PhD: Understanding biotic stresses in tomato roots through molecular interactomics

PhD: Understanding biotic stresses in tomato roots through molecular interactomics


Ghent, Belgium

About the lab

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. 

The lab of Prof. Alain Goossens at PSB, also called the Specialized Metabolism Group, focuses on the characterization of plant signalling pathways that steer plant stress responses, such as the biosynthesis of high-value bioactive metabolites in crop, medicinal and model plants.

Job description

The Goossens lab is looking to recruit 1 highly-motivated PhD student, who will be involved in a project that aims at developing and utilising a platform to visualise and map the protein-protein interaction network that determines the response of tomato roots to beneficial and parasitic organisms living in its rhizosphere. 

More particularly, the candidate will be involved in the installation of a versatile and complementary tomato interactomics platform that will be based on affinity-purification-mass-spectrometry and yeast-two-hybrid-Seq. These two techniques will be applied to study the response of tomato roots to organisms in its rhizosphere and identify key players therein. This will include the identification of tomato proteins being targeted by effectors of different interacting rhizosphere organisms, such as rhizogenic Agrobacteria.

This project is a collaborative project together with the research groups of Prof. Sofie Goormachtig and Prof. Lieve Gheysen, both also located at VIB and/or Ghent University, and with which the candidate will also closely interact.

The ideal candidate will have a master degree in bio-engineering, biochemistry/biotechnology or molecular biology. The position is immediately available.



  • Master in bio-engineering science, (bio)chemistry, (molecular) biology or biotechnology with the equivalent of at least distinction (15/20 on the Belgian scale)
  • You can take initiative, function well in a team, and have a hands-on mentality, perseverance and critical mind-set
  • Proficient use of the English language for both oral and written communication

Desirable but not required

  • A master thesis or past research activities in plant molecular biology will provide you with an advantage
  • A publication record in peer-reviewed journals in the field of ‘animal and plant sciences’ is an asset

We offer

  • A four year PhD grant according to the Belgian system
  • A working climate where trust, international collaboration, and commitment are essential
  • 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

How to apply?

If you are interested in performing high quality science on molecular interactomics in tomato, please use the online VIB application tool.

Make sure your application is a single pdf file, including:

  • A detailed CV
  • A one-page summary of past research activities (e.g. in bachelor or master projects)
  • A one-page letter of intent describing how your research experiences and interests are aligned with those of the lab and research topic.
  • The names and contact details of 2 to 3 referees.

The position will be allocated as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

Applications by email will not be considered.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: VIB-VIB-16839