e.g. EMBO, Marie-Curie, DFG)
  • strong organizational skills and good command of the English language (written and oral); German is not necessary

This position is part of a collaborative project funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) together with Dr. Piotr Ziolkowski, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan funded by NCN (Polish National Science Centre). The appointed candidate will be fully based in Cologne and the salary will be according to German civil service conditions (TVöD Bund) and includes social security benefits.

How to apply?

Interested candidates should submit (1) a letter explaining both your motivation to join our group and a short description of your current research project and (2) a CV including contact details for two scientific references through the online system.

If you need further information on the position offered, please feel free to contact Charlie Underwood ( Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis and will be gladly accepted before February 28th, 2022.

The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.



Please apply via recruiter’s website.